If a family bike ride is on your weekend radar, we’ve got the scoop on the best bike paths for Seattle kids. From short, paved loops where beginners can learn the basics, to longer trails for big kids looking for big adventures, these spots get two thumbs up. Read on to find out where to ride on!

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Lake Union when you complete this six-mile loop with the kids. Watch seaplanes take off and land and boaters and kayakers out enjoying the lake from the shore as you cruise by. The loop takes families past the Bridge Toll in Fremont, through Gas Works Park, over two bridges, past MOHAI and the Center for Wooden Boats. Maybe board the Sunday ice cream cruise for a little snack and sightseeing break along the way. The possibilities with this downtown trail are endless!

Online: seattle.gov

Genesee Park/Stan Sayers Memorial Park

A solid shorter ride, this two park journey is good for tots and preschoolers. Bring your trikes, balance bikes and trainers to this peaceful spot in Rainier Valley. Head to the north end of Genesee Park where it connects with Stan Sayers. Then it’s on to views of Lake Washington and marvelous Mt. Rainier. It only gets better on a sunny day when you bring a picnic!

4316 S. Genesee St.
Seattle, WA
Online: seattle.gov

Burke-Gilman

There’s a reason the Burke Gilman is everyone’s go-to ride in the city. Not only does it get you where you’re going (shout out to the bike commuters), but it’s super safe too. With very few street crossing, families can hop on and ride for miles without worrying about ferrying kids safely through busy intersections. Add in plenty of spots to take a break and you’ve got the family-friendliest trail this side of Lake Washington (and beyond!). Find a spot to hop on and then get moving on this citywide trail.

Online: seattle.gov

Crown Hill Park

If a short and sweet scooter or balance bike ride is what you’re after, check out this lesser known Ballard-area park. There’s a spot to skate and some funky playground equipment too. But the sidewalk that winds around park perimeter is a good one for kids. Need an extra challenge after you’ve biked a bit? See if you can find the hidden rain-activated art on the walkways (hint: bring a water bottle).

9089 Holman Rd. N.W.
Seattle, WA
Online: seattle.gov

Alki

Everybody knows about Alki’s main drag. It’s where you’ll find every kind of wheel (and then some) tooling around on summer weekends. But Alki is more than its beach boardwalk. In fact, if you start your ride near Salty’s and follow the paved path as far as it’ll go, you end up at Lincoln Park. The best part? There’s only one street crossing along that whole six-mile stretch. Add in fabu views of the Olympics, city and Sound, one of the best tidepool spots in the city and nearby Whale Tail park and you’ve got one sweet bike path.

Online: seattle.gov

Jefferson Park

High atop Beacon Hill is Jefferson Park. A juggernaut of play, the many paved trails that loop around the grassy knolls, spray pad, skatepark and playground are just what tots need to gain confidence in their skills. There’s plenty of room for parents to guide them along the paths and wide open spaces that practically beg families to sit for a picnic when hunger strikes, so be sure to pack one to enjoy when ride time is over.

3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
Online: seattle.gov

photo: iStock

Surrey Downs Park

The paved loop that encircles the grassy field at Surrey Downs in Bellevue is like the NASCAR racetrack of bike paths. It’s sleek and flat, the perfect place for kids to go round and round without interruption on a sunny day. Parents can sit back and enjoy the view while their Little rides or walk trike-side along this spacious path. Bring a ball (in addition to your helmet) to kick or catch when you’re done wheeling around.

11177 S.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, WA
Online: bellevuewa.gov

Wash Park Arboretum Loop

The two-mile paved loop that rings the Arboretum is an easy path for newbies and seasoned riders alike. It’s a great spot to take refuge from the sun or rain (take your pick), and you can always explore the grounds once you’re done with your ride. The terrain is multi-use and designed to keep bikes going slow, the perfect pace for Littles out on their first big ride.

2300 Arboretum Dr. E.
Seattle, WA
Online: botanicgardens.uw.edu

Myrtle Edwards Park

Because biking with a view is always worth it, bring the kids to Myrtle Edwards Park along the waterfront. It’s a short 1.25-mile paved path that gives kids the chance to get their bike on without watching for cars or tons of other riders. Ride it as a short out and back, where you hop off the bikes and enjoy a healthy snack at the turn around point. Short and sweet, it’s a great way to spend the morning.

3130 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA
Online: seattle.gov

photo: pl

White Center Bike Playground

Whether your kiddo wants to learn the rules of the road, or just wants a safe space to pedal, the White Center Bike Playground is a spot to do both. Based on Denmark’s traffic playgrounds (Trafiklegepladsen), this paved play lot has stop signs, intersections and two-way lanes so kids can learn the ropes before the head out to ride with the big kids.

Dick Thurnau Memorial Park
11050 10th Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA
Online: kingcountyparks.org

Lake Hills Greenbelt

We love this lush Eastside trail that lets kids loop a lake without hills or tricky turns to trip them up. You’ll find a continuous trail that that snakes through the wetlands, across Lake Hills Boulevard and into the wide open space of Larsen Lake. Ride it now and then head back in July and add a stop at the Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm to your afternoon adventure. They open for the season in early July. Just like that, you’ve got the day planned!

Lake Hills Ranger Station Parking Lot
15416 S.E. 16th St.
Bellevue, WA
Online: bellevuewa.gov

 

photo: iStock

Mercer Slough Nature Park

The slough's Periphery Trail is an easy one for the age group. It offers a quick tour around the place on an easy paved path. Hop on to skirt the park’s perimeter and then call it day, or grab one of the connector trails to see where the day takes you. Bonus points for all the wildlife you and the kids will spot along the trail. Maybe bring your binoculars? Definitely a camera.

Environmental Education Center
1625 118th Ave. S.E.
Bellevue, WA
Online: bellevuewa.gov

Sammamish River Trail

Eastside, riverside? Yes, please. Take the kids to this 10-mile stretch that follows the (you guessed it) Sammamish River. It’s a generally flat trail, with easy-going terrain so kids can go the distance. Families will find the trail less crowded on the weekdays, but don’t shy away from a weekend ride if it’s the time that works best for you.

Online: kingcounty.gov

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Over 30 miles of leisurely biking trails is what you’ll find along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Stretching from Duvall through Carnation, all the way to Rattlesnake Ledge, the trail loosely follows the Snoqualmie River, as it winds past farms and rolling hills on the Eastside. Depending on where you pick up the trail, you can hop off your bikes to enjoy outdoor art, snap pics of Mt. Si or make a daring crossing on the Tokul Trestle (don’t look down!). So many places this day can take you!

Online: kingcounty.gov

photo: AdobeStock

Stay Healthy Streets

It doesn’t get easier than grabbing your wheels and biking down a street in your neighborhood. Get the latest on the city's Stay Healthy Streets openings and closures for this spring and summer, then grab your wheels and head out.

—Allison Sutcliffe

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