I love this great dedicated bike/horse/walking trail just to the south of Mt. Vernon. It provides varied terrain, an all paved surface and if you wish, turn around at any point! This trail is mostly on an old railroad bed, so the hills are easy and everything is ‘gradual.’
To get to the north trailhead/parking lot:
Pack your bikes up and head south about 7 miles on I-5 to Exit 212, Stanwood/Bryant Road. Head East. In about 4 miles you arrive in Bryant. The parking lot is right in front of you, there is also a store right across Highway 9. The trail does go north for 1.3 miles, but ends abruptly at the Pilchuck River bridge. (Note: 4/21/13, The paved section of the trail is now open north all the way to the North Parking Lot. This is an additional 2.5 miles beyond the bridge.) The north leg is straight and level, so is a good warmup leg. Return to the parking lot, check your water and snacks and head south. The end of the trail is 23 miles further, in Snohomish, but every part of this trail is interesting and just getting as far as Arlington is nice, about 5 miles one way. Here is the complete map.
The City of Arlington has constructed a brand new building right on the trail that has bathrooms in a structure designed to look like an old-fashioned train station. This is a great place to rest and ‘water out and up.’
Another good place to stop is at Machias, another newish train station ‘facility’ stop.
We look forward to the day when this trail is completed north and we can start it in Sedro-Woolley!