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Bicycling Hwy 2 Spokane to Seattle area- info?

Old 09-10-08, 12:29 PM
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Bicycling Hwy 2 Spokane to Seattle area- info?

A friend and myself are on a bicycle tour right now, travelling towards Missoula, Montana with the goal of getting to Seattle. The most direct route is Hwy 2, but I've heard it called the highway of death on another post. Can anyone back this up, or hopefully refute it? Are there shoulders, lots of traffic, anything that a bicyclist should know about before heading onto it? How about alternate routes or bike paths from the Spokane area? Thanks, Mike
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Old 09-10-08, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sneekyjesus
A friend and myself are on a bicycle tour right now, travelling towards Missoula, Montana with the goal of getting to Seattle. The most direct route is Hwy 2, but I've heard it called the highway of death on another post. Can anyone back this up, or hopefully refute it? Are there shoulders, lots of traffic, anything that a bicyclist should know about before heading onto it? How about alternate routes or bike paths from the Spokane area? Thanks, Mike
i think the "death" part of hwy 2 is in the monroe-index-gold bar area, e.g. west of the mountains. i've ridden that part and it isn't so bad; from what i can tell the wrecks happen in the middle of the road mostly (e.g. head-ons), so as a cyclist it's not that much of a concern (to me anyway).

and once you get over the pass (stevens), you can get off of hwy 2 and use back roads to make it to seattle, thus skipping the 'death' part of hwy 2 (unless it has issues east of the mtns as well?)

i haven't ridden it from spokane, but i've done stevens pass from leavenworth to monroe or so (heading west). some parts have a small shoulder, some have a 10-foot wide shoulder. i enjoyed the views very much! the last section of the pass is something like 7% for 6 miles, but you get a really nice descent after that, so it's well worth it.

lots of traffic, but nothing too scary.

I-90 is another possibility, although there's much more traffic on it, no shade, and there's a snow-tunnel near the top that would be tricky on a bicycle (almost no shoulder going thru it).

anyway some people (well, crazy ultra-cyclists) do an annual ride from seattle to spokane, via hwy 2, so it can't be all that bad. i hear it's better than 90 at least.

best of luck!
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Old 09-10-08, 01:04 PM
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"Highway of death" might be a little strong, but it is pretty high-traffic for a 2-lane road and is definitely not the most scenic option. If you have the time, and are not opposed to hills, you will not regret cutting north to cross washington on hwy. 20 through north cascades national park. This is BY FAR the most scenic way across the mountains, and because it is mostly used for recreation, there is far less heavy truck traffic than on 2 or (shudder) i-90. If you're already on hwy 2, it is pretty easy to go north to 20 from sand point, ID (and skip dropping south to spokane entirely).
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Old 09-10-08, 02:23 PM
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Hwy 2 from Sandpoint to Newport is OK. Good enough shoulder. Summer traffic is mostly over, but still more than a few trucks. Hwy 2 from Newport to Spokane is great. There can be a lot of traffic but there are nice wide shoulder pretty much the whole way. Heading west from Spokane, Hwy 2 continues to be fairly good with decent shoulders.

Hwy 20 is the more scenic route but weather is going to start being a consideration. September can be an iffy month. Beautiful one day, crappy the next. Up in the passes snow could fall, wouldn't stick this early but sure would suck to ride through. We did a ride to the top of Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho border Labor Day weekend and it was cold at the top, with talk of snow flurries. No snow, but it sure felt like it could have happened.

But having said all that, 20 would have less traffic. Just keep your rain gear on top of your pack. LAB
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Old 09-10-08, 11:30 PM
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would the John Wayne trail work for him over I90? I think it is cobble so it would depend on your bike

otherwise I would hope for good weather and take hwy 20
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Old 09-11-08, 07:55 AM
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Hwy 2 west of Spokane to the cascade mountains isn't too bad. It's got a 50-60 mph speed limit and a fair amount of traffic, but has good shoulders most of the way. Weather conditions can make it a scary ride, but weather shouldn't be an issue for you in September.

The local riders here know the back roads to avoid Hwy 2, but I have a feeling you'd rather go the most direct route west. You can also legally ride on Interstate 90 west Spokane city limits, but I would say Hwy 2 is your safer bet.
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Old 09-11-08, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by TWD
would the John Wayne trail work for him over I90? I think it is cobble so it would depend on your bike
i thought it was packed & loose gravel?
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Old 09-11-08, 04:24 PM
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If the idea of Hwy 20 and the North Cascades Highway is appealing, ride west on 2 to just before Coulee City, take a right turn, go up along Banks Lake, see Grand Coulee dam, and make your way over to the east end of the NCH and go for it.

The "highway of death" is really more a problem for motor vehicles. Knock on wood, I don't recall any accidents involving bikes.
You could search the Cascade Bicycle Club's https://www.cascade.org/Community/forum/index.cfm message board for some questions about going eastward over Highway 2 recently -- you'll pick up some tips there.
There are some side / parallel roads as you get west of Index / Sultan. If you're headed for Seattle, when you get to Sultan take the left turn across the railroad and river, take the road on the south side to the river to south of Monroe, and you can work your way over to Bothell / Kenmore and pick up the Burke Gilman trail and ride practically to the center of the city.

Since you clearly have internet access, do some looking at maps on line to get a feel for the roads.

