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Olympic Discovery Trail

What is the Olympic Discovery Trail?

Olympic Discovery Trail Photo, at Robin Hill Farm County Park

Olympic Discovery Trail in Robin Hill Farm County Park

The Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) is planned as a non-motorized, multi-user transportation/recreational trail system that will span over 120 miles beginning in Port Townsend, Washington and passing through the Cities of Sequim, Port Angeles and Forks to arrive on the Pacific coast near LaPush, Washington.  The ODT follows portions of the now defunct Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad right-of-way. The trail passes over historic railroad trestles, through productive agricultural land, and along portions of the saltwater coastline known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Trail users will pass through peaceful residential and wooded areas, as well as deep forest and spectacular Lake Crescent as the trail goes farther west.

Over 30 miles of continuous paved trail is complete between Ediz Hook in Port Angeles and Blyn near the eastern Clallam County line, accommodating hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians (equestrians only allowed on county-administered portions of the trail, not inside Port Angeles or Sequim city limits).  There is an additional six miles of hard pack gravel trail in Jefferson County starting in Port Townsend with a current end point at Four Corners on SR 20.  Planning is underway in Jefferson County to extend the trail approximately six miles further south to bring the trail to Discovery Bay where the route will turn westward to connect to the Clallam County segments. Bicycle users can travel between Discovery Bay in Jefferson County and the eastern Clallam County line utilizing two segments of Old Gardiner Road which begins on the west side of Discovery Bay and parallels US 101 until it reaches the east Clallam County line.  There is a 1.5 mile break in Old Gardiner Road that is occupied by US 101 where bicycle users must currently utilize the shoulders of the highway.

Over 22 miles of trail are completed connecting the communities of Port Angeles and Sequim, with 12 miles of this portion of the trail administered and maintained by Clallam County.  The 5 mile trail between Sequim and Blyn (Jamestown S'Klallam tribal campus) is also complete as far as Blyn Road.  Old Blyn Highway can be utilized for an additional mile but the last 1.5 miles within Clallam County currently utilizes the shoulders of US 101 to connect to Old Gardiner Road in Jefferson County. 

As the ODT leaves the Port Angeles waterfront heading west the bike lane climbs Hill Street and continues on city streets to the trail at the intersection of Milwaukee Drive and 18th Street W. The trail follows the former railroad grade to Lower Elwha Road where the trail crosses the 200 foot long Dry Creek pedestrian bridge and paved trail for the last 2 miles to the new Elwha River Bridege. From this point to Lake Crescent, travelers have a choice of following state and county roads or using the Adventure Route.

The County has developed a trail route known as the Adventure Route of the Olympic Discovery Trail beginning just west of the SR 112 bridge over the Elwha River which continues 26 miles to Lake Crescent where it ties into the well known Spruce Railroad Trail to travel an additional 4 miles west along Lake Crescent.  This portion of the trail is more of a wilderness trail suitable for equestrians, mountain bicycles and hikers.  This route of the Olympic Discovery Trail is 3 foot-wide with a natural tread and gravel surface.  Road bicycles are not appropriate on the Adventure Route.  The Adventure Route provides non-motorized access between the Elwha River and Lake Crescent for equestrians, mountain bicycles and hikers while the future long term route of the Olympic Discovery Trail is planned, acquired and constructed between the new Elwha River Bridge and Lake Crescent over the next ten year time span.

Farther west at Lake Crescent, the ODT extends the Spruce Railroad Trail another 6 miles to the top of Fairholme Hill. The first 4 miles of trail are in the process of reconstruction, which will include paving and refurbishment of 2 railraod tunnels and removing two very primitive tunnel bypass trails. The last 6 miles of this segment have recently been constructed and paved. This segment ends on US Highway 101 just opposite the Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. This new trail will accommodate multiple user groups including wheelchair users through the provision of an 8 foot wide paved surface and a four-foot wide gravel surface for equestrians.

Up and coming:  The new trail segments to be constructed west of Fairholme Hill in the near future include creating trail connections to the Mount Muller Trail, a crossing of the Sol Duc River and new trail constructed accessing the new USFS trailhead at Cooper Ranch Road near the Klahowya Campground.   Trail users can continue west from Klahowya utilizing the very low traffic volume Cooper Ranch and Mary Clark Roads to travel an additional 9.9 miles.  While route planning is underway for the trail west of this point, current users will need to utilize US 101 to travel the next 10 miles to Forks and another 13 miles on SR 110 to reach the Pacific Ocean at LaPush.

For more information contact:

Rich James, Transportation Program Manager
Phone: 360-417-2290

website:  (not an official County website)