RIDING THE INTERURBAN TRAIL

On Thursday night, we took a ride up the Interurban Trail from central Kent to downtown Renton. Because I wanted junior to last all of the way to the end point, we opted to hop on the bus from Marine View Dr. in Des Moines and get off on the James and Lincoln stop, which is right next to the trail. The ride from this point into Renton worked out to a little over eight miles.

The Interurban Trail is as straight as an arrow and completely flat all the way into Tukwila, which made for a steady ride. The weather was fantastic, apart from a steady head wind. We saw about a dozen wild rabbits along the way–I guess it’s that time of year. We stopped to admire a nice Prince piece on a car parked on one of the sidetracks.

The trail takes you right by the Tukwila Amtrak/Sounder station, so this is another way to link up with it. After going under the 405 overpass in Tukwila, we took Grady up to Oakesdale Ave. (the Springbrook trail is also right there), and then onto SW 7th. 7th is a nice route for biking as there isn’t much traffic, it’s straight and flat, and is a much better option than staying on Grady. You do have to cross Rainier, but we opted to walk our bikes across the crosswalks there, which was safer.

From there, we cut down Shattuck for two blocks, than down Houser Way (both quiet side streets) and onto Burnett. Two blocks down Burnett and we were at the Renton Transit center. Because it was getting late and he was feeling tired, we jumped on the F Line Rapid Ride at the Renton Transit Center and took it back to the Tukwila station and then onto the A, which was a quick connection. We got off farther south on Pacific Hwy and the ride from there is always quick and fun because it’s all down hill.

If you are not familiar with Renton, it is actually a very easy city to get around on bike. It’s practically completely flat everywhere, and as long as you avoid the busier streets like Rainier, Grady, and Sunset, it is relatively safe riding. The downtown area is quaint and has the original town feel. There are spots to pop into to eat and the Renton Farmers Market on Tuesday evenings during the summer is very active. The Renton transit center can connect you to just about anywhere. Renton Landing is just around the corner if shopping and chain restaurants is your thing. There is also a great trail that follows the cedar river along side Boeing and leads all the way to the lake’s edge. Perimeter Road takes you around the airport and is also a nice little detour. Although Renton isn’t usually the first place that comes to mind when you think of touring, you could quite easily make a day out of it and see some nice sites throughout your ride.

The Interurban Trail is a great “bike highway.” It is straight and flat, however, not what I would describe as the most scenic route since you are mostly on the backside of warehouses and industrial areas. The REI headquarters is only a couple blocks off of the trail in Kent in case you are interested. The trail is the best route to connect from Kent to Tukwila and is worth a ride if you don’t go there regularly and are looking for something different. You can use it for point A to point B purposes or link up with more scenic trails in that area such as the Green River Trail. The Green River Trail follows the Green River from Kent, past Tukwila, and all the way up until it puts you out onto W. Marginal around the Glendale area. It’s very nice ride, and you’re on the trail nearly the whole time.

The south King County valley areas offer some scenic and interesting bike routes, and it’s mostly flat everywhere you go there, so there is not as much route planning involved. I’ll make some future posts on specific legs of the Green River trail and bonus spots to look out for along the way.

Please post any comments, and in particular, your experiences riding on the Interurban trail or any other trail you like or recommend.