Well, here’s yet another reason to ride your bike on your weekend getaway this summer. In order to help close a huge funding gap, Washington State Parks is instituting a new vehicle license fee that goes into effect July 1. The Discover Pass will cost $30 per vehicle per year.
However, this pass is only required if you drive a car or ride a motorcycle. People on foot and on bike don’t need one. Those are some significant savings.
But wait, aren’t state parks usually kinda far from Seattle? How am I going to get there and get back in time for work?
Well, Seattle Bike Blog is officially declaring this summer the year of the bike/bus camping combo. For example, want to go to Squeak Mountain? It would be a pretty good ride there, or you can throw your bike on the 554 and start your journey from Issaquah. Not too shabby, especially if you are making it a day trip.
The Seattle region has a dynamic transportation network that lends itself to all kinds of great combos if you are on bike. Riding your bike onto a ferry saves you money and can get you far away from the city in a fun way (see our previous post about a trip to Whidbey Island via bike/ferry). Express buses can extend the range of places to camp or hike.
Plus, why would you want to begin and end your getaway by being super stressed out behind the wheel of a car on a hideous Interstate?
In other regional getaway news, Biking Bis reports that not only does the Snoqualmie Tunnel reopen July 5 after years of being closed, but the Bus-Up 90 service will take bikers from the Cedar Falls trailhead to the Hyak trailhead near Snoqualmie pass and the reopened tunnel. That sounds like quite the head start.
So technically you could bus from Seattle to North Bend, ride to the Bus-Up 90 shuttle, ride down the mountain, ride back to North Bend and bus back. All car-free, all in one day (though you wouldn’t have much time to take in the scenery, the last 209 from North Bend leaves before 7 p.m.). Or you can just ride more of it and take your time.
From Biking Bis:
The bus service is designed for cyclists who want a lift to the summit for an easy 23-mile ride downhill.
The shuttle can accommodate 21 passengers and bicycles; it runs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
As part of the old Milwaukee Road, the John Wayne Pioneer Rail-Trail rises at a steady 2% grade from Cedar Falls to the Snoqualmie Pass at Hyak. Near the summit, it passes through the 2.3-mile long Snoqualmie Tunnel.
While I’ve maintained it’s more fulfilling to ride the length of the trail through the Iron Horse State Park, up and down, the shuttle bus provides a good service to families or those who aren’t quite up to the uphill grade.
Do you have any suggestions for other bike/bus/ferry trips, either for one day or several? There were several good ideas in the comments of our previous story, but there are so many options in the region that we have yet to scrape the surface of possibilities.