My Suggestions: Biking from Vancouver to Bellingham and on to Seattle

See my Google Map.

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Aprox. 160 miles total.  60 to Bellingham, 100 Bellingham to Seattle.

Starting in Downtown Vancouver

Many quiet residential streets; that parallel busier arterials; make nice riding.  Heading south from Downtown, the bridges have bike paths.  Cambie St. Bridge is especially nice, partially because it's south end puts one just a few blocks west of Ontario St.  Follow path around under south end of bridge then cross over 2nd Ave and head east on 5th to Ontario St. 

Ontario goes all the way south, across town, to the Fraser River area.  Stoplights, with special activation buttons for bikes, gets one across busy arterials.  It is really nice.  

After crossing busy Marine Drive, follow Ontario down to industrial area, looks like an alley.  Head east on Kent Ave.

Photo of path near Kent Ave.

Kent takes one all the way to Vancouver city limits at Boundary Road.

Continued below map.

bike vancouver to surrey

Burnaby

Go east on Marine Way (not Marine Dr.) through Burnaby; busy but real good shoulder.  This will bypass Burnaby.

New Westminster

Head up hill past entrance to Queensboro Bridge.  Follow Stewardson way and then find 7 Eleven bike path under Sky train (the elevated railway you will see ahead of you. it curves down from the north.)

Follow 7 Eleven trail across bridge that crosses railroad tracks and puts one down near riverfront.  Bridge is at Third St.

Follow along New West Minster waterfront a ways, then cross back over tracks just before parking garage. 

Head through downtown New West Minster to area above north entrance for Pattullo Bridge.

Pattullo Bridge a big red arch

Find big red arch of Pattullo Bridge ahead (just past cable stayed sky train crossing). 

Head up to bridge deck and sidewalk across Pattullo.  It is on west side of bridge.

Bike paths off south end of bridge

Through Surrey

Off onto 110 Ave. on south side of Sky Train Station and building supply store.  Head east   Rejoin Sky Train path and head up hill. 

Head south along west side of Sky Train stations on Surrey Parkway.

Then, after Sky Train Stations, turn left (a bit east) and get on King George Highway.

Farmlands to border

Follow King George Highway all the way to border.  I just discovered it has a good shoulder until Whiterock.  Then shoulder is a bit rough, but still paved.  This route is a new discovery for me.  King George Highway is broad and traffic is a bit slower than along Hwy. 15.  Just before border, King George enters Highway 99, which turns to I-5 in US. 

At US Customs we don't have to wait in car line

Cross at Peace Arch Crossing.  Find your way across waiting cars to sidewalk by customs building.  Bikes and pedestrians don't have to wait in the car line!

Park bike; walk into office and report to customs.  Door is on east side of building.  You now need enhanced ID, a Nexus Card or Passport.  Sometimes Canadian customs also asks for a copy of your birth certificate when going north. 

Border agents are usually okay about bikes.  If you are not a citizen of the country you are entering, be prepared to answer questions like, "Where will you be staying?"  "When are you planning to return to your home country?"  "How much money are you carrying?"  "Do you have a job in your home country?"  "Any convictions on your record?"  "What is the purpose of this trip?"  They seem to want to make sure you will not become a drain on social services in the country you are entering.  I have found that definite travel and return plans sound good to border guards.  This is if you are either a US, or Canadian citizen.  It may be different for people from other nations. 

In Blaine, exit I-5 and head south on main street called Peace Portal Drive.  Turn left and follow H street all the way to the intersection with highway from truck crossing.

Continued below map.

bike surrey to bellingham

Bypassing Blaine on a zig zag of quiet roads

Find Odell St. which goes behind a commercial area that is just east of the truck route.

South on Odell to Sweet Road.

East on Sweet.

South on Stadevold.

East on Haynie Rd.

South on Valley View to I-5 Birch Bay Lynden Road entrance. 

I-5 Shoulder much better than lousy Portal Way

Then head south on I-5 shoulder.  Yes, it's legal.  Portal Way is an alternative to I-5, but lousy.  No shoulder and fast traffic also.  At least I-5 has a big wide shoulder. 

I-5 shoulder to exit 263 (Portal Way Exit) in Ferndale.

If you have aversion to I-5 cross it to the west and head south on Portal Way.  It has a poor shoulder north of where it crosses I-5.

