Olympic Discovery Trail
Ever wanted to explore the Olympic Peninsula by bike? There’s a trail for that! The Olympic Discovery Trail, a combination of designated bike paths and shared roads, traverses 230 miles of lush, verdant farmland and forests, all while in the shadows of snow capped coastal mountains.
Beginning in the historical and high-energy city of Port Townsend, wind your way westward past bays and inlets, sand spits and nature preserves. In one of the most unique combinations of landscapes in the country, pedal past endless lavender fields, wade in tide pools, and keep an eye on the mountaintops of Olympic National Park standing guard to the south. As you push toward the coast, you’ll be transported to the U.S.’s only temperate rainforest, where green, mossy hikes will direct you to the drama and turbulence of the iconic rocky beaches of La Push.
"Cycling just gets better and better as you get older."
Day 1. Port Townsend to Dungeness County Park, 43 miles
Meet your group bright and early just north of Port Townsend’s quaint (but very active!) ferry terminal. After an orientation, hop onto the Olympic Discovery Trail and be led out of town, skirting both Discovery Bay and Sequim Bay. As you approach the town of Sequim, keep your eyes peeled for lavender farms and roadside stands selling all manner of fruits and flowers. Head north on the trail out of Sequim toward Dungeness County Park, which is home to the country’s longest sand spit, housed within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. After setting up your tent, take an evening walk along the spit and watch for otters, harbor seals, and shorebirds. Don’t forget to look over your shoulder to the south, where the Olympic Mountain range will be lit up by the setting sun.
Day 2. Dungeness County Park to Port Crescent, 36 miles
Ride out of Dungeness past the sand dunes and back to the smooth pavement of the trail. Soon you’ll be enveloped by a forested tunnel, which will break to your right for some stunning waterfront riding outside of Port Angeles. Tonight we’ll stay at Salt Creek Recreation Area, which sits above its own perfect piece of jagged shoreline and tidepool-strewn beach.
Day 3. Port Crescent to Sappho, 30 miles
Today the trail will take us south toward the beautiful shores of Olympic National Park’s Lake Crescent. Pedal the length of the lake’s northern shore and maybe stop for a quick swim at the Park Service’s Fairholme Campground. There are also kayaks for rent and a small country store that makes for a nice lunch location. After soaking up the beauty of Lake Crescent, continue on down the trail to the town of Sappho, which will serve as home for the night.
Day 4. Sappho to La Push, 34 miles
On our last day, we’ll swap the Olympic Mountains for the beach! The trail will transport us to the junction of Highway 101, which winds past the town of Forks and pushes westward to the coast. There will be plenty of time to hike the short, forested trails to the iconic scenes of First, Second, and Third Beach. Watch waves crash around the unique rock formations that dot the beach as you eat a final picnic lunch together as a group. We’ll hop in the van and take a final ride back to Port Townsend to complete our successful traverse of the Olympic Peninsula.