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 bike and road cycling opportunities highlighting all the wonderful ways to experience the valley and mountains by way of bike.
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.
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.
Perhaps one of the more known outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, cycling is loved by locals and tourists alike. Our Road Routes page compiles all sorts of information regarding what to expect, a narrative of the six main routes identified on the Walla Walla Valley Bicycle Map, information about where to find a group ride, events, and more. As part of the information shared about the road routes, we are working on detailed galleries and video of the main routes, expanding our coverage to other more popular rides, to give cyclists a sneak peek of various options. Call it a scouting report. The Road Routes page is unique to the site, built especially for the cyclists, and we are working diligently to add additional resources we think you will love.
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. 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). The Walla Walla Valley Cycling Map highlights loops of interest, mileage, and elevation change. Visit our Road Routes section for tons more information. If you don’t have a bike or can’t travel with one, don’t worry. Local shops have a robust inventory of equipment for rent. With plenty of sunny days, biking the Blues or cycling the valley is a great way to experience the area.
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.
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. Opening in 2005, Allegro Cyclery takes pride in helping bikers to cyclists, from those who have never clipped in, to folks who just want to wander around town, to race-ready seasoned veterans. We rent mountain bikes from Allegro Cyclery, and they are always so kind to make sure the bike is adjusted and ready to ride. It never fails that someone invites me on a group ride before we leave the shop, and one of these days I just might take them up on it (they might take that offer back when I tell them I’ve ridden home from work with my handlebars backwards). The point is--all are welcome. Bicycle Barn is on the east end of town, located at the corner of East Isaacs Avenue and White Street, and is family owned since 1985. This is Steve’s go-to BMX shop, and their selection of all sorts of bicycles is robust. Both businesses have repair services and organize group rides. Both have a great atmosphere and customer service, so you really can’t go wrong.
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.