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Mount Emily Recreation Area (Photo Credit: Gwen Dildine)
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Biking & Cycling

On Two Wheels in Walla Walla

On two wheels is a great way to experience the valley as well as go the distance in the mountains. Walla Walla and surrounding towns are quite supportive of the sport of cycling, and lots of folks have really great ideas about how to expand and enhance road route opportunities.

There are also a decent number of trail options for mountain bikers. Unless you are a seasoned ultra-marathon runner, it can be challenging to reach certain coveted vistas, and a mountain bike is a great way to marry the thrill of the ride with the serenity of the place.

Check out our growing catalog of mountain, gravel, and road opportunities highlighting all the wonderful ways to experience the valley and mountains by way of bike.

Mountain Biking the Blue Mountains

With so many well-maintained roads leading into and around the mountains, there are a variety of ways via roads and trails to create a mountain biking adventure. This is definitely a sport for those who know the mountains; otherwise, stick to marked routes or out and backs.

Spend a few summers gaining confidence and endurance--the effort will pay off. Leave town on an early summer morning, climb into the foothills, ride a forest service road along the ridge, enjoy magnificent views, and then drop back down into the valley as the sun sets.

If only it were that easy, but if it was it wouldn’t be mountain biking. Many trails to scout and write about, and we will definitely gather recommendations from the experts on this one. Hopefully, we all finish the season with intact collarbones.

Photo Credit: Gwen Dildine

Not far from the trailhead of the South Fork of the Walla Walla Trail, Steve is only just beginning to show off his abilities on two wheels. This is a great trail and definitely thrilling to ride. Seeing as that the trail is next to the river, expect rocky conditions and at times steep drop offs.

Gravel Routes Showcase the Foothills

Seemingly endless gravel roads spiderweb through the valley and into the Blue Mountains. While they serve as the lifeline to transporting massive amounts of any number of crops out of the field, the well-maintained gravel routes in the area are truly roads less traveled.

Gravel routes are also four-season fun, and in the winter a headlamp makes an evening ride possible. The routes featured on this site are curated by local experts who want to help you connect with the outdoors.

Cycling the Walla Walla Valley

Perhaps one of the more known outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, cycling is loved by locals and tourists alike. The roads surrounding town are easily accessible and endlessly amazing. The Ride with GPS routes are designed by local experts who have spent many years and pedaled countless miles exploring the valley. They are bundled by area of town as well as points of interest. Each direction out of town has something special and unique to offer, so enjoy the ride!

Bike Shops

There are two local bike shops in town doing great work to champion the sport. Introduced in alphabetical order so not to play favorites, although still a close race, Allegro Cyclery and Bicycle Barn take great care of all of us on two wheels in the valley.

Allegro Cyclery is located downtown on the corner of East Main Street and North Spokane Street and opened in 2005. They take pride in helping everyone, from those who have never clipped in, to folks who just want to wander around town, to race-ready seasoned veterans. They are always so kind to make sure any rented bike is adjusted and ready to ride.

Bicycle Barn is on the east end of town, located at the corner of East Isaacs Avenue and White Street. It is a family-owned business spanning the century opening in 1985. Their selection of all sorts of bicycles is robust. Ready to start riding the local BMX track? They can help you. With loads of accessories and conveniently located next to Livit Coffee Co., it is a full-service bike shop and fun place to hang out.

Both businesses have repair services and organize group rides. Both have a great atmosphere and customer service, so you really can’t go wrong. Leave it to Walla Walla to have two awesome bike shops!

Photo Credit: Gwen Dildine

Perhaps the first ride of the season on this spring morning, the Mill Creek Route heads straight from town, through farmland, over the creek, and into the mountains. The wineries along the way might not quite be open yet, but there are plenty of breakfast spots in town ready to help you recharge.

Events & Resources

Many biking and cycling events are happening around town from road to gravel to mountain. The annual Tour of Walla Walla is always exciting for spectator and rider alike, and Walla Walla Grit is definitely an event that tests both rider and equipment.

Connect with local groups for organized rides, events, and workshops happening throughout the week. Allegro Cyclery and Bicycle Barn run a number of group rides around the valley that take riders on and off pavement depending on preference.

Join a more competitive group to challenge yourself, or take on a recreational ride to unwind from a day at work. In winter months, Bicycle Barn even offers riders the opportunity to train as a group indoors, so between the two shops there is plenty to keep everyone busy. Consider adding these shops to your favorite social media hub to stay up to date on the latest ride announcements.

Both shops are always incredibly helpful, encouraging, and inviting, so don’t hesitate to walk in and ask all your newbie questions. They will get you rolling. On summer mornings, downtown breakfast spots are often full of riders in their gear, clanking to their table, and enjoying a few carbs after a ride. Don’t hesitate to rock your spandex around town--recreate as you are!

If you aren’t quite race ready, there are also quite a few organized rides that happen almost daily. The community is definitely two-wheel friendly, so bring a bike, rent one, or free it from the garage and hit the road (figuratively, of course).

Riding by Rules and Regulations

Since we are relatively new to the mountain biking community, we researched what was expected of us on the trail. This led us to the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) based in Boulder, Colorado.

In 1988 they developed six rules of the trail that encourage riders to ride on open trails, leave no trace, control your bike, yield to others, never scare animals, and plan ahead. Check out the full details at Rules of the Trail. As a fun fact, they are also the organization that started the yield triangle to help all users of trails standardize trail etiquette.

Regarding cycling, the State of Washington considers those on a bicycle a vulnerable user of a public way. Washington does not mandate helmets, but please wear a helmet.

The state does not define which lane riders use, but if slower than the flow of traffic, ride as far to the right as possible. Perhaps of most use is the vehicle detection error law that allows riders to proceed through a traffic signal if that signal fails to respond to the rider.

For more light reading, visit the Washington State Legislature website on the Revised Code of Washington, specifically Chapter 46.61.760. Impress all your cycling buddies with your newfound knowledge.

Gravel Roads

Mountain Trails

A decent number of mountain biking opportunities exist in the Blue Mountains. With two Wilderness Areas in our backyard, sometimes navigating which trails allow for what activities can get tricky. You are in luck--we are constantly studying the maps and hopping on our bikes to give you new, challenging places to explore on two wheels.

Road Routes

The Walla Walla Valley Cycling Map illustrates six named loops covering over 150 miles. These loops take cyclists into the mountains, through our iconic rolling wheat fields, and even across the border into Oregon. Other routes illustrated also show folks everything from convenient in-town routes to expert rides. We've scouted the routes and compiled related information to help you down the road.