Combine bikes with transit to expand your bikepacking options.
“I want to sell my car, but I need it to get to the mountains.”
Have you ever heard someone say this? Since we live in a beautiful yet rugged part of the world, we need a car to explore it, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe all you need is a bike and a couple bucks for the bus, train or ferry.
There are many adventures within a bike ride from Seattle that are wonderful and empowering experiences. And there are even more options if you com- bine your bike with transit. Downtown Seattle is a major transportation hub, and most transit options allow you to bring a bicycle. Take advantage of them to extend your bikepacking trip’s reach. You’ll be amazed how far from town you can get just through public transportation and pedal power.
Take the Amtrak Cascades to Mount Vernon, then bike a flat, beautiful route to Anacortes and its ferries to Guemes Island and the San Juan Is- lands, where many legendary bicycle adventures await. Catch a boat to Lopez Island and then it’s only a few stunning miles of pedaling to Spencer Spit State Park.
Toss your bike on the front of Sound Transit’s 554 Express bus in downtown Seattle and you’re in Issaquah 40 minutes later, within reach of three great adventures:
➤ Middlefork Campground: Head to North Bend via Fall City and the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, then take the Middlefork Road (30 miles).
➤ Cold Creek Hiker/Biker Campsite: From North Bend, take the Snoqualmie Val- ley Trail to Rattlesnake Lake where the incredible Iron Horse Trail (aka John Wayne Pioneer Trail) begins. Take the trail up the mountains and through the two-mile Snoqualmie Tunnel to the east side of Snoqualmie Pass to Keechelus Lake. (40 miles)
➤ Annette Lake: Bring a backpack and explore even further. The Iron Horse Trail accesses beautiful Annette Lake, deep in the Cascades near Snoqualmie Pass. When the Iron Horse Trail intersects the Annette Lake Trail, find a place to stash your bikes and start hiking. A few steep miles later, you’re ready to set up camp and take a swim.
GO WEST or even south
Take the Bremerton Ferry across the Puget Sound to access the Olympic Peninsula and its mountains, or take trains and buses south into Pierce County and explore Mount Rainier’s vast reaches.
The point is, there are unlimited ways to mix and match transit, biking and backpacking to explore the region without a car. Usually people have a rear bike rack and two panniers (bags that attach to the rack) for gear, clothes and food. Strap your tent on top of the bags and you’re good to go to board public transit.
Plan your trips by reading “Backpacking Washington,” by Craig Romano, and “Cycling Sojourner Washington,” a book about bikepacking, by Ellee Thalheimer. Google Maps is great for exploring transit options. Be sure to set your departure date and time correctly as many of the outlying King County Metro and Community Transit buses only run weekdays or during commute times. And note that buses only have three spots for bikes (sometimes only two), which limit your group size.
Isn’t it empowering to know you can get out of town and explore with only public transit and your legs? Go make your own adventures!