June 25, 2020

The Best Bike Routes Around Seattle’s Capitol Hill

Seattle is one of the most cyclist-friendly cities in America and it is so easy to explore by bike. You can bring your own to ride around, rent one from a local bike shop, or find one of the bike shares to get around town. Here are some of the best sight-seeing bike routes from Shafer Baillie Mansion, our Capitol Hill inn.

Washington Park Arboretum & East Montlake Park – 6.5 miles

It is surprising how quickly you can immerse yourself in nature while still being in the heart of Seattle. This loop takes you through the Washington Park Arboretum, over Foster and Marsh Islands, to East Montlake Park, and back to Shafer Baillie B&B. Ride along Aloha Street until you reach the southern tip of the Arboretum. From here you have a dozen options and trails meandering through the park. Follow the Foster Point Trail to the Arboretum Waterfront Trail. You’ll have a front-row view of Union Bay and the University of Washington. Arrive at East Montlake Park to have a picnic or simply enjoy the views before the climb back to Capitol Hill. 

Madison Park, Madrona, & Cal Anderson Park – 8.2 miles

Head northeast to the shores of Lake Washington. Madison Park Beach is a hotspot for locals on any hot summer day. Take off your shoes and dip your toes in the water or bring a blanket and soak up the sun before heading south on McGilvra Boulevard. Along the boulevard are half a dozen beaches if you want a more secluded area for a picnic. Make a detour to the Madrona neighborhood on 34th Avenue. Grab a beer at Bottlehouse or stop by Molly Moon’s for a scoop of ice cream before taking the surface roads to Cal Anderson Park. Explore the reflection pools and water features in the park before heading down the road to the inn. 

Volunteer Park Loop – 2-4 miles

Shafer Baillie Bed & Breakfast is lucky to be right next to Volunteer Park. You can take your bikes and peddle around the park to look at the stunning and unique mansions or snake through the trails to explore the park. Find the observatory and climb to the top for unparalleled views, check out the conservatory with a Victorian glass greenhouse, and see Bruce and Brandon Lee’s gravesites. Make your trip as long or short as you would like. 

Lake Union Loop with Gas Works Park and Fremont – 9.2 miles

If you want a longer bike ride with lake views, funky parks, and chocolate, then we’ve got the loop for you. Head north towards the University of Washington. You can explore the pedestrian & cyclist only campus or follow the Burke-Gilman Trail to Gas Works Park. This legendary park is home to remnants of an old oil mill and gives you a great view of Seattle.

Continue over to Fremont where you can explore this funky, colorful town and take a tour of Theo Chocolate complete with samples of their mouthwatering sweets. Cross over the Fremont Bridge (home of the Fremont Troll) and follow the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop to Lake Union Park. Check out The Center for Wooden Boats or the Museum of History & Industry before crossing over I-5 on the way back to Capitol Hill.

Queen Anne Loop with Kerry Park and Belltown – 11.7 miles

Circling the Queen Anne neighborhood is a great blend of short uphills, casual downhills, and long steady waterfront stretches. Drop down to Lake Union Park and follow the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop trail along the Fremont Cut. There are lots of mini-parks, boat docks, and resting places to get out and wander around. If you want a challenge, climb up and over Queen Anne Hill and through the shopping district on Queen Anne Avenue. If you want a more casual ride, you can circle around the hill. Either way, you’ll find yourself at Kerry Park, an iconic attraction with one of the best views of the Space Needle in town. Parking is almost impossible at this park, so riding a bike is the perfect way to visit without the hassle. From here you’ll drop down to Lower Queen Anne near the Seattle Center before climbing back uphill to Shafer Baillie B&B.


On top of these great sight-seeing loops, Seattle has reserved some streets around town as Stay Healthy Streets which have been closed off to cars. Walk or bike these new public spaces with ease. 


Ready to bike Capitol Hill? Book a stay at the Shafer Baillie Mansion Bed & Breakfast, a Tudor style mansion in the heart of Capitol Hill.