Hidden Gems of Bainbridge Island

Destination: Chilly Hilly Route
Mileage: 29.38 miles
Trailhead: Ferry terminal on Bainbridge Island, WA
Elevation: Sea level to 144 feet (Note! Total ascent 2,136 feet)

Not sure I’d call these hidden nor gems, but if you want hills, Bainbridge Island has them! Compass and I took the ferry over and rented a road bike for me at Classic Cycle and then set off to conquer the hills along the Chilly Hilly route.

Elevation profile

During my latest trip to the Pacific Northwest, I was hoping to get a better idea of the undulating topography for my big ride around Lake Tahoe. In addition to learning a few hilly lessons we found some hidden gems around the island.

I can’t speak for the rest of the island, but the Chilly Hilly route was full of these little shelters. Under one shelter we found a tiny trampoline, so naturally we had to stop for a jump shot!

Bainbridge shelter and Fay Bainbridge State Park

With the goal of keeping my calorie intake up, we stopped at Fay Bainbridge State Park for a snack with scenery. The sweeping view did not disappoint. We road down the hill to the beach and found a nice perch on a drift log looking out to Puget Sound, far-off Downtown Seattle, and Mount Rainer looming in the distance as always. Be forewarned though, the climb out of the park burns half the calories you just took in.

As we turned west we found the inspiration for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I can’t prove that, but it was another great photo opportunity. To learn this history of what is officially known as Frog Rock visit waymarking.com.

Mr. Toad, Rockaway Beach, hilly sign

Toward the end of our ride we made a steep descent on Halls Hill Road. While my quads were busy celebrating that we weren’t climbing the hill, I almost missed an amazing view of Downtown Seattle from a little beach at the bottom of the hill. Good find Compass!

At the end of our ride we stopped at Harbor Public House for what Sunset magazine claimed as the best fish and chips in the world. I enjoyed the restaurant, I thought the fish was delightful, but as a frequent French fry consumer, I must say the “chips” leave something to be desired.

Among the hidden gems, I also discovered I need to invest in wrap around glasses so I’m not crying on every downhill and starting on a steep hill is hard! But thankfully, not impossible. Start with the more gradual slopes and work your way up to the steeper starts.

If you’re venturing to Bainbridge Island to test your quads on the Chilly Hilly route I have two notes. I suggest walking or biking onto the ferry rather than taking a car – it’s cheaper and less stressful, both trips we were too close to the cutoff capacity for comfort. Second, the map provided on the website above or by the bike shop is a good overview, but doesn’t mention some of the smaller roads you need to take. Monitor your progress with a smartphone app or have a good sense of direction and be ready for an adventure.

Thank you to Compass for the photos!!

One gear closer!

One response to “Hidden Gems of Bainbridge Island

  1. Pingback: America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride: And Then There Was One | Trails' Guide·

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