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Summer Touring in WA near Seattle

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Summer Touring in WA near Seattle

Old 04-27-21, 11:00 PM
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Summer Touring in WA near Seattle

Hello all!

I'm planning a low-key biking/camping trip from Seattle to the San Juan Islands. I have only been to Seattle once before (10 years ago) and only for a day so I would love any advice from those of you with more Seattle experience.

I mapped out a route from Seattle to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. 20-30 miles per day....we are taking it easy. Planning to stay at the hiker/biker sites at Manchester State Park, Kitsap Memorial Park, Fort Worden State, and Deception Pass. Then we will camp on San Juan Island/Orca Island for a few nights before heading back to Seattle and taking the Amtrak home to Los Angeles.

I'm a bit stumped about how to get back to Seattle. I was hoping to take the Amtrak Cascade and just bring my bike on the train, but it doesn't seem to be running. I know Bolt Bus is an option but they seem to require boxing the bike which I want to avoid. Any tips or general advice? Is there a good route from the ferry back to Seattle that isn't too demanding? I'm bringing my coworker (first-time camper + bike tourer) on the trip and I personally haven't biked in a year!

Many thanks!

PS: Is there anyway around the 10 posts in order to add a link/photo? I would love to post the route here to see if the roads google suggested are alright.
**I posted this in the NW Region section too, but not much traffic there!
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Old 04-28-21, 04:50 AM
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Skagit Transit - Route 90X

Express bus service, connects in Everett with connections to Seattle

Amtrak jas restored most Cascade service except north of Seattle - border remains closed.
If international travel resumes, I would expect these trains to return, too.

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Old 04-28-21, 05:28 AM
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Check the Adventure Cycling maps (Northern Tier and Pacific Coast) in the area for a route that will get you from Anacortes to a ferry that will take you to Seattle and vice versa.

BTW...Fort Worden is nice. It was a major filming location for “An Officer and a Gentleman.” Kitsap was also decent from what I remember.

Just looked at ACA's site. The Northern Tier starts/ends in Anacortes. Not far east of there it intersects with the Pacific Coast route, which heads south through Bremerton where you can catch the ferry to Seattle. (There is a spur that takes you to the ferry dock in Bremerton.) The route goes through Deception Pass, Port Townsend (where Ft. Worden is located) and Kitsap Memorial.

If you plan to star from downtown Seattle, why not skip Manchester, which looks harder to get to and from? Kitsap is only about 20 miles from Bremerton. When I last rode up that way I stayed in the hostel in town then took the ferry to Bremerton the first day and rode to Kitsap. Second day I rode to Fort Worden and then to Bay View via Deception pass, which is a bit east of Anacortes.

Last edited by indyfabz; 04-28-21 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 04-28-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by helfrederick View Post
I know Bolt Bus is an option but they seem to require boxing the bike which I want to avoid.
Why do you think BoltBus requires a bike to be boxed? I took my bike on BoltBus from Seattle to Portland and back. I loaded my bike myself. I didn't have to do anything at all in terms of dismantling or boxing my bike. Mine was not the only bike on my return trip to Seattle. We all simply loaded our bikes ourselves in a separate baggage compartment which was opened for us. It couldn't have been easier.

The BoltBus FAQ still says the same thing now as when I rode Bolt a few years ago:

"Can I take a bicycle or golf bag?

We do allow oversize items as long as space is available in the baggage bin. The oversize item will count as your one bag allowed under the coach. You’ll be responsible for placing the item in the baggage bin. We will not charge you an additional fee for oversized item provided it is within your limit of one bag under the coach."

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Old 04-30-21, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by helfrederick View Post
Then we will camp on San Juan Island/Orca Island for a few nights before heading back to Seattle and taking the Amtrak home to Los Angeles.


,,,, and I personally haven't biked in a year!
One other tip. I suggest that you substitute Lopez Island for Orcas Island, especially since you say you haven't biked in a year. Lopez is much less mountainous and has less traffic than Orcas. I think it's the most enjoyable island in the San Juans to bike on.
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Old 04-30-21, 01:03 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

The San Juan Islands are a great place to bike. The Ferries between Islands are free,and easily accessible.

It looks like the Amtrak Cascade is running a bus from Mt Vernon To Seattle. The Amtrak station is in Mt Vernon, about 20 miles east of Anacortes. You could also take the train or bus from Seattle and have an extra day to explore more than one Island. All the Islands haves some hills, but Orcas, as mentioned above is the most challenging. Roads out of the ferry terminals also tend to be steep.

We took the train back to Oregon on one of our rides. The San Juan Islands, the Canadian Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island are all great places to explore on a bike, and can be reached from Anacortes. However, Covid has put a crimp in going to the Canadian islands.

The route you have planned is also a good ride. Oh, don't forget your rain gear It is also good to have a warm layer; morning and evening temperatures are often in the high 40s or low 50s during the summer months. Good luck on your venture.

Ferry from Port Townsend to Fort Casey

Deception Pass Bridge

It is a good idea to have a "tie down" and a "parking brake" for your bike when using the ferries. It allows more flexibility when stowing your bike for the boat ride. We carry an all purpose piece of 1/2 nylon webbing with a quick release buckle for securing the bikes on the ferry, and a small velcro strap used as a parking brake.

The blue piece of webbing, known as a "ferry strap" in our family, secures our daughters' bikes to the side of the ferry. The red and white velcro straps on their bikes' brake levers are the parking brakes. The ferry strap is also great for hauling firewood on the rear rack.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-01-21 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-05-21, 05:36 PM
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I did a short Amtrak trip last fall during the pandemic. Train to Seattle. Ferry to Bremerton. 1st night at Illahee state park (almost in Bremerton and nice biker campsite). Second night in Manchester State Park (town of Manchester a couple miles away and good restaurants). Then to Tacoma through Gig Harbor and across the Tacoma Narrows bridge to catch the train home.

Illahee State Park might be a better choice for your first night than Manchester since you may want to minimize your miles on the first day after getting off the train.
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