As Hubs and I got ready to set off on another multi-day bike tour because last year’s was so amazing and wonderful we first considered heading to the Route Verte in Canada, then decided we’d design an adventure that starts at our own front door. Washington state has so many beautiful and interesting places to explore by bike that it’s hard to choose. We call this a Good Problem.
Attention local tourism promoters: This itinerary is heavily influenced by the availability of separated trail mileage and bike-friendly communities.
We can’t yet have the total end-to-end trip of hundreds of miles on separated infrastructure in Washington state that we loved last year on the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath. Washington has so many great regional trail systems that get closer to completion every year; I look forward to having a completed, connected network that will benefit every trail town along the way and give me the chance to design new vacation itineraries for years to come.
Our plan, with an invitation for you to chime in about a great place to eat, a non-obvious route that locals love, other highlights we might miss, and your ideas for the next trip after this one:
Day 1: From our house south of downtown Seattle (near White Center) north to Mukilteo; trails used will include the Duwamish, Elliott Bay, Burke-Gilman, and Interurban North. Distance: ~36 miles.
Day 2: Catch the ferry to Clinton, bike through Whidbey Island, catch the ferry to Port Townsend. Distance: 25-30 miles by bike? plus 10 by ferry. We’re still finalizing the route through Whidbey with help from Island County planner and experienced rider Brian Wood (thanks Brian!).
Day 3: Port Townsend to Port Angeles, using the Olympic Discovery Trail as much as possible. Distance: Our longest day on the bike — around 52 miles.
Day 4: Port Angeles to Lake Crescent via Olympic Discovery Trail. Distance: 21 miles.
Day 5: At Lake Crescent on the north shore, resting and exploring a little more of the ODT although construction will keep us from going very far. That’s okay — great excuse to come back another time. Distance: Whatevs.
Day 6: Backtrack to Port Angeles via the ODT and catch the ferry to Victoria, BC. Distance: 21 miles by bike, 25 by ferry.
Day 7: Explore Victoria.
Day 8: Victoria to Sidney via the Galloping Goose Trail and Lochside Regional Trail, then catch the ferry to Friday Harbor. This is the one day with a firm time commitment since there is one ferry to Friday Harbor that leaves at 12:05pm. No messing around in the morning. Distance: 21 miles by bike, 24 by ferry.
Day 9: Hang in Friday Harbor with family [waves to younger sister/life partner]. Possibly undertake a strenuous trip to a bookstore or something.
Day 10: More family time (mmmm, brunch!), then ferry to Lopez Island, aka “Slow-pez”.
Day 11: Explore Lopez by bike. Distance: TBD.
Day 12: More Lopez time, then ferry to Anacortes, where we’ll overnight. Distance: Bike TBD, 12 by ferry.
Day 13: Ride to Mount Vernon, using Guemes Channel Trail/Tommy Thompson Trestle and US Bicycle Route 10 as we leave Anacortes. Catch Amtrak Cascades to Seattle, then ride home from King Street Station by way of the Elliott Bay Trail, neighborhood greenway, and quiet residential streets. Distance: ~25 by bike, around 80 by train.
Total miles: For the trip it’s over 360. Can’t calculate the total bike mileage yet since it will vary based on the messing-around exploration days, but it’s upwards of 250. Washington State Ferries and Amtrak Cascades pick up some of the mileage, making this a fun multimodal journey.
Weather: Forecast is for temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s with only a couple of days with any hint of possible rain. We’ll be able to pack a lot lighter than we did for last fall’s trip (and I learned my lesson about overpacking).
Bike travel writing that includes portions of our route and other useful sites: Bear in mind that trails, road conditions, restaurants and lodgings change over time. Check the dates on these posts and verify that any information you’re relying on is current, including highway construction that may affect your route.
- Washington state bike travel information organized by region
- WSDOT construction project map
- Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Bicycle Tours in Washington* — has chapters on touring the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands, among other great route plans
- Washington State Ferries bike information
- Amtrak Cascade Riders Guide
- Seattle to Edmonds — Day Trip to the Salish Sea
- Cycling Whidbey and Camano Islands
- Olympic Discovery Trail website with maps etc.
- Olympic Discovery Trail Facebook page — good spot for current updates on construction, major events, and other things that affect trail usage along with opportunities to volunteer
- Olympic Peninsula Bicycle Alliance
- Olympic Culinary Loop
- Eastern Jefferson County Bicycle Map
- Port Townsend bicycle information
- Bike Trails and Biking in Port Angeles
- Port Angeles/Sequim ODT info
- Visiting Lake Crescent
- Olympic Discovery Trail: Car-Free Route Around Lake Crescent
- Experience the Olympic Discovery Trail – Part 1
- Experience the Olympic Discovery Trail – Part 2
- Riding in the Rain Shadow: Exploring the Port Angeles Area by Bike
- Riding in the Rain Shadow: Day 2 – Zig-Zag to Lake Crescent
- Riding in the Rain Shadow: Day 3 – Olympic Discovery Trail to Sequim Bay
- Lochside Trail on Vancouver Island – a Guide
- Victoria’s Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails
- Island Tour: Eating our Way through the San Juan and Gulf Islands
- Create Adventure: Lopez Island Bike Camping
- Lopez Island by Bike or Car
- Cyclist’s Guide to Lopez Island (PDF) — Includes a map with roads color-coded by shoulder width and traffic volume to help you identify lower-stress routes
- Lopez Island rides
- Biking in and Around Anacortes
- Any resources to add to this list? I’ll update the post.
*I was involved in the creation of Cycling Sojourner when I headed Washington Bikes. This is an Amazon Affiliate link in case you don’t have a local bookstore but if you do you should absolutely go there and ask them to carry this. Reviews tell you why.
Postscript Now that We’re Back: The Whole Trip
- On the Road Again: Getting Ready for a Washington State Bike + Ferry + Train Vacation
- Day One: Southwest Seattle to Mukilteo
- Day Two: Mukilteo to Port Townsend
- Day Three: Port Townsend to Port Angeles
- Day Four: Port Angeles to Lake Crescent
- Days Five and Six: Lake Crescent to Victoria, BC
- Days Seven and Eight: Victoria, BC to Friday Harbor
- Days Nine and Ten: Friday Harbor to Lopez Island
- Day Eleven: Lopez Island, a Gentle Retreat
- Day Twelve: Lopez Island to Anacortes
- Day Thirteen and Done: Anacortes to Southwest Seattle
- Bike Touring Northwest Washington: How Our Bike + Ferry + Train Loop Worked Out