Long-Distance Bicyclists Using the Olympic Discovery Trail
If you plan to ride Highway 101 across the north Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) is an alternative for a large part of the distance. It's generally less hilly than the highway, and certainly more quiet and scenic. The ODT is still unfinished, so here are several advisories to help bicyclists laden with equipment to avoid unnecessary hills, avoid traffic and dangerous areas, to and use the ODT to advantage. All of the instructions here assume you are west-bound.
The Larry Scott Trail All of the trail south of mile point 3.7 (Cape George Trailhead) is presently unpaved and too rough for laden road bikes. Instead exit the trail at mile point 3.0 where it crosses under S. Discovery Road using the trail at the southwest corner. Then take the road to the south to Four Corners (junction with Highway 20). It is recommended that you not use Highway 20 going south to Highway 101, as it is narrow and dangerous. Instead continue across Highway 20 onto Four Corners Road and take that to Highway 19. Take Highway 19 to Chimacum, then Center Road to Highway 104, then take that west to the junction with Highway 101 near Discovery Bay. See Larry Scott Trail page
Discovery Bay to Blyn (Sequim Bay) There are alternatives to riding about half this distance on Highway 101. Soon after leaving Discovery Bay turn right onto Old Gardner Road, which parallels and rejoins 101 at several points, though you will have to ride the highway for part of this section. About a mile after passing the Diamond Point Road use Old Blyn Highway, which will lead you to the ODT.
Blyn (Sequim Bay) to Port Angeles This section of trail is complete and is a very good alternative to the highway, with a possible exception. Westbound, get on the ODT at about Milepost 272, east of Blyn. Hills are easy all the way to Sequim and farther west. Between the eastern side of Morse Creek and Old Olympic Highway, you may want to consider using Highway 101 to avoid several hilly sections on the ODT, which involve crossing stream valleys or where the trail had to deviate from the old rail grade to go around developed properties. Westbound - leave the ODT at mile point 9.5 and follow Old Olympic Highway south to 101 and then use the shoulder to the top of the Morse Creek grade at mile point 5.5. Taking the trail west from this point to Port Angeles is very definitely worthwhile. Eastbound - you will need to cross 101 at Deer Park Road near ODT mile point 5.5 to get to the eastbound shoulder (riding the opposing shoulder is illegal). Then watch for the left turn lane to Old Olympic Highway and follow that to the intersection with the ODT. See Morse Creek to Agnew for details.
Port Angeles to Lake Crescent Unfortunately, it is still necessary to ride the narrow and windy Highway 101 along the south shore of Lake Crescent. Going west from Port Angeles, you should get onto 101 at the junction with Highway 112 and use it past Lake Crescent. The following directions are from the end of the ODT at Hollywood Beach on the Port Angeles waterfront:
PA to 101 In 2011 a pedestrian bridge for the ODT was finished across Dry Creek, and the route shown is now fully paved for road bikes. Through-riders can cross the Dry Creek bridge and take the Lower Elwha Road just west of it south to Edgewood Road and then Laird Road to Highway 101. Or, you could descend via Kaycee Road and the paved ODT to the pedestrian bridge across the Elwha River, cross it and return to 101 via Highway 112. This alternative would involve quite a bit of climbing.
For Highway 101 along Lake Crescent, consider taking the bus from Fairholme to East Beach Road. For a schedule, click here.
West of Lake Crescent The ODT is incomplete in this area except for six miles of paved trail near the west end of the lake. It begins across from the junction of the Sol duc Road and 101 and descends along old rail grade to join the presently unpaved Spruce Railroad Trail. Unless you are riding mountain bikes and prepared for rough terrain and to walk your bike around the closed tunnels, this is a dead end, and you will have to back-track on an unpaved road to rejoin 101 at Fairholm Campground.
Eventually the ODT will use the paved Mary Clark-Cooper Ranch roads, and these are a good, quiet alternative to riding 101 for about ten miles and avoids several narrow bridges on the highway (see State Dept. of Transportation bike route signs). Westbound - take the Cooper Ranch Road across from Klahowya Campground and bear right following the pavement. Eastbound - take the Mary Clark Road just west of the junction with Highway 113.