In the back yard of many Thurston County neighborhoods, the diverse scenery of the Pacific Northwest is within close reach. With hundreds of acres of parks across the region and a trail system that spans large areas of the county, families can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreation options. This includes a ride along one of the county’s kid-friendly bicycle paths. On biking trails with smooth terrain, young kids can learn how to ride a bicycle, and families can enjoy an outdoor ride, all while taking in the South Sound’s natural beauty. Here is a list of kid-friendly bike paths in Olympia and throughout Thurston County.
Karen Fraser Woodland Trail
1600 Eastside Street SE, Olympia
The Karen Fraser Woodland Trail is a 2.5-mile forested trail that meanders through the cities of Olympia and Lacey. With flat terrain throughout, the Karen Fraser Woodland trail is ideal for families and beginning bicyclists. It is recommended that children always be supervised by an adult while on the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail, because the trail passes through multiple busy street crossings. The primary trailhead is located on Eastside Street in Olympia, and at the trailhead, riders can find a parking lot, restrooms and drinking fountains. Along the way, riders can take in views of the surrounding forest and foliage, including many species that are native to the Pacific Northwest.
Woodard Bay Rd NE, Olympia
Running from north to south, the Chehalis-Western Trail spans 22 miles of Thurston County. This converted railroad corridor begins at the Woodard Bay Trailhead with a parking lot and restrooms available. The Chehalis-Western trail is paved throughout and relatively flat, which makes it an ideal biking route for families with younger children. Winding through suburban neighborhoods in Lacey and into Rainier and Tenino, there are trailheads spaced throughout, allowing riders to customize the duration of their bike ride. Along the way, riders can take in the varying ecosystems and neighborhoods as the trail transitions from forested paths, to suburban homes, to prairies in the distance.
Yelm Tenino Trail/Tenino City Park
Park Ave E, Tenino
Connected to the southern end of the Chehalis-Western Trail, is the Yelm-Tenino Trail, which spans east to west from the City of Yelm to the City of Tenino. With a length of 14.5 miles, the primary Yelm-Tenino Trailhead is located near Yelm City Hall, and along the way, boarders a portion of McIntosh Lake before the trail’s conclusion at Tenino City Park. This paved trail allows for daytime hikes, bicycle rides and other non-motorized recreation. With the trail’s end spanning the length of Tenino City Park, young kids can practice their bicycling skills before playing on the park’s play structure, or enjoying a picnic under one of the park’s shelters.
Woodland Creek Community Park
6729 Pacific Avenue SE, Lacey
At 72 acres, Woodland Creek Community Park is bustling with family-friendly outdoor recreation, from play structures, to barbecue grills, to paved bicycle trails. Bordering Longs Pond, the park is also home to Woodland Creek, which runs through the middle of the park grounds and connects multiple local lakes. Two large picnic shelters boarder the park’s playground equipment and there is a 9-hole disc golf course that snakes through the woods at the back of the park. Woodland Creek Park is also a trailhead for the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail.
Rainier Vista Community Park
5475 45th Ave SE, Lacey
At 46 acres, the Rainier Vista Community Park is home to almost every type of outdoor recreation imaginable, including soccer and softball fields, basketball and beach volleyball courts, a skate park, picnic shelters, barbecue grills and multiple play structures for both younger and older children. Around the perimeter of the sporting fields, paved trails are ideal for both walking and biking. These trails are especially suitable for young riders, because there are no busy street crossings as they wind throughout the park.
5304 32nd Ave SE, Lacey
In the heart of Lacey, Wonderwood Park is home to multiple paved trails, ideal for both biking and walking. Within the park’s 39 acres, riders young and old can find paved forested trails, as well as paved trails that border the park and surrounding suburban neighborhoods. The trails located within Wonderwood Park would be ideal for young riders, because they do not intersect with any busy street traffic. Additional outdoor activities abound within the park, including soccer fields, softball fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, playground areas, picnic shelters and barbecue grills.