Ride Guide: West Seattle, Fauntleroy, and Vashon Ferry

Bike ride from montlake to lincoln park

If you’ve been keeping up with our Seattle Ride Guides, you may have followed along as we set out on our last bike route through Ballard. This time, we’re pushing southwest from Montlake toward West Seattle to the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal, where riders can take in Elliott Bay views or opt to sail onward to Vashon Island.

This 34-mile route (not including an optional ride on Vashon) features some varied terrain and moderate traffic, though it predominantly follows bike lanes, bike paths, or other established bike corridors. And, of course, you’ll encounter plenty of urban parks and trails plus food and beverage pit stops.

Get on your bike, take a spin on one of our bike rentals, and consult our guide as you prepare to discover what makes the route to West Seattle, Alki Beach, and Vashon Island so special.

1. Begin at Montlake Bicycle Shop and travel east on E Lynn St toward Washington Park Arboretum. Turn right on 26th Ave E and continue to follow parallel to Seattle Japanese Garden — worth a visit in itself (reopens in the spring; adult admission is $6). If hunger strikes as you approach E Madison St, don’t miss Cafe Flora for a fan-favorite vegetarian and vegan menu (hint: this is an especially good stop for brunch to fuel up for the rest of your ride!).

2. Just south of E Madison St, 26th Ave E turns into Martin Luther King Jr E. Hang a right at E Arthur Pl and follow as it becomes 27th Ave E.

3. Turn left on E Spring St before taking a right and following Martin Luther King Jr Way. Especially on a day with mild weather, Powell Barnett Park is an ideal place to pause for a breather, to relax in the grass and soak up some sun, or for a quick way to cool down in the wading pool.

4. Take a right at S Jackson St as you approach the Central District west of Leschi. Microbrew enthusiasts may justify another stop at the Standard Brewing tasting room for a quick refresher. However, if you have room left for a small lunch, consider saving that appetite for the next neighborhood: the International District.

5. It’s true — the International District is home to Seattle’s best global cuisine, all concentrated within a few blocks. While you can easily ride through the neighborhood and enjoy a great meal at many of the area’s sidewalk cafes, if you prefer to do a little research ahead of your ride, you’ll find plenty of International District food and drink guides such as this one from Eater Seattle.

6. Continue along S Jackson St through the International District and Pioneer Square neighborhood, then turn left onto the Elliott Bay Trail on the west side of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

7. Follow the Elliott Bay Trail as it merges with Alaskan Way S and E Marginal Way S along the waterfront. Cross the Duwamish Waterway via the West Seattle Bridge Trail, and continue along this trail until you see signs to join Alki Trail. You’ll then continue to follow Alki Trail, which runs parallel to Harbor Ave SW, as you work your way along the West Seattle waterfront.

8. As you approach the Alki Ave SW side of the trail just around the bend, you’ll have access to several beaches and parks with some of the best Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay viewpoints, including Seacrest Park, Luna Park, and Hamilton Viewpoint Park. Don’t miss these locations before working your way toward Alki Beach. Of course, once you do arrive at Alki Beach, this is another must-see spot with plenty of places to eat, drink, or lounge.

9. Catch more views, this time across the sound to Bainbridge Island, at the scenic Alki Point Lighthouse. Next, forge onward to follow Beach Dr SW all the way through Lincoln Park. You’ll end your ride by turning right at Fauntleroy Way SW as you arrive at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. Bonus: hop the ferry to Vashon to extend your ride and enjoy the island shops and scenery!