The century ride I mapped out is an out & back route that begins in Maltby and heads north to Mount Vernon. This relatively flat hundred rolls through the open farmlands, thick woodlands and wetlands, surrounding the lush countrysides of Snohomish County out to Skagit County.
Sixty percent of this ride is on the Centennial Trail; a 30 mile well-maintained multi-purpose trail that begins in the town of Snohomish and ends at the red barn of the historic Nakashima Farm at the North Trailhead. This linear path is built on the old Burlington-Northern railroad line and goes through the towns of Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Marysville and Arlington.
We exit Maltby Community Park onto Broadway Ave and head north on this two-lane road through residential neighborhoods.
Springhetti Road drops us down through the valley with views of the vast agricultural lands of this rich fertile region. This countryside is filled with dairy farms, corn fields, a Christmas tree farms, horse ranches, a plant and tree nursery and farm stands.
We enter the historic downtown business district of Snohomish on 1st St; this area is filled with many antique shops and collectibles, cafes and restaurants and galleries. The town overlooks the Snohomish River with fantastic views of the water and the River Trestle.
From Maple Ave, we pick hop onto the Centennial Trail off Pine St; the trail is up to 10 feet wide and runs parallel to Machias Rd and the Snohomish River. It goes through the many open fields and meadows with occasional scenes of the river.
As we’re rolling along, we catch a glimpse of a colorful field of flowers. I stop to turn around for a second look and Michael motions for me to continue on the trail to a little side road, maybe it’ll lead us to the flowers? We follow the road down and around the side and come upon a white sign for Accent Dahlias. I stop to read the little pink paper posting and it welcomes visitors to the display gardens-just follow the trail of orange ribbons to the garden. We walk the bikes through a small path that opens up to eye popping colorful dahlias! The flowers are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and some of the blooms are 10-12 inches wide — WOW! Ken, the owner is very friendly and more than glad to answer any questions you may have. For 2010, he grew over 400 varieties and has won Best of Show several times.
We continue on the trail through Lake Stevens past residential backyards out to the industrial edge of town.
The tree-lined trail continues through the dense woods along the ridge with fantastic views of Marysville valley.
The trail enters the lumber town of Arlington along 67th Ave NE, this road divides the town with lumber and industrial located to the west and residential neighborhoods to the east.
We continue through the edge of Arlington’s historic downtown area. This is where a guy just randomly yells out at us to eat the $1 burgers at the bowling alley. $1 burgers, I could go for that, we’ll have to try it on our way back!
The trail crosses over the Stillaguamish River on the old train trestle by Haller Park in Arlington. The views are amazing and bring about a very peaceful feeling; the river runs through the dense forests along the gravel bar with glimpses of the mountains in the far, far distance!
The trail takes us along the ridge above the valley floor and through the wetlands to the small town of Bryant.
The path continues through more pastoral settings out to the tree-lined stretch along Pilchuck Creek.
The Centennial Trail ends at the red barn of the Historic Nakashima Barn — the North Trailhead. The surrounding area is very scenic with its dense forests and wide open meadows — everything is green!
The rolling gentle terrain on WA-9 N takes us through the small town of Lake MacMurray to WA-534. WA-534 leads us out of the “country” towards I-5 and Mt Vernon.
Cedardale Road is a frontage road along I-5; the flat terrain takes us through the agricultural fields of Skagit County.
Mount Vernon is the turnaround point; from here we basically reverse our way back to the North Trailhead and continue on the Centennial Trail.
We do stop in Arlington to take advantage of the $1 burgers at Rocket Alley: a beef patty with secret sauce on a soft bun. The burger is one dollar if you buy a drink or an order of fries. This will fuel us back to Maltby!
Near Lake Stevens, we hear thunder and see some lightning flash across the sky. Rain is in the forecast and we get caught in it for the last 15 miles back through Snohomish and to Maltby Park.
For dinner, we stop at Hong Kong Dim Sum on our way back into Seattle. We had soup to warm the tummy and lots of vegetables. The Shanghai dumplings are pretty good too! We have enough leftovers for tomorrow night’s dinner.
This century was most enjoyable — the flat 60 miles out and back on the Centennial Trail allowed for a quiet peaceful ride with no traffic! The broad path takes you through the old lumber towns, past the rich agricultural farmlands and woodlands around Snohomish and Skagit Counties.
This would be a great first century for anyone with minimal elevation gain. The scenery alone is worth the ride and the side trip to Accent Dahlias is well worth the extra time!
105.53 Miles with 2694′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 445′
Max grade: 7%
Terrain: Flat with a few low climbs
GueGuest blogger Nancy Yu biked all over Washington, Nancy shared her experience doing Maltby-Mount Vernon Century Bike Ride, to see all her posts and find out where she’s riding next follow her blog:http://ridechronicles.com/