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A Centennial Trail Travelogue

A journey from Maryville, WA to Snohomish,WA by bicycle via Lake Cassidy, Lake Stevens, and Machias.

Do you like moving on wheels? Zipping around by virtue of your own power? 

Maybe you roller skate, bike, longboard, run, or walk to feel good and get your steps in. If you do, then, yep: The Centennial Trail is for you. 

It’s 30 continuous miles of paved path that takes you through river country into the heart of the Pacific Northwest. 

I recently traveled a summery stretch of the path by road bike, and I gotta say -– it’s a true trip through PNW paradise. 

Here’s how it went.

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The Centennial Trail has plenty of access points. Meaning you can hop on and off the route regularly to visit the towns that line the path.  

I pedaled my powder blue 1974 Schwinn LeTour onto the path at the edge of the City of Marysville. It was the very start of a summer’s evening and soon I was merrily zipping through a green tunnel of wetland grasses, oaks, and shadowy cedar groves. The pavement was covered in the swirling, snowy fluff of cottonwood in bloom. 

Intermittent views from a ridge opened up to show golden farmland. 

Had I travelled into a portal? Was in a bucolic fairy tale realm?  

I turned up the Fleetwood Mac in my earbuds and shifted gears, moving at cruising speed southward.  

Pure endorphins and vitamin D. 👍

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Lake Cassidy 

About twenty minutes later, the trail forked to a small offshooting path. A boardwalk led through a thicket of willows and pond grasses to a dock. I watched as swallows and red winged blackbirds swooped over lily pads as indigo water lapped at the dock. 

A fisherman cast his line for I’m not sure what. A tiny lake this pristine must have some kind of delicious fish swimming under its surface.  

The evening ticked on in the sound of insect noise and, though it was still plenty light out, the moon appeared at the top of tree snags that held raptors nests. 

I wanted to linger. I could easily linger here. But the path called, so I took a swig of water, and rolled on. 

Dang, I love some Fleetwood Mac. 🚲

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Lake Stevens 

After a brief interval, I began to pass pedestrians, dog walkers, and joggers. The Centennial Trail is a popular exercise route for Lake Stevens folk, who seem to be uniformly athletic, tanned, and clad in modern workout gear. The microculture here definitely skews toward “active.” 

This was also a nice shady segment of the trail, cooled by its proximity to the Pilchuck River and the little streams and creeks that comprise its tributaries. 

I scoped out, in passing, a walk-up coffee stand. That would be a perfect treat for a morning bike ride. Another time. Adios, Lake Stevens.


Ok, honestly? If I had to pick a favorite part of the Centennial Trail, this would be it. It’s hard to describe Machias, because it seems to be more like a feeling. It’s more or less classic farmland with flowers and barns and creeks and horse pasture. It’s calm and quiet, save for the occasional buzzing of overhead powerlines.  

One time my wife and I stopped on this stretch of the trail and saw an actual beaver doing its beaver-y thing in a slow-moving stream under a grove of big leaf maples. It was so impressive that my wife kept exclaiming, “Hey! It’s a beaver!” to passing recreators, who were initially startled, but were then quickly thrilled to see local wildlife up close.

Stay awesome and beautiful-rural, Machias. 

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Snohomish & beyond

The trail ends after winding through the riverside City of Snohomish. Just off the trail is the downtown core of First Street. I rolled past dining spots, farm-to-table restaurants, and microbreweries on the main stretch of this charming town.   

I literally rode into the sunset, traveling to the West. 

You’ll likely want to end your trip here. I kept rolling toward my destination of Everett, proving that there’s much connectivity in Snohomish County for avid road bicyclists. 

Do I recommend the Centennial Trail? Yes. 10 out of 10. There’s even more to the trail than what I explored this time out. One can head north to the Nakashima Barn, past the public statuary of Arlington, and the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River where eagles feast on salmon. 

You probably just have to see it for yourself. 

...ok, you definitely have to see it for yourself. ✨

Based on imagery and features from the Centennial Trail, these editorial illustrations were generated with the assistance of AI.


Downtown Snohomish is where antiques meet boutiques. With a side of boho and wine.

Snoho boho

Don't worry, we've got plenty more bicycling options for your weekend needs.

Let's roll

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