Washington Parks

Washington Parks Sedro-Woolley, WA to Sedro-Woolley, WA 2 Map Set GPX Data | Overview | Buy | Mobile App
1. Sedro-Woolley, WA to Elma, WA Detail
2. Elma, WA to Sedro-Woolley, WA Detail

Double loop route packed with parks, mountains, ocean views.

This double loop, two map section route showcases the diversity of the state of Washington, from its ocean and sound views in the west to the fertile orchards of the central Columbia Valley while traversing three national parks. The beginning and end points are technically Sedro-Woolley and Elma, though the abundance of ferries in and around Seattle allow great flexibility in planning.

Section one of the Washington Parks Bicycle Route begins by heading west (counter-clockwise) out of Sedro-Woolley where the route provides the first opportunity to board a ferry. From Anacortes, the San Juan Islands (Lopez, Orcas and San Juan) are easily accessed via a frequent ferry schedule. The islands are a “must see” for many bicycle tourists, each bearing its own flavor with mostly low-trafficked roads and hilly riding. Back on the main route, the next stop is Port Townsend, a historic seaport with a host of tourist activities from galleries and shopping to dining and quaint bed and breakfasts. Continuing along the coast the route follows the Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles, the gateway to Olympic National Park, which is the first of three national parks on this route. Be sure to leave yourself time to visit the park’s visitor center in town and stretch your legs on one of the many day hike options.

From Port Angeles to Elma it is mostly rural riding with recreational traffic and occasional logging trucks. South of Forks is one of the most scenic areas of the route, with incredible views and ample opportunities to explore the shorelines from the beach parking lots. Once in Elma, you have two options, to head north and finish the loop in Port Townsend via the 110.4-mile Sound Alternate or continue east on section two toward Mt. Rainier National Park for the larger loop across central Washington.

The Sound Alternate is a mostly rural connection back to Port Townsend that includes a spur to Bremerton, with an option for a ferry to downtown Seattle. The Kitsap Peninsula has an active naval base just north of Silverdale. Off route several miles east is the town of Poulsbo. They proudly celebrate their rich Norwegian heritage from the vibrant waterfront park to the shopping district with a wide array of delicious baked goods.

Section two of the Washington Parks Bicycle Route begins in Elma and heads east (counter-clockwise) into the foothills of the Cascades. Eatonville has its roots in the lumber industry. In spite of the closure of the mill in 1942, it continues to grow as a residential community and recreational jumping off spot for the region. Traffic volume increases as you approach Mt. Rainier National Park, especially June through August. As you leave the park, you will crest two mountain passes in rapid succession, Cayuse Pass and Chinook Pass. The grade of these ascents is roughly a steady 5-8%. From here it is mostly downhill to the cities of Yakima and Selah, situated on the Yakima River.

The environment on the eastern side of the Cascades is markedly drier as you follow the Yakima River north to Ellensburg. Continuing north, you’ll traverse Old Blewett Pass (4,071′) before reaching U.S. 2/97. The route then follows the Columbia River where you’ll pass many orchards. At Pateros, you’ll head northeast, then will begin climbing the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. The North Cascades National Park and the Ross Lake National Recreation Area provides multiple opportunities to get off the bike and try a day hike. The route continues on State Route 20 until Marblemount, where local roads are used to avoid heavy traffic. They generally follow the Skagit River to Sedro-Woolley where the loop began.

Photo by Gregg Bleakney

Leaving Sedro-Woolley headed west the route is rolling down to Sequim where it flattens out along the Straight of Juan De Fuca. Heading south from the coast the route will start to roll again with smaller hills. From Elma, the Sound Alternate heading back north begins with a small climb, and then is rolling again back to where it rejoins the main route south of Port Townsend. From Elma headed east on section two, the route gradually starts to climb, culminating in two mountain passes in Mt. Rainier National Park. The route then descends mostly to the Yakima area, before starting to climb along the Yakima River, culminating with Old Blewett Pass south of Cashmere. After a slow descent, the road starts to slowly climb as it follows the Columbia and Methow rivers, topping out at the 5,477′ Washington Pass west of Mazama, before slowly descending along the Skagit River to Sedro-Woolly.

