May is National Bike Month. And we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to stack bikes on the rack, pile the kiddos into the car and head to Duthie Hill Bike Park for some serious ride time. It’s like Disneyland, for mountain bikers! The six-miles of windy trails, berms, ladders and jumps mimic intense roller coaster thrills (or at least the dizzying Mad Hatter Tea Cups), less the flight south. The fact that it’s an all-ages, all-skill-level park. Even better!
Play in a Mountain Bike Paradise
Duthie Hill is just outside of Issaquah, on the Sammamish Plateau. It’s 120-acres of green spaces, with a 2.5-acre clearing that also happens to be (through the hard work of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance volunteers and sponsors) a wickedly cool mountain bike course that appeals to riders of all ages. It’s a place to ride, practice and show off your sweet moves, for the young and the young at heart.
Once you’ve parked and made your way down the trail into the clearing, there are lots of options. Depending on your little pedal-head’s comfort level, you can choose to stay here or work your way around the trails that branch out from there. If your sidekick is just starting out, the clearing is a good place to be. Here little riders can clock practice time on the mini pump track, building skills to take out on the trails later. And those who are working on mastering more extreme aspects of this sport can catch big air off the jumps, if they’re feeling bold. Consider the clearing to be pit stop central. Hungry bikers can nosh and rehydrate on a picnic bench (or just take a bike break), and Littles in need of the loo can find relief here too.
The trails that branch out from this main playground cover over six-miles and range in difficulty from green to double-black diamonds. Each trail is clearly marked so parents know what adventures lie ahead, and they’re pretty accurate. Green means go for families looking to get out on a trail, but we recommend saving the double-blacks for later.
A Party on Wheels
Can’t get enough Duthie? Then get your bike geek on with the kids at the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival, June 6th at Duthie Hill. From 9 a.m.-5 p.m. this free event will keep everyone in the fam happy and busy, doing everything from checking out the latest (and sure to be greatest) gear, to making inner tube art in the KidZone. There are still a few events yet to be planned, but the current schedule is packed with races, raffles and rides for the minis, mom and dad. Also on the docket are bikes to demo, clinics to attend and challenges to be accepted. If any of these pique your interest, plan to bring some dough ($20 for non-members, $10 for members) to purchase a Festival Clearing Pass. You’ll need one to unlock these active perks.
Good to Know
1. Duthie’s rough terrain means fat tires all around (sorry road bikes). And while balance bikes are a-okay to use, those with rubber tires are a must.
2. The large clearing, from which all things bike extend, is about .8 miles in from the south parking lot. Don’t forget to add an out-and-back to your total mileage for the tot lot, who will sleep well after this outdoor adventure.
3. Weekends at Duthie, especially on a sunny day, are busy, busy, busy! If you don’t find a parking spot right away, try, try again. One is sure to open up soon.
Duthie Hill Bike Park
26150 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Rd.
Issaquah, Wa 98029
Have you taken your kids to Duthie Hill Bike Park? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.
— Allison Sutcliffe