Imagine exploring your favorite park.
Now imagine exploring your favorite park…on a bike!
Did you feel that shift? Did your awesome meter just peak? We’re not surprised! Beach cruiser or BMX, recumbent or mountain bike—few transportation modes are more simple and exciting than cycling. It’s great exercise, and on a bike you get the benefit of speed and an intimate connection between you and road, path or trail.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist, or your bike is gathering a bit of dust in the garage, now is the perfect time to go for a ride at your favorite state park—or even explore a new one! The weather can be just right, and Sept. 24 is the first-ever Bike Your Park Day! You can register your ride at bikeyourparkday.org and go on your own, with friends or join a ride withothers! It’s also a State Parks free dayin celebration of National Public Lands Day. That means you won’t need a Discover Pass to park your bike transporter (aka your car).
So you’ve got the bike, you’ve got the spirit—now all you need is a destination. Where you go will depend a little on what type of cycling you prefer. Fear not! Your state parks have the perfect spot no matter how you roll!
For simplicity’s sake, we’ve divided the adventures into trails better suited to mountain or fat-tire bikes and those you could comfortably ride on a road bike.
Centennial Trail State Park
Long, flat, paved and easy to ride, the 37-mile Centennial Trail is a great ride for the whole family no matter what kind of bike you ride. Bring a camera! The trail parallels the gorgeous tree-lined banks of the Spokane River. Look for great photo ops around every bend, and the Sandifur Memorial Bridge over the river is a spectacular vantage point. This is a day-use park only, but you can camp at nearby Riverside State Park. Camp by night and ride the trail by day!
Westport Light and Westhaven State Parks
While you may need a fat-tire bike or beach cruiser to tackle the sand, it’s easy to ride the Dune Trail, starting at the Westport Light State Park parking lot and continuing all the way to Westhaven State Park. A great day destination, the trail offers stunning views along the way as you roll into Westport for lunch or dinner out.
Moran State Park
If you are an EXPERIENCED road biker and up for a fun, beautiful ride and a good workout, set your sights on the road to Mount Constitution at Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Paved all the way to the top, this two-lane road packs a lot of wow factor with thrilling water views between stretches of emerald forest. It’s a popular ride for recumbent bike riders as well as road and mountain bikers. Be fairly warned, however. It’s an old, narrow highway with little to no shoulder and sheer drops in some spots. Plus, you’ll be sharing the road with motorists and motorcycle riders. Stay safe! You’re reward for the climb up the mountain is a great downhill rush with even more opportunity to appreciate the fall foliage and scenery.
Willapa Hills State Park Trail
Roll the rails! Or at least take a ride where they used to be. Built on the path a defunct spur of the Northern Pacific Railway, the Willapa Hills State Park Trail traverses rocky rivers, hearty train bridges and trestles and wends westward through verdant fields toward the mighty Pacific. The first 5 miles west from the Chehalis Trailhead are paved, and the sturdy steel bridges are resurfaced, making riding a snap for all ages. Once you get past the paving, the trail becomes compacted gravel and you may need a bike with more rugged tires to cycle on it.
Wenatchee Confluence State Park to Lincoln Rock State Park
Wenatchee Confluence State Park is a family adventure hotspot—and very popular with local bicycle enthusiasts. Green lawns for tag. Ball fields for basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer. Two playgrounds for toddlers and grade school children. You name it, Wenatchee Confluence has your family covered. And biking is no exception. The park connects to the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail—perfect for family rides. Hop on the Wenatchee side of the trail for paved biking adventures. The east side is fun, too, but is more suited for more experienced riders. Adding to the fun is the Rocky Reach Trail, which connects you to Lincoln Rock State Park!
John Wayne Pioneer Trail – Iron Horse State Park
Mountain biking thrills for miles. More of a trek than a single downhill run, Iron Horse is 100 miles and 1,600 acres of converted Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad line. Tunnels, trestles, hills, valleys—it’s all here. With multiple trailheads and lots of stops (bathrooms, too) along the way to camp, you can rest or just meet up with the buddy who’s meeting you to take you back to your car. Bonus: Right now the weather is pretty good on most of the trail, especially the eastern portion. Plus, the leaves are glowing with fall color! Check the weather before you go! Word of caution: Tunnel 47 on the trail is closed for repairs at the time of this blog’s publication. Check our alerts page for more details before you go.
Fields Spring State Park
Out at the far southeastern corner of Washington, Fields Spring is a great destination for an epic fall camping and biking trip. Located at an elevation of 4,500 feet in the Blue Mountains, this park features 7 miles of yee-haw!-inducing bike trails to ride. Try Puffer Butte, a made-for-mountain-biking ride that overlooks the surrounding hills at its summit. Stay the night in the lovely forested campground.
Columbia Plateau Trail State Park
With 48 miles of biking-ready trails and multiple trail heads, Columbia Plateau Trail State Park is one of Washington’s “it” spots for a major bike trip. Built along the converted bed of the old Spokane, Portland and Seattle rail lines, the trail winds through amazing historic country.
Squilchuck State Park
Squilchuck IS mountain biking. With more than 5 miles of trails at a variety of skill levels an adventure awaits your whole biking family! Volunteers from Evergreen Mountain Biking Alliance (EMBA) worked hard to improve the trails here with jumps, bumps, thrilling down hills and thigh-busting inclines. There are even some training areas with course challenges where you can practice before hitting the trail! Park staff say Squilchuck is becoming so popular with mountain-biking enthusiasts that more trails—and a new bathroom— are in the works! Camp the night here and make it a family biking vacay! Or better yet, get a group of 20 or more (up to 100) of your favorite biking buddies together and plan an epic adventure with a stay at the group camp. When you stay in the group camp you also can book the popular Squilchuck Lodge, which is available for use by up to 75 people between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. To reserve the group camp call Wenatchee Confluence State Park at (509) 664-6373.
Fort Ebey State Park
On the shores of Whidbey Island, this lesser-known park is the former site of a World War II coastal-defense fort. Now it’s an inspiring mix of the kind of mossy, misty forest the Pacific Northwest is famous for and rugged, sandy trails through grass-covered dunes. Bring your rain gear and be prepared for a unique and invigorating ride through 25 miles of trails. Tired and wet? Rest, eat and dry off exploring the war-era bunkers or just hang out at the large picnic shelter.
Mount Spokane State Park
Really relish a rough ride? Rad! Come find it at Mount Spokane! This park is vast—13,919 acres— and covered in miles upon miles of rocky, rutted dirt roads. To top it off, many of these roads lead to some spectacular views. This might be a bit too much for little kids or some less experienced riders, but it should be on any mountain-biking enthusiast’s bucket list.
These are just a few ideas!
Explore our website for more biking adventures near you!
Have you a favorite state park biking adventure?
Tell us about it and share your stories and videos here!
Feature photo a still shot taken from a video of mountain biking at Fort Ebey State Park by David Thuet