Washington Parks - Main Route
Section Distance Elevation Total Climb Avg. Climb/mile
Total 866.4 miles Minimum: 0 ft.
Maximum:5,460 ft.
46,345 ft. counterclockwise
46,640 ft. clockwise
53 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
54 ft. per mi. clockwise
1 313.9 miles Minimum: 0 ft.
Maximum:800 ft.
15,590 ft. counterclockwise
15,615 ft. clockwise
50 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
50 ft. per mi. clockwise
2 552.5 miles Minimum: 20 ft.
Maximum:5,460 ft.
30,755 ft. counterclockwise
31,025 ft. clockwise
56 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
56 ft. per mi. clockwise
Washington Parks Alternates
Name Section Distance Total Climb Avg. Climb/mi
San Juan Islands Loop 1 25.8 miles 2,040 ft. clockwise
2,025 ft. counterclockwise
79 ft. per mi. clockwise
78 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
Sound Alternate 1 110.4 miles 5,925 ft. north bound
5,875 ft. south bound
54 ft. per mi. north bound
53 ft. per mi. south bound
San Juan Islands Option 1 3.5 miles 155 ft. west bound
180 ft. east bound
44 ft. per mi. west bound
51 ft. per mi. east bound
Lopez Island Loop 1 31.0 miles 2,070 ft. clockwise
2,055 ft. counterclockwise
67 ft. per mi. clockwise
66 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
Orcas Island Out and Back Option (one way) 1 21.4 miles 3,805 ft. north bound
1,415 ft. south bound
178 ft. per mi. north bound
66 ft. per mi. south bound
Seattle Ferry Spur 1 1.5 miles 150 ft. east bound
180 ft. west bound
100 ft. per mi. east bound
120 ft. per mi. west bound
Blewett Pass Alternate 2 13.2 miles 1,105 ft. counterclockwise
1,615 ft. clockwise
84 ft. per mi. counterclockwise
122 ft. per mi. clockwise

This route is best ridden late spring to mid-fall (typically May to October). Due to heavy snow falls, the highway in North Cascades National Park is usually closed mid-November to mid-April though the park remains open with limited access. For an opening date call the Park at (360) 856-5700.

From Port Angeles to Elma, with the exceptions of Forks, Amanda Park and Montesano, services are sparse so be prepared with food and water. Some longer days will also be required if you desire to stay in hotels along this section. Be sure to plan ahead around Mt. Rainier National Park during the summer tourist season. The crowds pick up and reservations are recommended for campgrounds and motels. As a full service town, Ellensburg is a good spot to replenish your supplies and perhaps pick up a spare tube at the bike shop.

Some campgrounds will charge a cyclist traveling alone less if they have hiker/biker sites, but often they will charge the price of a regular tent or RV site, and that can easily be $10-$30/night. If you’re friendly and ask around, you can often get yourself invited to camp in a yard. Our routes sometimes go through national forests (moreso in the west) and you are allowed to camp anywhere on national forest land as long as you “pack it in, pack it out.” Many city parks are free to camp in.

You may also wish to sign up with Warmshowers, a reciprocal hospitality site for bicycle travelers, for other overnight options.

Route Highlights

Washington Parks Highlights

  • San Juan Islands, Section 1
  • Olympic National Park, Section 1
  • Mt. Rainier National Park, Section 2
  • Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Section 2
  • North Cascades National Park, Section 2

More Route Resources


From Anacortes, the Washington State Ferries travel to the San Juan Islands and to Sidney, B.C. Call 888-808-7977 in Washington or 206-464-6400 outside Washington for information. Ferries also run from Bremerton to downtown Seattle. Bicyclists are allowed to roll on ahead of vehicles.

In Washington, U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR) 10 and 97 have been designated. Portions of our route run concurrent with both. For more information see advcy.link/wausbr.

