Touring Trips

This travel guide currently includes seven route itineraries, with more to come.

  • The Washington Cascades is the most difficult route in this guide, with four mountain passes and a few long dogs. I made the mistake of doing this trip in late July, not realizing that you should never do a bike touring trip in eastern Washington at the height of summer. My poor timing might have impacted my feelings about the difficulty of this trip.
  • The Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast route takes you up the east side of Vancouver Island, across the Strait of Georgia and north up the Sunshine coast, and then back to Vancouver Island and south again, with a stop on Salt Spring Island. The ride isn’t too demanding but does include a couple of long days. This trip is also customizable, with a few bonus days included in the itinerary in case you have extra time and want to explore more of the region.
  • I do an annual bike touring trip from Seattle to the San Juan Islands. This route is easy to customize: you can make it longer or shorter as desired. If you’re just getting into self-supported bike touring, the San Juan Islands are a great place for a first trip, though in that case I would split Day 1 into two days, or skip that day altogether and start and end in Anacortes. If you have been touring for a long time but haven’t been to the San Juans yet, what are you waiting for?
  • The Selkirk Loop deserves more recognition for the great touring vacation that it is. It’s easy to do in one week, it can be customized depending on your experience and skill level (you don’t have to do the North Kootenay Lake and the Silvery Slocan super side trip, though you’ll miss out if you skip it), and it doesn’t include any tedious mountain passes. On top of that, the scenery is gorgeous, especially in the British Columbia section.
  • Portland to Walla Walla on the Lewis and Clark trail is a 5-day route that is scenic from start to finish and doesn’t include any strenuously long days. You do need to watch out for headwinds along the river, so I recommend traveling from west to east, the same direction as the prevailing winds.
  • The Olympic Peninsula is a nice loop ride that would be a good ride for someone new to bike touring. You’re never too far from civilization, traffic is relatively light, and there are no mountain passes, or even particularly large hills.
  • The Fort Flagler Weekend Trip is a great way to turn a weekend into a vacation.

I don’t own a car and I don’t want to box my bike, so many of my trips start and end in Seattle, where I live. When I can, I take the Amtrak Cascades to start and end points. For harder to reach locations, I have found point-to-point car rentals incredibly useful. I’ve had great experiences with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and I use them whenever possible. With rental cars, it’s really important to get a car big enough to fit the bikes, and so far, Enterprise has always been able to get me an appropriate car.