To Bellingham

Exit at first Ferndale exit.  South on  Portal way to Eaton; or Sumerset then to 2nd Ave. to downtown.

Then head east out Main St. Across Nooksack River.  Head east to Labounty Road, near Haggens Supermarket.  Head south on Labounty.  Cross I-5 to east at Smith Road.  Head south again on Pacific Highway.

At Bakerview Road turn right.  Head south over freeway to Bennett St.

See my bicycle Bellingham page.

Head South on Bennett to Marine Dr.  Then head east into town on Marine which becomes Eldrige.

Eldridge becomes Holly and heads down a small hill. 

Turn left on F Street and then left again on Roeder Ave. by waterfront.  Head east until Roeder becomes Chestnut St. 

East on Chestnut to just past Railroad Ave. 

Right turn down Alley between Railroad and State.  Head south, alley  becomes bike path.  Follow path through Boulevard Park, Or one can  head south on State Street and the Boulevard. 

Photo essay of South Bay Trail.

Ride up south access road for the park.  At top of small hill, turn right just before road reaches Boulavard.  This it 10th.  Follow 10th street for a while and then a bike path again to Fairhaven District.  Jog east 2 blocks to Chuckanut Drive.  Head south just as far as Old Samish Highway, then head east on Old Samish. 

Out old Samish and along lake

Follow out to Lake Samish and along east side of lake.

Down into Skagit Valley

At South Lake Samish exit go under I-5 to old 99.  Take this back way into Alger, WA.

Stay on 99 all the way to Cook Road.  Head west on Cook to Ershing Road.  Head south on Ershing. Cross Chuckanut and continue south on Avon Allen Road.

Cross Hwy. 20

Head east on Hwy. 536 into Mt. Vernon Busy, but good shoulder.

South through Mt. Vernon

Photo of Skagit Valley bulb farms

Bridge across Skagit River. Sidewalk on right side of bridge.

South on 1st in downtown Mt. Vernon; or head 1 block west to street along river.

Keep going south along Cleveland to Blackburn Road.

East on Blackburn to railroad tracks then south out old highway 99

99 is frontage road along I-5; good shoulder all the way to the town of Conway.

Take Highway 534 east to Highway 9.

South on 9 a little ways to find new north entrance for Snohomish Centennial Trail.

Snohomish Centennial Trail

Snohomish County Centennial Trail  to Snohomish, WA.

Everett / Seattle

Continue south into Snohomish after trail ends.  Once downtown one can find bike path along Snohomish River behind downtown buildings on south side of street. 

Cross river on Airport Way, then take Snohomish River Road to S. 3rd Ave. in Everett. 

Go north on S. 3rd to 41st. Street.  Cross  I-5 and then find Interuban Trail heading south.  Or one can ride south on Colby and find Interuban farther south.

Follow Interuban all the way to city of Shorline.  Follow trail signs, it's easy to loose, but trail is real good, if you can stay on it.  Part of the way, trail takes you along 76th Ave. W. in Edmons area. 

After Interuban Trail ends, Meridian Street goes on south into the north part of Seattle a ways in the vicinity of tiny Haller Lake.  From that area, one can branch out into many directions.  


Some Alternate Routes
White Rock Bike Bus Connection

Several Transit Buses are equipped with bike racks.  Not all buses have them and bikes are not taken at every stop.  More information available from BC Translink

From Downtown Blaine, one can take a Whatcom Transit Authority bus to downtown Bellingham for $1.  There is also a "County Connector" bus to Mount Vernon.  Schedules to Blaine are limited with no service on Sundays.  Check transit system web pages for details. 

* Racks above front wheel, on bicycles, can interfere with holder on bus.  Tying holder arm up with bungy cord can work, but it is best not to have a rack above front tire when using the bus.

Cycling through the islands

Many cyclists prefer the longer, but scenic, routes through islands.  One can take several different ferries out to Vancouver Island.  The Tsawwassen Ferry is Vancouver's main connection to Victoria, BC.  It may be a bit hard to get to, from Vancouver, as bikes are not allowed in the tunnel under Fraser River that Highway 99 takes.  Bike rack equipped buses make that connection, or one can go well out of one's way and cross farther east.