Washington’s northwest coast and its islands are a tourist destination so expect heavier summer traffic, especially on the U.S. and state highways. Our routing avoids SR 20 where possible but you’ll still be riding on sections of it. Whidbey Island has some rolling to hilly terrain. Traffic can be congested near the island’s towns, but is usually light on the smaller county roads.

Heading west to Sequim, U.S. 101 has moderate levels of traffic, but there are 6- to 8-foot shoulders. The Olympic Discovery Trail from east of Sequim to the Elwha River west of Port Angeles is well marked with short sections of city streets and rural roads connecting the trail. There are some sections with steep short hills and one small section of packed dirt. See advcy.link/odtrl for more information. Near and in any national park cyclists will have to contend with higher traffic levels and RV drivers who are inexperienced. To avoid heavy traffic try to ride early in the day and make yourself and your bike visible.

SR 112 and 113 can be difficult cycling due to limited (18” or less) crumbling shoulders and a high number of speeding logging trucks. Using the Clallam Transit system to avoid this situation is a safe option. The buses have bike racks. For more information see www.clallamtransit.com. Rejoining U.S. 101 north of Forks, you’ll encounter moderate traffic but there are wide shoulders. South of Humptulips the route leaves U.S. 101 for smaller county roads to reach Elma.

The 110.4-mile Sound Alternate begins in Elma and continues on maps A – C, ending just south of Port Townsend. This provides a loop with views of the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. Northbound from Elma to Shelton the roads are rural with minimal shoulders and moderate hills. Traffic increases closer to towns.

The route through Bremerton and Silverdale is often on nondivided four-lane roads with high levels of traffic. The 1.5-mile Bremerton ferry spur is best ridden on sidewalks along Burwell St. to reach the ferry dock for the boat ride to downtown Seattle.

Traffic can be heavy on the short section of SR 3 immediately south of the Hood Canal Bridge, and also on the bridge itself. The two-lane bridge has 8-foot shoulders and is subject to crosswinds. There are several sections of bridge deck grating but you can ride to the far right to avoid these.

From the bridge north to Port Townsend the route is rolling to hilly on narrower roads with moderate traffic.

In the San Juan Islands, reservations are strongly advised, especially in the summer. The islands are popular and accommodations are in high demand.

On the 25.8-mile San Juan Island Loop the route is mostly rural with gently rolling terrain. Traffic can pick up around Friday Harbor, but is light to moderate elsewhere.

The Lopez Island Loop is 31 miles. When arriving by ferry, the first section of roadway can be busy with traffic. Bicyclists generally disembark the ferry before vehicles. It’s a good idea, however, to wait until all of the cars depart so the road clears. The route travels mostly on rural roads with light traffic, though traffic becomes heavier around Lopez Village.

Leaving the ferry on the 21.4-mile Orcas Island route, the road heads uphill immediately with little to no shoulder. This island has the most challenging terrain of the three. The hills are bigger and the climbs are longer with minimal flat terrain.


Washington’s climate is mild and climatic elements combine to produce a predominantly marine-type climate. Summers are cool and comparatively dry. Winters can vary around the Olympic National Park from the relatively dry, to the wettest section of the continental United States. The wet season begins in October, reaches a peak in winter, then decreases in the spring.

Updated: Apr 7, 2020


The roads from Elma to Tenino are generally quiet up to the trailhead for the 14.5-mi. paved Yelm-Tenino Trail, advcy.link/y-ttrail. It parallels SR 507. Just west of Rainier, it intersects the Chehalis Western Trail which will take you to the eastern outskirts of Washington’s capital, Olympia. For information see advcy.link/c-wtrail.

Keep in mind that visibility is considerably lessened during rainy and/or foggy periods. As you approach the foothills of the Cascade Mountains east of Yelm, traffic will become moderate through Eatonville all the way through Mt. Rainier National Park. Near and in any national park cyclists will have to contend with higher traffic levels and RV drivers who are inexperienced. To avoid heavy traffic try to ride early in the day and make yourself and your bike visible.

