Whether your kids can barely balance on the seat or you wish you couldpersuade them to keep their wheels on the ground, Issaquah’s Duthie Hill Park has a mountain biking trail for them — and you. As one of the country’s first progressive mountain biking parks, the easiest trails are designed for the most novice rider, and they build up to expert trails from there. Each trail takes about 10 to 15 minutes to ride and meets back up in the central clearing, making it easy for families with varied abilities to split up.
“I’ve learned a lot of life lessons on a mountain bike,” says Kat Sweet, who runs Sweetlines Mountain Bike Coaching (which includes camps for kids), on why the sport is beneficial. “It gets them out into the forest, pushes them mentally and physically. It’s a challenge, but fun at the same time. An adrenaline rush, pushing boundaries, trying new things.” She runs camps at Duthie because the park allows kids to learn in a safer area, then take new skills to the trails to apply them.
Bryan Rivard of Evergreen Mountain Biking Alliance echoes the sentiment: “Kids don’t get bored here — they can move on to more and more difficult skills.” He suggests starting with the Bootcamp run — the easiest of the trails, which welcomes even total beginners. “We have 2-year-olds and 80-year-olds,” he says, of the park’s more than 100,000 annual visitors.
Rivard and Sweet both suggest starting with a skills clinic — which Sweetlines and Evergreen both offer — though Rivard says that if you can ride on a road, you can ride Bootcamp. For families who are interested but nervous — or looking to test some bikes before spending money — June10 & 11is Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Festivalat Duthie, with fleets of bikes to try, pump track races and guided rides. Later in June, check out Sweetlines's all-girls Sugar Showdown with coaching, classes and competitions for those who want to improve their riding skills and have some fun.