Riding bikes is a fun outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy together. But as our population increases and traffic becomes more difficult to navigate, you may be considering alternatives to a ride around the streets of your neighborhood, especially if you have young children. Plus, there are so many beautiful, scenic locations to explore in Skagit County, it’s a shame to not see them all. So strap on your helmets, fill up your water bottles and check out these family-friendly bike rides in Skagit County.
Downtown Mount Vernon
The Skagit Riverwalk is a popular spot where locals come for a lunchtime stroll, out-of-towners come for a view of the river and families come for an easy bike ride with the kids. The four-mile path runs along the Skagit River in downtown Mount Vernon with easy access to local businesses as well as Lion’s Park with a playground, picnic tables (covered and uncovered) and public restrooms. The flat, paved trail is lined with beautiful hanging baskets full of flowers and streetlamps for safe evenings. Part of Phase ll of the Waterfront Revitalization and Flood Protection Project, the Skagit Riverwalk Park includes a 24-foot wide pedestrian river walk and a permanent downtown flood wall.
Padilla Bay Shore Trail
The Padilla Bay Shore Trail is a 2.25-mile dike trail that runs along one of many estuaries where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea. The path is a combination of pavement and gravel and is flat for easy riding for all ages. This lovely family friendly bike ride in Skagit County includes picnic tables and grassy areas to stop and take in the sweeping views of beautiful Padilla Bay. Supporting one of the largest known populations of wintering peregrine falcons in North America, the Padilla Bay Shore Trail is a great spot for birdwatching. To avoid confusion, Padilla Bay Shore Trail and Padilla Bay Trail are one in the same and can be accessed from both north and south ends off Bayview Edison Road. The north trailhead is located near 2nd Street just south of Josh Wilson Road. The south trail head is where Google Maps will take you, starting the journey along the Little Indian Slough through the flatlands before reaching the waterfront.
Tommy Thompson Trail
The Tommy Thompson Trail is a great family-friendly bike ride. It runs from the Port of Anacortes all the way to March’s Point on the other side of Fidalgo Bay. The little over 3.3-mile paved trail is flat and easily accessible for all, including bikers, skateboarders, strollers and wheelchairs. Approximately half the trail runs along the edge of town along the Anacortes Marina. The other half runs along the beachfront, finishing on an old railway trestle that takes you out and over Fidalgo Bay with water on both sides. The Tommy Thompson Trail offers spectacular views of Fidalgo Bay, Mount Baker and plenty of marine life including seals and blue heron. At certain times of the evening you can find a row of fishermen up to their bellies in their waders, hoping to score the catch of the day.
Washington Park Loop
The Washington Park Loop is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Located on the Northwest tip of Fidalgo Island near the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, Washington Park Loop features stunning views of the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands: Burrows Island, Decatur Island, Blakely Island and Cypress Island are most visible. A ride through the Pacific Northwest rainforest can take you down to explore the marine creatures on the beach, or up to a rocky bluff for a peaceful view. Washington Park Loop is paved and easily accessible for bike riders of all ages, but cars are also allowed on the loop road, so it’s necessary to pay attention to approaching vehicles and pull over to let them pass. The path is not totally flat, so if you’re looking for a bit of an uphill challenge you should begin the loop at the start near the restrooms. If you’re looking for an easier downhill ride, I recommend doing the loop in reverse.
If you’re a more experienced bike rider looking for a fun challenge, you may want to check out the Mount Baker Hill Climb. Sponsored by PeaceHealth, the Mount Baker Hill Climb is an annual event that happens in early September and is fun to watch or participate in for bicycle enthusiasts.
For more information about these family-friendly bike trails in Skagit County and beyond, visit the Washington Trails Association website. Stay safe out there and enjoy the ride!