Snow can fall as late as May and June, and as early as September and October. For current road conditions during those months, check with Mt. Rainier park headquarters, 360-569-2211. Campground reservations are highly recommended from late June to early September. The passes through the park are generally steady at a 5-8% grade.

Traffic will continue to be moderate east of the park. From Naches to Selah you’ll ride on 14.2 miles of the paved Yakima Greenway Trail, advcy.link/yakgreenwaytrl. Just north of Selah, the route dips into a deep and wide canyon along the Yakima River. North of Ellensburg, the road over Old Blewett Pass has areas of deteriorating pavement so ride carefully. The Blewett Pass Alternate is 3.5 miles longer than the main route. It has shoulders and carries heavy traffic.

U.S. 97 north of Ellensburg to west of Cashmere carries heavy traffic. The orchard roads from here to the Columbia River outside of Wenatchee are typically quieter, except during the harvest months of late summer. At the Columbia River, heavier traffic returns as the route heads north on U.S. 97 Alt. The highways from Wenatchee through Chelan and Pateros are busy but have adequate shoulder widths. SR 153 is a country road with no shoulder and occasional fast moving traffic.

U.S. Bicycle Route (USBR) 10 has been designated and is being signed in Washington. From Twisp to Sedro-Woolley, portions of our route run concurrent with it. Be aware that signs can be damaged, stolen, or otherwise missing so you can never rely totally on following signs. For more information see advcy.link/wausbr.

In general, the remaining route parallels SR 20 whenever possible. Many stretches of SR 20 have no shoulders, but in most places the highway is wide. Watch out for logging trucks on the smaller side roads. Due to heavy snowfalls, the North Cascades National Park is only open to through traffic on SR 20 between late April and late November. For exact dates, see advcy.link/SR20mtnpasses or call the North Cascades Highway Hotline at 360-707-5055.

After climbing Washington and Rainy passes from Mazama, it is mostly a gentle downhill west of the Cascade Mountains to the Skagit River and Sedro-Woolley. Road surfaces are generally good.

The Cascade Trail runs 22.5 miles between Concrete and Sedro-Woolley and can be ridden as an alternate. The surface is crushed rock. For more information see advcy.link/cascadetrl.

All known Amtrak stations are listed on this map but not all stations provide bicycle service. Check if bicycle service is provided at both the starting and ending stations on your trip using the spreadsheet and other trip planning resources at advcy.link/amtrak.


Western Washington’s climate is mild and elements combine to produce a predominantly marine-type climate west of the Cascade Mountains. Summers are cool and comparatively dry and winters are mild, wet and cloudy. The wet season begins in October, reaches a peak in winter, then gradually decreases in the spring.

Conditions in the Cascades vary markedly with elevation. However, one generalization can be made: the western slopes are wetter. When moisture-laden winds from the Pacific are deflected upward – first by the Olympic Mountains, then the Cascades, – the air cools and releases virtually all its moisture. There is little precipitation left for the eastern slopes.

The climate of the high plateau east of the Cascades is characterized by cold winters and hot summers. May and June rains are followed by hot, dry weather. The rain that falls on this high plain during the summer usually comes in short, violent thunderstorms.

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Updates to Recently Released Maps

If you are planning a bike tour, be sure to get the most recent map updates and corrections for your route by selecting the route, and the appropriate section(s), from the drop-down menu below.

Over time maps become less useful because things change. Every year Adventure Cycling’s Routes and Mapping Department create map updates and corrections for every map in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, which now totals 52,047 miles. With the help of touring cyclists like you, we receive updates on routing, services, camping, and contact information. Until we can reprint the map with the new information, we verify the suggested changes and publish corrections and updates here on our website.

PLEASE NOTE: Covid has been particularly hard on the small businesses along our routes. While we do our best to keep the maps and these online updates current, you may encounter more closed businesses and longer stretches with limited or no services.

Refer to these updates for the most current information we have and submit reports of changes to the Route Feedback Form for the cyclists coming after you.

NOTE: Map updates and corrections only pertain to long term changes and updates. For short term road closures, please see the Adventure Cycling’s Routes Temporary Road Closures discussion in our Forums.