Finding the Road Less Traveled: 3 Scenic King County Bike Rides with Miles and Climbing

Guest blogger Jessica Lowery is @xmcshiftersonx on Twitter.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I don’t really enjoy city riding. I don’t like the traffic, the lack of shoulders and all the commotion. My idea of a perfect ride involves quiet country roads, farm animals, and long distances. I also enjoy finding new routes through Ride with GPS that I’ve never done before.

I like the adventure and I like only having myself to rely on. We are so lucky that there really is no shortage of good rides in the greater Seattle metro area. Here are three of my favorites.

Issaquah-Carnation Loop: 38 Miles

The first ride is a shorter one close to home that I refer to as the Carnation Loop. It’s a 38-mile route with about 2,000 feet of climbing that starts in Issaquah. It has a few challenging climbs like Inglewood Hill followed quickly by Ames Lake Road as you go through Sammamish, and then the Issaquah-Fall City road climb towards the end of the route. In between you come across all sorts of farm animals, crops, and beautifully forested roads. To view the route map go here.

Riding to Mount Rainier National Park from Auburn_Jessica Lowery pic


Auburn to Mount Rainier: 78 miles

The second route I discovered a couple of years ago and have done annually since. The ride goes up to the Carbon River Entrance of the Mount Rainier National Park from Auburn. If you’re looking for a ride with a decent amount of miles but not too much climbing, this one is for you!

The route is about 78 miles but only has 2,900 feet of climbing. It’s a slow gradual climb to the top, with a fun downhill on the way back. It is such a beautiful ride. There are times where it is completely quiet except for the river in the distance.

The view doesn’t get old, either. Looking out over the edge of the road, there’s nothing but steep hillsides covered with lush green forests. To view the route map, go here.


The mountain is out! View of Mount Rainier riding from Auburn, WA.

Riding to Mount Rainier National Park from Auburn_Jessica Lowery pic

Riding-from-Auburn-to-Mount Rainier-National-Park-3_Jessica-Lowery-pic

Enumclaw to Crystal Mountain: 91 miles

This last ride is one I discovered while trying to find a long route with a good amount of elevation to train for Obliteride. This route goes from Enumclaw to the Crystal Mountain ski resort. It’s about 91 miles with 4,500 feet of climbing. Most of the climbing is in the first 45 miles, which made for an awesome downhill on the way back. The climb takes a steeper path as you turn onto the road leading directly up to the resort. That climb lasts about 6 miles.

For the vegans out there, the Bullwheel Restaurant at the top has a Boca burger with your name on it (and fries) (check first, though; may be closed depending on whether it’s still ski season.) To view the route map, go here.


As I alluded to before, with so many options in this area it’s hard to pick only a couple of favorite rides. I could have easily written about a handful of others. But I’ll keep some of those paths less traveled just for me!

Want to Write Your Ride?

We’d love to have your post and pictures (and/or video) to share some of your favorites. Busy city streets, peaceful small towns, quiet country roads with just you and the trees — whatever and wherever your ride takes you in Washington, send us your story.

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