May is National Bike Month, a great time for a family ride. Michael Frank, executive editor of Mountain Bike, shares his recommendations for car-free, scenic and relatively flat trails with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY
Forest Park -Portland, Ore.
Forest Park is true to its name — and at 5,161 acres, it’s the largest fully forested natural inner city park in the USA. “Enter and you’d swear you’re very far from civilization,” Frank says. “The niftiest way to see the park is via Leif Erikson Drive, an 11.2-mile, relatively flat dirt road that bisects the greenbelt and is shared by joggers, hikers, and cyclists.” 503-823-2223; www.portlandparks.org
Burke-Gilman Trail – Seattle
“The 27-mile Burke-Gilman Trail goes along scenic Lake Washington, and rolls by wineries (Columbia, Chateau Ste. Michelle) and excellent restaurants such as the Herbfarm in Woodinville, ultimately linking up to the East Lake Sammamish River Trail,” Frank says. “The newly opened 11-mile addition offers stunning views of Mount Rainier.” 206-684-4075.
Griffith Park – Los Angeles
This urban park in the heart of the city, home to the L.A. Zoo and the Griffith Observatory, is also rugged enough to harbor wildlife like foxes and deer. “While this isn’t a cyclist’s paradise, it’s a great place for families to ride from attraction to attraction, including several playgrounds, a bird sanctuary, and a merry-go-round,” Frank says. “The best loop runs along Crystal Springs Drive and Zoo Drive, then rolls back along the Los Angeles River and ends on Los Feliz Boulevard near the main entrance.” 323-913-4688.
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