Olympic Discovery Trail: Port Angeles
HIKE DESCRIPTION: The Olympic Discovery Trail is a developing trail that stretches for 126.2 miles from La Push on the Washington coast to Port Townsend. While it’s not complete, a cyclist could link completed sections by using temporary on-road routes.
But for those looking for a more modest outing, the completed section along the Port Angeles waterfront is flat, scenic and open to cyclists, runners, walkers and other non-motorized users.
Start at the Port Angeles City Pier by taking in the view from the top of observation tower. From here, you can see where the trail stretches eastward along the beach. The trail hugs the shoreline for 3.5 miles with the exception of a short stretch near Ennis Creek. A new bridge in this area allows trail users to cross the creek without a taking a 0.25-mile trip inland.
Take your time as you wander to play on the beach and watch the massive ships make their way through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
After 3.5 miles, the trail turns inland. This is a good place to turn back if you’re on foot, but you can keep going all the way through to Blyn at the southern end of Sequim Bay. The trail does get hillier (more than most Northwest rail-to-trail projects) once it leaves the waterfront to visit forest, bridges and pastureland.
DIRECTIONS: Follow U.S. Highway 101 to Port Angeles. Turn right on Lincoln Street and find parking and the trail near Hollywood Beach.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 7, but more can easily be added.
ELEVATION GAIN: Minimal.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
MAP: Maps are available for download at olympicdiscoverytrail.com.
ALSO: Construction on the trail started in the 1990s. According to the Peninsula Trails Coalition’s website, 69 miles of trail are complete, and work started on nine-mile section in 2015. Right-of-way agreements are in place for more than 87 miles, according to the coalition. A trip on the trail can also be extended eastward through forest to the Elwha River. Another enjoyable side trip is the Waterfront Trail. The experience of riding Ediz Hook is well worth the inevitable battle with the headwind. Dogs on leashes are permitted on the trails if owners clean up after their pets. Several geocaches are hidden along the trail. For more information, visit geocaching.com.