Experience the Olympic Discovery Trail – Part 2

Port Angeles to the Pacific Ocean

Deborah Anastasi Black is a public relations consultant specializing in results-driven media relations, marketing communication and project management. She focuses her practice on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula region, where she works with clients in the wine, culinary and tourism industries.

Summer is a fantastic time of year for two-wheeled adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re an expert cyclist or simply enjoy riding with the kids on a sunny day, the Olympic Discovery Trail is a great place to take your wheels for a spin. Start with breakfast in historic Port Townsend, peddle through lavender fields in full bloom in Sequim, and meander along coastal shores in Port Angeles. Or if mountain biking is more you’re speed, you’ll want to check out the Adventure Route adjunct to the trail. Along the way, there is plenty of opportunity to stop for a cool drink, take in a scenic attraction, visit a farmer’s market, and more. Extend your trip with an overnight stay at a local campground, hotel or B&B. The Olympic Discovery Trail offers something for everyone!

Yesterday we traveled the trail from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Today our journey resumes in Port Angeles and takes us to the Pacific Ocean.

West Central

The West Central section of the Olympic Discovery Trail is 31.7 miles long, running from Port Angeles across the Elwha River, and continuing to Lake Crescent. Approximately half of the distance is comprised of separated trail; the other half is roadway.

Beyond Port Angeles’ historic downtown, the trail continues out Ediz Hook, a three-mile long sand spit that extends northeasterly into the Strait of Juan de Fuca approximately 15 miles west of the Dungeness Spit, forming the natural harbor in Port Angeles. Orcas and Harbor Seals can be sighted to the north, depending on the time of year.

ODT crossing Elwha RiverThe end of the spit is occupied by the Coast Guard Air Station, which is closed to the public. The Ediz Hook Lighthouse, also located at the end of the spit, helps ships to safely maneuver the surrounding waters.

Retracing the path back to the mainland, the ODT traverses city streets and packed dirt railroad grade to the Elwha River. There it crosses a suspended bridge below a car deck with views of the river and flood plain below.

West beyond the bridge, the trail follows a temporary route toward Lake Crescent and the Pacific Ocean along Elwha River Road to State Hwy. 112. 

ODT Adventure RouteAttraction: Mountain bike enthusiasts will be interested in the Olympic Adventure Route adjunct to the ODT, which can be accessed on the west side of Hwy. 112, one quarter mile past the Elwha River Bridge. The Adventure Route consists of 21 miles of single track and four miles of logging road running from the west side of the Elwha river to the east end of Lake Crescent, offering spectacular views. Intended for hikers and equestrians as well, the terrain is hilly and forested.

There are three additional access points with roadside parking along different segments of the Adventure Route. These include the Joyce Access Road crossing, the Joyce-Piedmont Road crossing and Olympic National Park East Beach Trailhead.

Continuing through the town of Joyce en route to Lake Crescent, the route crosses the Lyre River and enters the Olympic National Park trailhead. This trail follows the route of the Spruce Railroad, which was originally built during WWI to carry spruce logs out of the forest for airplane manufacturing. It follows the north shore of serene Lake Crescent for about four miles, ending at the intersection with Hwy. 101. 

Point of Interest: Historic Lake Crescent Lodge, formerly known as the Singer Tavern, is located on the lake’s south shore. Built in 1914 by Avery and Julia Singer, the lodge was purchased by the National Park Service in 1951. Five of the original rooms in the main lodge are still in use; additional lodging includes 10 cabins and modern motel-style units. The lodge restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from early May to January 1. Recreational activities include hiking, fishing and boating. 

West End

The final 41.6 mile section of the Olympic Discovery Trail, which ends at the Pacific Ocean, is not yet constructed. Those who wish to cycle to the ocean beaches can follow a temporary route along U.S., State and County paved roads to the community of Forks and onward to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean at La Push.

For more information on the Olympic Discovery Trail, visit http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com or call the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce at 360.452.2363.

Washington Bikes has a small supply of Olympic Peninsula bike maps (includes portions of the Olympic Discovery Trail) available. These maps cover the northern peninsula from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Please complete this form if you would like to receive a map set.

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