Author Topic: Olympic Discovery Trail  (Read 968 times)

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Offline Norsman

Olympic Discovery Trail
« on: January 13, 2014, 02:05:43 am »
I hope to use this trail as part of my route from Port Townsend to Cape Flattery. Unfortunately most of the information on the website (http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/index.html) appears to be several years old. Is it worthwhile trying to follow the trail or is it just better to stick to Hwy 101 and 112? My biggest concerns are whether or not the trail is properly marked and the route is paved or a has reasonably hard surface.  I will be riding a fully loaded touring bike so I am not interested in loose gravel surfaces. Thanks for any help.

Offline DaveB

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 08:07:49 am »
You should be able to get up to date info from the Washington State Tourism Bureau. Most state tourist offices have specific bicycle information available.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 10:19:07 am »
Take a look at the printable PDF maps for each section. They give you a description of trail conditions, such as whether it's on road and, where trail, the type of surface. Examples:

http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/trail_maps/downloads/Printable_Map_ODT7.pdf

http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/trail_maps/downloads/Printable_Map_ODT5.pdf


Where the trail has actually been completed, this suggests that it is paved, as do some of the descriptions on the individual PDF maps:

"The trail is a wide, paved pathway designed to multi user standards for bicyclists, hikers, and disabled users, with a 4’ shoulder for equestrians where appropriate."


Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 11:35:08 am »
I've ridden the Olympic Discovery trail many times and it is absolutely worth doing. They seem to extend it a bit every time I end up out there but as of last summer it was paved from Blyn to Port Angeles with a few sections that take you on the road.  The ODT is a rail trail but many of the trestles weren't maintained/rebuilt and the trail can plunge down into river valleys and climb out. No problem really fully loaded but just an FYI that it isn't your 2% grade trail the whole time. There are unpaved "adventure" routes past Port Angeles which I haven't done but I have ran into other cyclotourists who have.  When I rode out to Cape Flattery in 2012 I used the Adventure Cycling Route (Washington Parks) from Port Angeles to the hwy 112/113 intersection and then 112 to the Cape.  The PA to 112/113 is right on the coast, not too trafficked and much better than 101 along Lake Crescent. The dirt ODT runs on the other side of Lake Crescent from what I understand so it is a bit South of taking 112.

Anyway hope that helps. I basically recommend the ODT from Blyn to PA and hwy 112 out to the Cape.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 03:20:17 pm »
I rode it for quite a while coming into Port Angeles back in 2004 and it was great then.  I remember enjoying the combination of woods and coastline.  I'd go for it for sure.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline scottb

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2014, 12:07:35 am »
I took the trail when going around the peninsula this past summer and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I highly recommend it! I agree with everything that Itinerant Harper posted about the route. I picked up a free map along the way from a campground or bike shop or something that was really nice. This is the website for it http://ptbikes.org/maps/. The trail also goes a couple miles west of Port Angeles and ends on a really cool bridge so I recommend that part as well. I stayed at the Lyre River campground along the way and would recommend it as well. It's a free DNR campground. When I was there they had pit toilets and water, but no showers. It was very pretty next to the river, free, and deserted.

Offline Norsman

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2014, 01:50:59 am »
Thank you all for the up-to-date info.  It seems like a trail very much worth doing.  From my reading of the maps and posts the only area that looks suspect to me is getting from Port Townsend to and around the southern part of Discovery Bay.  Is that accurate? If so what route works best?  I have a fair amount of experience riding along busy highways so I am not afraid of them but I would prefer minimizing the time spent on highways without decent shoulders.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2014, 11:46:50 am »
You pretty much are stuck with hwy 20 for the bulk of riding around Discovery Bay.  From Port Townsend you can take the "Larry Scott Trail" which intersects with 20 and then heads west. You can take it a bit further west and then use Discovery Road, but really if you are heading south it's easiest just to ride on 20.  At that point it has a nice shoulder which does fade away as you get further south.  But in my experience as it's downhill most of the way to the intersection with 101 it's fine. Going North is harder but I've done it a few times and it's survivable. 

Once you are on 101 there is a big shoulder all the way to Blyn where you can get onto the ODT.  There are also frontage roads that you can go on and off if you want a break from the traffic.  Old Gardiner Road comes and goes as you make your way up the hill to Gardiner.  I can't vouch for it having the same gentle grade of 101 - you are climbing for a mile or two up from the bay - as I've pretty much just stayed with 101 as it's not that bad and you'll be on the trail soon enough.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 11:48:40 am by Itinerant Harper »

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 12:36:17 pm »
As long as we're on the discussion, one of the best short tours (322 miles) I've ever taken was in 2004 when I went around the Olympic peninsula.  We started in Sequim an rode the ODT to Port Angeles then took 101 all the way through Forks and Aberdeen (where we picked up HWY 12) and then just west of Montesano took West Fork Satsop road to Matlock and from there through Dayton to Hood Canal and then north back to Sequim.  This was a continually spectacular and fun riding.  Cars and trucks were always polite and respectful and locals helpful and friendly.  Even the notorious section that winds around Lake Crescent was no problem.  Just wear bright colors and use a mirror.  Of course, these two rules go for any ride I take.

Anyway, this ride is highly recommended.  Check the forecast first; I took it July 12-15 and it was perfect but you don't want to be out there when a Pacific front moves in.  Been there, done that on beach hikes in the La Push area.
May the wind be at your back!