Family Weekender: Seattle

Biking Snohomish County
Go Guide: Snohomish County

Activities: Bicycling (road touring), swimming

Age Levels: Ages 10-adult, or put young kids in trailers or on trailer bikes

Hours from Seattle: 35 minutes

Getting There: From Seattle, drive 28 miles north on Interstate 5 to Exit 194 (City Center/Stevens Pass). Drive east on US 2 to the town of Monroe. Leave your car in Riverside City Park just off the highway. Reference: Bicycling the Backroads Around Puget Sound by Erin and Bill Woods (The Mountaineers Books). Inside Out Washington: A Best Places Guide to the Outdoors, by Ron C. Judd (Sasquatch Books).

Contact: The Washington State Department of Parks and Recreation, 7150 Cleanwater Lane, Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650; 1-800-452-5687.

Extra Treats: On hot summer days, swim in the Skykomish River at Riverside Park. At any time of the year, watch the skies for bald eagles, the fields for blacktail deer, and the rivers, streams and ponds for beavers.


This ride takes advantage of the best of the rural nature of Snohomish County, leading riders along rivers that still attract strong, native salmon and steelhead runs, through pasture lands that feed herds of dairy cattle and sheep, and alongside fields of everything from alfalfa to raspberries. Best of all, the route is nearly level, with just a few rolling hills along the way, so it's a family-friendly ride.

The trip begins along the banks of the mighty Skykomish River—one of the wildest, most pristine big rivers of the Pacific Northwest—and climbs into rural countryside, passing a big, beautiful trout lake before turning and looping back down to the river.

The route starts at Riverside Park and leads north on State Route 203 (Lewis Street) to the downtown district of Monroe. Veer north onto Main Street and follow it out of town, where it becomes Old Owen Road. At 1 mile from the park, turn left onto Oaks Street and when the street ends, turn right on Woods Creek Road. Follow this road to the 12-mile mark, climbing most of the way with just enough downhill runs to give your legs a quick rest, where the road bears left and changes names to become Dubuque Road.

Riding west now, follow Dubuque Road 3 miles to the top of a steep hill and turn left onto 171st Street. In a half mile you'll find the entrance to Flowing Lake Park. Pull in and rest in the quiet green park, taking advantage of the swimming pier and roped swimming area, or just soaking in the sun for a while before resuming your ride.

From the park, head back up 171st Street to Dubuque Road and continue west on Dubuque to mile point 22.2, where you'll encounter the wide, paved ribbon of the Snohomish County Centennial Trail. Roll up onto the trail, turn left and coast south to the town of Snohomish.

As you ride through town, note the many historic homes and businesses lining the streets. Exit town on the south side, following the Old Monroe-Snohomish Road, which leads, in about 8 miles, back to Monroe and your car.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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