If you do ride Hwy 20, take a left at Rockport, ride down to Darrington and then out to Arlington. Find the Centennial Trail -- paved RR line -- and ride to Snohomish, and from there you can get to Bothell / Kenmore, etc.
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Old 09-11-08, 04:33 PM
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https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...?pg=detail&s=1

would show the basics of the northenmost route -- highways in black
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Old 09-11-08, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
i thought it was packed & loose gravel?
It is. More loose than packed. Good for mtb, bad for road/touring bike. LAB
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Old 09-11-08, 05:48 PM
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If you are in Missoula are you planning on coming across on I-90? You have some options along that route, depending on how direct you want. Once you make it to Coeur D'Alene you could hope on the Cientennial trail and follow it into Spokane. That is one option. You could come into Spokane and then go North to 20 rather then going North in Idaho. So some different options.

Let me know when and where you entering Washington and perhaps I can ride with you for awhile and get you through the area.

Weather for the next week should be warm, with afternoon temps in the Mid 80's if you care.
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Old 09-11-08, 06:02 PM
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also there is an alternate route that will allow you to skip a good portion of highway 2, after getting over the pass: Old Cascade Highway i think is the name..

anyone know that route?
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Old 09-15-08, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for all the info everyone. My friend and I have decided to take highway 2, should be there in 3 or 4 days.
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Old 09-15-08, 04:10 PM
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Let me know if you are coming in on Hwy 2 at Newport or I-90 into Spokane.
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Old 09-16-08, 01:23 PM
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We're definitely coming Hwy 2 from Newport, hopefully arriving in Sandpoint tomorrow, and Spokane the next day. Any good bike shops in Spokane? I need to get a wheel trued.
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Old 09-16-08, 06:38 PM
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There are a couple of bike shops you will pass as you come into Spokane. I've never used either for truing a wheel, but both are established businesses. The two shops are Wheel Sport and North Division Bike Shop. Both are located on Hwy 395, not Hwy 2. The easiest way to get there is to take Farwell Road. After leaving Sandpoint/Newport there isn't much but a some very small communities more then towns. When you see a McDonald's (on your left) its the first one you will see, you are getting close to Spokane. You have a downhill and uphill to a traffic light about 1 - 1.5 miles, there is construction there. Take a right at the traffic light that is Farwell.

Follow Farwell to the next traffic light about a mile. On your right is a Shell station if you cross the Hwy (Hwy 395) and go into lot across the street you will find Wheel Sport next to Taco Del Mar. If you take a left and go about a mile (up a short hill) you will find NDBS on your right.

Sounds like you are arriving into Spokane Thursday. I have Thursday off, and don't have a ride planned, I would be willing to try to figure out a meet time along Hwy 2 (say around Chattaroy or Colbert if you have a map) and ride with you into town and more importantly get you out of town in the correct direction.
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Old 09-18-08, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the offer. If you still want to, we will be leaving Sandpoint shortly. I couldn't say for sure what time we would get to Chattaroy. Its about 65 miles there from the way we are going, we might arrive there by 2-4PM. From there we're heading into Spokane, to a house that I'm not sure of the address yet. Your welcome to ride with us, but we don't exactly speed down the streets with all our gear. Give me a call if you'd still like to 973-809-2689.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:25 PM
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how to bike from spokane to seattle

Iím thinking about transporting my bike to Spokane for a wedding, and then riding it back home. I have lots of experience touring but zero info on this route.

Iím looking for advice on :
1. a safe and fun route between Spokane and Seattle.
2. how to get my bike out there (Amtrak doesnít have racks for bikes on this route but said I could check it in as luggage for a fee).

Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks so much!
- Kevin
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Old 06-09-09, 09:08 AM
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I prefer hiway 20. It goes through trees and a number of passes.
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Old 06-09-09, 11:05 AM
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I ride hwy 2 from Fairchild Air Force base out to Reardan often and agree with mtn Mike. A good amount of traffic is on the roads but it does have a very wide shoulder. It's also wide open Scab lands and most of the time the winds blow from the south west. What route are you taking through Spokane? You can bypass Spokane by taking 291 then left on 7 Mile rd, take left on Coulee Hite RD then left on Wood road and you'll end up past the Air Force base and a few miles from Reardon. I'll be in that same area on Thursday around 3pm riding home so I'll keep an eye out for you guys.
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Old 06-09-09, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by TWD
would the John Wayne trail work for him over I90? I think it is cobble so it would depend on your bike

otherwise I would hope for good weather and take hwy 20
LastI heard they had closed most of the tunnels on the John Wayne because they were falling apart.
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Old 06-09-09, 12:02 PM
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There are several more shops in Spokane, as D mentioned, North Division and Wheelsport on Division (it turns into 395 I believe) I have also heard of Wheelsport east? Two wheel Transit and Bicycle Butler. Somthing has to be close to your route.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by c3xxk
Iím thinking about transporting my bike to Spokane for a wedding, and then riding it back home. I have lots of experience touring but zero info on this route.

Iím looking for advice on :
1. a safe and fun route between Spokane and Seattle.
2. how to get my bike out there (Amtrak doesnít have racks for bikes on this route but said I could check it in as luggage for a fee).

Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks so much!
- Kevin
Take your bike to your LBS and have it pack it for shipping. You can then check it on Amtrak when you board. Or you can ship it Fedex Ground or UPS
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Old 10-16-15, 03:06 PM
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Hi Forrest, do you know if hwy 20 would be ride-able in November?
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Old 10-16-15, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by saucyjoci
Hi Forrest, do you know if hwy 20 would be ride-able in November?
It depends on the weather. You can see the historical closing dates here:

WSDOT - North Cascades Highway - Opening and Closing History

Even if it's open, that time of year the weather can be extreme up there so you need to be prepared.
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