Tsawwassen Ferry goes to Swartz Bay about 17 miles north of Victoria.  Then a Washington State Ferry takes off from Sydney, just south of Swartz Bay, or one can go on down into Victoria.  There are several ferry choices from there including one's to Bellingham, Seattle and Port Angeles. 

Washington State Ferries go through the San Juan Islands and end up in Anacortes.  Some people like to island hop.

From Anacortes, Highway 20 can take one south toward Deception Pass Bridge over to Whidbey Island.  There are also several back routes west of 20 that go at least part of the way.

Whidbey Island is 55 miles long.  Highway 20 goes as far as the Port Townsed Ferry near Coupeville.  It has fairly good shoulders, most of the way, but is busy.  A scenic route called West Beach Road is an alternative.  Turn right off 20 at Whidbey Island Navel Air Station (looks like you're going into the base), but keep going west.  Follow roads that zigzag south and west until you are going along the water.  This is a good way to avoid Oak Harbor sprawl.  After one gets to turn off for Fort Ebey State Park, West Beach ends.  One can head east back across Highway 20 and take a back way along the cove into Coupeville.

South of Coupeville, one can take 525 to the Mukilteo Ferry which crosses to an area just south of Everett, WA.  Then there are a few ways to go on into Seattle including the Interurban Bike Route which parallels part of I-5 between Everett and Seattle.

Going via Stanwood

An alternate route, which avoids the more narrow section of 9 north of Arlington, is a bit longer, but nice scenery.  Head south, from Conway, down 530 toward Stanwood.  Then continue through Sylvana and on east to Arlington.  Tulip fields may not be right along this route, but there are some west of Mt. Vernon, in Skagit Delta.  Blooms in part of April.

I-5 Shoulder

Is legal in Washington State except where noted with an "all bikes must exit here" sign.  There is a narrow bridge over Dakota Creek, just south of Blaine.  I-5 crosses Nooksack River by Ferndale.  Shoulder is good going south, but poor going north. 

The freeway becomes illegal after Northwest Avenue exit in Bellingham.  Then it becomes legal again south of Samish Way exit.  There are a few narrow crossings between Alger exit and Cook Road exit.

Then I-5 is illegal crossing Skagit River.  Cyclists use old Highway 99.  The freeway is legal again as far as Marysville where it becomes illegal all the way through Seattle Tacoma metropolitan area.  Bridge across Stillaquamish River has good shoulder going north, but poor shoulder headed south.

Sky Train out of Vancouver

Vancouver's elevated rail line called The Sky Train has its southern terminus in Surrey.  This whisks one out from downtown Vancouver in a futuristic way.  Two bikes are allowed in back set of doors on the back car during non rush hours.  Bike entry is restricted at certain stations due to limited space on some platforms.  Stand by door and hold your bike as trains move.  Sky trains go every few minutes.  More information is available from BC Translink.

Bike Trail under Sky Train

The 7 Eleven Trail, named for 7 Eleven stores, is under the Sky Train most of the way.

It is a little slow and hard to follow as it must stop and cross a lot of surface streets while the Sky Train gets to go over head.


Comments from readers

Hazards of narrow sidewalk on Pattullo Bridge to New Westminster, BC.  Skytrain might be better
alternative across Fraser River.

May 2017.

Folks:

I would like to discuss a near death experiance I had while
riding my bicycle on one of the Fraser river bridges during
a bicycle trip from Bellingham to Vancouver BC.

I am posting this on both the Bellingham and Vancouver reddits because
I feel that this is very important and I wish to prevent any serious
accidents.

This is concerned with the Pattullo Bridge (called the 1A Bridge)
between Surrey and New Westminster.

The bridge has a four of five foot wide sidewalk on the west side,
which is for both directions of bicycle and foot traffic.

On Monday, May 8, I was walking my bicycle westbound on that
sidewalk. I was aboput 1/4 of the way up the incline.

I saw a bicyclist with a home made trailer coming down the grade
at excessive speed. With his trailer, he was giving me only about
1 foot clearance for me and my bicycle (I was still walking my
bicycle).

As he came closer, I could clearly see that he had lost control.
Evidentally his brakes were inoperative and he was trying to slow down
using his foot, but the sole of his shoe was being ripped off.
His rear tire was flat, but was also being ripped off the rim.

