I've been hearing and reading about Seattle's Colonnade Bike Park for a while now, but haven't had a chance to take my bike to the park. One of the main reasons it took me so long to visit the park was the park's reputation of being not "beginners friendly".
Originally, I-5 Colonnade Bike Park was designed as a mountain bike skills park with a wide range of Technical Trail Features (TTF). Located directly under I-5 HWY , this park focuses not on mileage ( as it's only 2 acres in size), but rider experience and progression of one's skills.
Though, the park has a novice area ( the Tqalu Trail ), from what I saw , the park is more geared towards intermediate and advanced riders.
Steep rock chutes, jumps, berms, long and narrow elevated skinnies forced me to stay primarily in 1-2 spots ( the Tqalu Trail and pump track). The lack of signs, directions, and only one map made it difficult to find my way around the park ( except for a few warnings and blue/black diamonds). An off-leash dog area( which is right in the middle of the park (!?), for some dog owners starts at the park entrance, making their dogs "another TTF" for bike riders.
Other than that, I had a great time at the park ! Each section of the park was designed so that a mountain biker could ride those features hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. That exactly what I did. Sticking to just novice area and pump truck, I broke some serious sweat, and didn't even notice how two hours went by.
My ultimate goal is to gain experience and build courage to do more technical stuff, rather than just riding single track. Though, Colonnade can not be compared to Duthie Hill Park, it could be a great alternative on a rainy day, or if you don't feel like driving for 45 min for a 20 min bike ride.