Olympia Area Family Friendly Bike Rides

Olympia Bike Ride : Evergreen Parkway
A young rider enjoys the path along the Evergreen State College Parkway.

With the advent of summer, outdoor enthusiasts are looking for fun ways to explore the beautiful areas in and around our state capital.   For many, the best way to get out and about is on a bicycle.  To help encourage our readers to dust off their bikes, beginning this week, Thurston Talk will be publishing a series of bike routes.  We’ll begin with short, family friendly trips that even those with less than stellar fitness levels should feel comfortable tackling.  As the weeks progress we’ll feature some longer, more challenging rides.

Capitol Lake

This is a flat, well protected loop of less than two miles around the northern part of Capitol Lake.  Even the youngest riders on trikes and training wheels will be safe on the multi-use path around the lake.  There is ample parking at both Heritage and Marathon Parks and on downtown streets.

For those who are a little more adventurous, a bike lane runs the entire distance along the Deschutes Parkway.  Another multi-use path will lead you in and out of Tumwater Interpretive Park and into the scenic Historical Park at the bottom of the falls.  An out and back trip is approximately four miles.

The Evergreen State College Parkway

Easily overlooked, the parkway at The Evergreen State College provides a median-protected bike path on both sides of the road.  At the southern end of the parkway, the path hooks up with a paved trail that extends out to McLane Elementary School.  Out and back from McLane to Kaiser Road is approximately four miles.

Chehalis Western Trail

Beginning at the trailhead where Woodard Bay Road NE and Lemon Road NE meet in Lacey, the Chehalis Western Trail is another multi-use paved path that is flat and family friendly.  The trail is ideal for families with children ready to tackle longer rides yet not ready to negotiate city streets. Extending all the way out to Ranier where it connects to the Yelm to Tenino Trail, this protected ride still offers a challenge for those wishing to put in some serious mileage.  Convenient stop points along the way provide parking, the occasional restroom facility, and easy access for shuttling those not wishing to do an out and back ride.

Woodland Trail

With a trailhead and parking near Watershed Park off of Eastside Street, this lesser known trail will eventually extend all the way out to Woodland Creek Park in Lacey.  The west to east section connects with the Chehalis Western Trail via a protected multi-use paved path running parallel to I-5.  The Watershed Park trailhead is approximately two miles from the Chehalis Western Trail.

Next time we’ll feature routes that are longer and designed for those looking to build their fitness levels.  In the future we’ll also be featuring some longer, more challenging rides, even some recommended century routes.

If you know of other family friendly routes, please feel free to email us at info@thurstontalk.com.

Links of Interest:



Joy Ride Bikes located in Lacey Washington provides cycling expertise to beginning, novice and expert cyclists across Thurston County (Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater) alike at their retail store. Joy Ride bikes is very involved with Thurston County wide community involvment by sponsoring the only local road bicycle racing team, Olympia Orthopedics Associates (cbcracing.org). Since then they have expanded their community involvement by supporting Friends of Capitol Forest, The Capital Bicycle Club, The Bicycle Commuter Contest and other cycling advocacy events/groups. Most recently Joy Ride Bikes became a sponsor of a local mountain bike racing team, GL6Racing (gl6racing.blogspot.com). Joy Rides bike is truly committed to helping the sport of cycling expand throughout Thurston County and beyond. (Joy Ride Bicycles Home Page)

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