Fortunately, there was a gap in the traffic on the outermost
eastbound lane so I had to quickly suspend my bicycle over the
lane while I tiptoed on the very edge of the sidewalk to let
the other bicyclist pass me bye, which he did so by inches.

I then quickly got fully back onto the sidewalk.

Not more than 10 seconds went by and a convoy of semis went
past us, their tires within inches of the edge of the curb.

If this had happened sooner, I would be dead right now.

I discussed this with people in some of the bicycle shops in
Vancouver once I got there later that day. Some of them were
not suprised that this can happen.

What stood out at me and what I feel needs to be brought to
everyone's attention is I was told by the few bicycle shop
which I stopped at was that all of the Fraser River bridges
are just as dangerous.

Can I suggest that with the current condition of those bridges
that perhaps bicycle trailers should not be allowed?

As a Bellingham, Washington resident and a guest of Vancouver,
it is none of my business how Vancouver should address this
problem, but I feel that this message should be repeated in
whatever bicycle clubs and forums there are in Vancouver. I will
try to pass this along also to those in Bellingham.

Most Respectfully,

Mark Allyn
Bellingham, Washington


I wanted to let you know that I did this route 2 days ago and it was great.

I'm a middle aged woman, husband on a trip, young adult sons already out of the nest and I've been painting the exterior of the house.   I decided late Thursday night that I needed an adventure to break up the mundane and cycling to Bellingham came to mind.   Did an hour of research, slept on the idea, woke up and did stuff that was needed to be done then got my bike and myself ready and off I went by 1:30.   My goal was to catch the 9:00 Amtrak back to Vancouver.   It all worked out perfectly.   I took the skytrain from my southeast Vancouver home to King George highway and then followed your instructions all the way down and got to the train station a bit before 7 - easily synced the google maps instructions to the train station off your Bakerview turnoff - all went seamlessly.   I had a nice break in Ferndale and grabbed my first Sonic burger.  

Anyway, I wanted you to know that it was a great adventure for me and just what I needed.   Inexpensive too - for me and my bike to come back on Amtrak was $19.   Amazing deal!   I caught the skytrain back to my neighbourhood and a short cycle back so was ready for bed by midnight . . . and ready for my normal Saturday morning cycling excursion with a bunch of friends.

I don't know if you know about the Pemberton Slow Food ride but a bunch of us did that last Sunday.  It was so fun - we're going to organize more people next time.   We figured maybe 300-500 people would show up but more than 3,200 people of all ages and sizes participate.    So fun and incredible beauty!

Thanks again for posting your instructions.  I'm sure I'll be back to check some of your other routes.

Regards,
BJ


Robert,
I just wanted to extend a very well-deserved thank you for mapping out your route from Vancouver to Seattle. A few weeks ago, I rode your route street by street (Except for a small change), and all I can say is amazing route. You definitely have an eye for picking great views and also excellent roads with good shoulders. I even had a friend (who never rides ever) join me on the trip and he was moved by the beauty of the trip. Some notes I had:

- I changed the route slightly after Bellingham to go down Chuckanut Drive thru Larribee State Park. This was very pretty, though none of those roads have shoulders and are very winding. I assumed youve probably have done this and was just changing up the route a bit to do something new. Chuckanut will also lead to the Tulip Fields in Skagit.

- Riding the I-5 was very interesting but a great way to trim out some of the side roads. Very very fast.

- Centennial Trail was great. However, Interurban Trail was very difficult to follow. As you had mentioned, the signs were often tricky to find and see. It was a fun little game trying to make sure you were on the right path but got old really fast. Eventually, we just found Meridian street (Which the trail ends onto) and that runs North/South all the way to Seattle.

Anyhow, thanks again for the adventure. You were invaluable to it's success!

-Zack


Came across your page giving a detailed bike route from Vancouver to Seattle. I might end up doing this in August, though more likely just a section thereof with the aid of busses and possibly a lift in a friend's car with bike rack.

I want you to thank you for your effort in detailing the routes. it's perfect! As a cyclist, I understand well the difference between biking on a pleasant road or path vs. biking on a highway.  Your detailed instructions will certainly be a help for me, even if I just take the bike for a leg of the trip.

Shiraz
currently in Toronto, Ontario