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Bike hard, eat hard: Take a bite out of Snohomish County’s Centennial Trail


By Taylor Goebel, Everett DailyHerald

I love a good sweaty bike ride as much as a post-good-sweaty-bike-ride meal.

So when the sunshine and warm weather (finally) arrived in Snohomish County this summer, I knew I needed an excuse to ride my bike during work hours.

Enter the Centennial Trail, or more specifically, where you can find good food and drink after huffing and puffing down this 30-mile path.

The stretch of the trail between Snohomish and Arlington is a choose-your-own-adventure, with plenty of towns, trailheads and eats peppered throughout.

There are far too many stops to include in this list, which is more reason to get out there and explore.

If you plan to stop at one (or three) breweries, guzzle a large milkshake, and/or inhale a burger like a competitive eater, I suggest waiting until the end of your journey to indulge.

Grab a refreshing strawberry lemonade from the coffee stand adjacent to Nutty’s Junkyard in Arlington. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Grab a refreshing strawberry lemonade from the coffee stand adjacent to Nutty’s Junkyard in Arlington. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Snohomish

If you decide to start south at Pilchuck Trailhead (5801 S. Machias Rd.), you’re in for several treats.

Start your adventure with a gooey cinnamon roll or flaky croissant from Snohomish Bakery a few blocks down from the trailhead (their cafe also serves up hot breakfast dishes like challah French toast and quiche). For the gluten-free crowd, walk across 1st street to Grain Artisan Bakery for a sweet or savory scone (their sweet potato and feta spiced scone is Taylor-approved).

Finishing your ride in Snohomish? The aptly named Trails End Taphouse & Restaurant is right off Centennial and a go-to for a beer and classic comfort food like pulled pork sandwiches and hearty salads. Their loaded potato chips (all the toppings of a baked potato but in crunchy chip form) look especially fun.

For a quick cheesy bite, I’ve heard good things about Piccola’s New York-style pizza. And while we’re on the dairy train, you mustn’t miss Snohomish Pie Company’s Piescream sundaes.

Just want a beer? Head to Audacity Brewing for a great way to end your ride. This family-owned brewery was highly recommended by one of my coworkers, who called their beer some of the best he’s had in the area.

Cider lovers shouldn’t miss Hammered Dwarf Cider: They specialize in drier, more complex ciders and have a barrel aging program. Their current taproom list includes lychee-infused Witchy Litchi, rye barrel-aged Thorrikk’s bil-blueberry and their Manchurian Crabapple (Ringing in at 12.5% ABV, I recommend going easy on this last one)

About 3.5 miles north of Pilchuck Trailhead, SnoTown Espresso is a great pick-me-up for a caffeine-fueled ride, or a nice coffee stop while on a morning walk.

About 23 miles northbound along the Centennial Trail, you’re rewarded with views of the Stillaguamish River. Grab food from one of several eateries in downtown Arlington and stop here for a relaxing lunch break. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

About 23 miles northbound along the Centennial Trail, you’re rewarded with views of the Stillaguamish River. Grab food from one of several eateries in downtown Arlington and stop here for a relaxing lunch break. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Lake Stevens

Another great area to start (or end) your Centennial journey, Lake Stevens boasts doughnuts, brews, tacos and more.

You can park here too, at either 3651 127th Ave. NE or 13205 20th St. NE.

Lake Stevens Donuts is known for its fun, classic flavors and fluffy doughnuts. I ordered one filled with raspberry jam and had no regrets over the tart-sweet combo. Make sure you arrive early: Their bestsellers go fast.

A few doors down, Biscuit & Bean serves up buttermilk and cheddar-green onion biscuits (I’d also order a spread: They serve maple butter, tomato jam and more) along with Seattle-based Fulcrum coffee.

If you’re continuing north on the Centennial Trail, I recommend grabbing any of the above and riding up to Lake Cassidy, at about Mile 11.5 (northbound). It’s right off the trail, perfect for stretching your legs and enjoying an old-fashioned doughnut with peaceful water views off the dock.

For a heftier breakfast or brunch, head to Fuente De Cafe for savory huevos rancheros, chilaquilas, stuffed torta or, for the sweet-toothed, their popular sweet fruit crepes.

End your day at Lake Stevens Brewing Company, which opens mid-afternoon and has outdoor seating (in case you’re smelling a bit ripe). Go light with their Regatta Guava wheat ale and Lakeside blonde or heavy with their Astro Nut peanut butter porter. My personal post-bike choice would be their Carolina Creeper chile beer. If you’re hungry, they have a food truck onsite several days a week, so check their Facebook page for a full schedule.

Marysville

To note, while you can park at Getchell Trailhead (8318 Westlund Rd., Arlington) or Rhododendron (10911 54th Pl. NE, Lake Stevens), Marysville is not located right off the trail, so it would be a trek to ride into town.

However, if you choose to end your trail adventure here, I suggest driving in to town for my favorite post-trail treat: A smoothie, namely from Spoon & Straw. The downtown Marysville’s colorful acai bowls, smoothies and more are as nourishing as they are refreshing.

Just across the street is 5 Rights Brewing for the hop-minded crowd.

Arlington

If you started in Snohomish, your hard work will pay off 20+ miles north in Arlington.

Nutty’s Junkyard is literally right off Centennial Trail (around Mile 21 going north) and promises a delicious, buckle-loosening meal with burgers (they use Double R Ranch beef), milkshakes and some of the crispiest onion rings I’ve ever had. Honestly, it’s like eating an onion-stuffed potato chip. It also comes with their house sauce, which tasted like a mix of mayo and barbecue sauce. An excellent combination.

Stop by Nutty’s Junkyard, located right off the Centennial Trail in Arlington, for juicy burgers and the crispiest onion rings that food reporter Taylor Goebel has ever tried. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Stop by Nutty’s Junkyard, located right off the Centennial Trail in Arlington, for juicy burgers and the crispiest onion rings that food reporter Taylor Goebel has ever tried. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

For something more refreshing, grab a strawberry lemonade from the coffee stand right next to Nutty’s.

Oh, and you’ll know you’re at Nutty’s once you spot a big red barn of a building. Sit inside for that rustic Americana atmosphere, or catch some sun at one of the picnic tables outside.

Once you get into town, Glory Bucha will cool down your insides better than any AC unit could with its craft kombucha. I loved the Berry Mix-a-Lot with strawberries, blueberries and black tea. But I’ll leave the gushing to one especially enthusiastic Glory Bucha customer, who wrote, “I felt my soul leave my body. It had me gripping the walls it was so good.”

Located close to Centennial Trail, Stilly Diner in Arlington promises a satisfying post-ride brunch. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Located close to Centennial Trail, Stilly Diner in Arlington promises a satisfying post-ride brunch. Taylor Goebel / The Herald photo

Arlington also boasts my favorite kind of eatery: Diners. Go to Stilly or Blue Bird for that classic, plate-sized pancake and rib-sticking omelet experience.

Hammond Bread Company is a brilliant new edition to downtown Arlington: From gourmet cupcakes and cookies, to cinnamon rolls (a customer favorite) and fresh bread, I can’t think of a better way to start or end a long bike ride with carbs.

Grab your meal to go and chill at Legion Memorial Park, or ride a couple miles north and relax at my favorite part of the trail, along the Stillaguamish River. Looking north, you have a gorgeous river to your right and beautiful countryside to your left. Plus, you can learn if you’re ready for an eruption.

Once you drive north from Arlington, there’s not much in the way of food for the last eight or so miles of the trail (other than a general store), but the north trailhead is a lovely place to stretch your legs, enjoy the peace and quiet, have a picnic or walk around the grassy area.

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