Adding to the Emerald City’s already extensive list of outdoor recreation offerings, Seattle is also home to legendary loam, lush forests, and some of the most scenic (and rugged) mountains in the world. As such, it’s no surprise that mountain biking has seen a surge in popularity over the past couple years. Whether you’re looking to get lost in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula, rally berms up in Bellingham, or just jet out the Snoqualmie corridor for a quick post-work ride, Seattle’s positioning in the middle of it all makes it easy to access world-class riding right in its backyard.
To gather the deta on the best of the Northwest, we quizzed the crew at the evo Seattle bike shop — a local action sports retailer that offers bike rentals & demos, full service bike repairs, and gear from all the best brands. As a bonus, evo Seattle has also just forged a partnership with Compass Outdoor Adventures to uniquely offer convenient trailhead delivery mountain bike demos to all of the following trails, except Galbraith. If you’re traveling to the Seattle area and want to try out the latest and greatest bikes on real trails, this is an offer that’s definitely worth exploring. Follow along below as we outline their input and highlights of the best mountain bike trails near Seattle:
Despite being one of the newer trail systems in the area, Raging River has already made quite the name for itself. Located just 30-minutes outside of Seattle, just off of I-90’s Exit 27, the Raging River trailhead has ample parking that can be accessed by those with a Discover Pass (although there’s also streetside parking a short distance away for those who don’t). With a challenging yet manageable climb up that can be virtually as short or as long as you’re heart desires.
The full 14-mile loop can be taken on by the ambitious rider while those who’re building up their stamina can close the circle at a number of closer turn-offs. A few of the local favorites are: Flow State (Upper & Lower) and Poppin’ Tops (Upper & Lower).
The original crowned jewel of the PNW for mountain bikers, Tiger Mountain has over 40 trails that stretch over 45+ miles. Within all those trails is something for virtually every style and level of rider, beginners to pros. A few notable trail highlights to checkout: Predator, Off The Grid, Fully Rigid and Joy Ride. With tons of looping variations possible, a great uphill climbing trail (Master Link) and beautiful forest all around you, Tiger Mountain is a must for any mountain biker, local or not.
Although Galbraith is the furthest away — located in Bellingham, WA — it’s certainly worthy of the drive. If you think of it in a similar light as skiing, Galbraith’s 1.5 hour drive from Seattle is virtually equivalent to driving up to Stevens Pass for the day. As a side note, Stevens Pass also hosts Washington’s only lift-accessed downhill bike park and it’s also a blast! But back to Galbraith.
With over 50 miles of singletrack trail weaving throughout the 3000 acre area, Galbraith has mostly intermediate trails but ultimately there’s something for everyone — they even have a dirt jump line if that’s your thing. A few of the must-ride trail callouts for Galby: Unemployment Line (intermediate), Evolution (advanced), and Atomic Dog (intermediate).
Situated just a couple miles off I-90 in Issaquah, Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park is roughly 30-minutes outside of Seattle making it a popular place for both pre- and post-work rides. What’s more, Duthie’s versatile offering of trails all loop back to a central clearing area with several skill building features (i.e. balance beams, pump tracks, and progressive drops). The trails themselves are all relatively short in terms of actual length but they’re incredibly fun. For those who enjoy jumps, there are jumps.
For those who like a grueling pedal, there are a few really fun XC loops. For those who want flow, there’s flowy trails like Ryan’s Eternal Flow (aptly named, huh?) and Voodoo Child. If you’re new to mountain biking and want to get a taste of all the different styles and/or progress your skills gradually, Duthie Hill’s full-spectrum array of trails is the place to go! Other trails to checkout: Bootcamp (easy), (intermediate), Semper Dirticus (advanced).
So there you have it! Still want more? Fear not! There are a ton of awesome Seattle mountain bike trails scattered throughout the PNW region — some popular, others less known. If you’re visiting, start with the list above. If you’re a local, consider yourself lucky because you’ve got a lifetime of options to start exploring and checking off!