100km Scenic Loop in the Port Angeles area
In a nutshell, this ride starts in downtown Port Angeles near the start of the Olympic discovery Trail, follows that for a mile, climbs uptown past Peninsula College, to the Olympic National Park visitors center, long climb up to Heart o’ The Hills and Lake Dawn, descends via Little River Road to Black Diamond Road, descends westward further to Olympic Hot Springs Road and Hwy 101, continues a gradual ascent to north western end of Lake Crescent, heads north on a dirt road down to Hwy 112, heading flat east to Joyce, descends to sea level at Crescent Bay and Salt Creek Recreation Area, gradually climbs back up to Hwy 112, going east to Elwha River Road and the new Elwha River Bridge, takes a nice flat MUP back to the western neighborhoods of Port Angeles, descends down to Ediz Hook and then back to downtown.
To begin our ride, at 9am we exit the Downtown Hotel parking lot and go left to the Coho Ferry dock then right (Railroad Ave.) to the Red Lion Inn, in front of which begins the Waterfront Trail/Olympic Discovery trail to the Old Rainier Mill parking lot.
From the old mill parking lot, go up that steep driveway at the gate (Ennis Street) and through a couple stoplights and then climb some more, going left on 5th Street and a quick right (on Ennis, once again) up to Peninsula College. We’ll do a little zig-zagging through the neighborhood flats here, so we don’t prematurely lose our freshly earned altitude: right on Lauridsen Blvd in front of the college, one block then left on Liberty for one block, past the college parking lot, Right on Park, one or two blocks to a left on Porter one or two blocks to right on Grant Ave which after one block dumps us into the Olympic National Park Visitor’s Center loop driveway.
Exit the National Park Visitor’s Center lot, go right up the hill and an immediate right at the Y in the road. Take a right on Lake Dawn Road, and in about 0.3 miles fade right onto Little River Road, for some fun back country dirt road descending.
Lake Dawn to Granny’s Cafe on Hwy 101: About a mile past Lake Dawn, the paved road turns into a gravel road, mostly downhill and very well maintained. After about 4 miles of mostly downhill dirt road, you dump out onto the pavement and go left at the little red barn onto Black Diamond Road:
Black Diamond Road eventually levels out and turns right onto Olympic Hot Springs Road, and then a quick left onto HWY 101, where you immediately cross over the old Elwha River Bridge.
Continue west on HWY 101 (4) miles past Shadow Mountain Grocery and another mile to East Beach Road. There, you go right off the highway up that short sharp hill and carefully proceed a couple miles to Log Cabin Resort.
From the Log Cabin Resort driveway, continue west on East Beach Road and you’ll immediately pass Lady of the Lake Lane and then go left at the next road after that, where you will see a sign pointing the way to the Spruce Railroad Trail. Technically, even though you’ve turned off the main road, you’ll still be on East Beach Rd. You’ll descend down to lake level and come to a one-lane bridge over the Lyre River. Just before you get to the bridge, hang a right onto this unmarked dirt road.
Follow this for about .75 miles of general bumpiness to the yellow gate. When you go around the gate, you’re not trespassing; it a legal bike/hike/horse trail, courtesy of Green Crow Logging Co.
Stay on what looks like the main road, as there are a few spur roads that take you off uphill into what are mostly dead ends. This dirt road continues about 3 miles or so after the yellow gate. It winds around through the woods a bit with a little fast descending at the end (if you dare) before it dumps out onto HWY 112. Turn right and follow HWY 112 about 4 or 5 miles to the Joyce General Store.
Take the little road that goes (North) behind Joyce Gen Store, and a right at the Y takes you to Crescent bay in a couple miles, of fairly fast rolling up and down country road, with a sharp descent to water; careful, it’s steep and twisty on the way down that last little bit. You’ll pedal on the flat road next to the bay for about a mile to get to Salt Creek Recreation and Wildlife Area.
You’re now heading west on Hwy 101, and starting a gradual 4 mile ascent to Granny’s Cafe, everyone’s favorite spot to stop and grab a soft-serve cone and/or lemonade.
Leaving the Tongue Point Wildlife Area (or Camp Hayden State Park) you’re heading south on camp Hayden Road. You gain a couple hundred feet in 3.5 miles, take a left onto Hwy 112 at the Salt Creek Inn and go a hair over 5 miles to Elwha River Road, take a left there and downhill a fast one-mile swoop to the new Elwha Bridge, turn right onto the gated dirt road just before you cross the bridge, this takes you down to the bike/pedestrian bridge under the upper deck cars & trucks bridge.
After you cross under the Elwha Bridge, you ride down a ramp which dumps you (right) out onto a nice smooth and flat couple miles of sylvan bike trail winding through the woods to Kaycee Way, then crossing Lower Elwha Rd, staying on the bike path crossing West 18th Street, 14th Street and following the old Milwaukee Railroad grade (now MUP) all the way back into the western neighborhoods of Port Angeles. The MUP ends in the residential nabe of South Milwaukee Avenue which dumps out onto 4th Street, continues past Crown Park (nice view of the mill and harbor) and right after that, a short steep drop down Hill Street to Marine Drive.
At the bottom of Hill Street, go left on the sidewalk waterfront trail past the mill complex (trail is clearly marked) and a couple more miles of flat along the skinny sandspit we call Ediz Hook, all the way out to the gate of the Coast Guard station. Then double back along the hook to the waterfront trail, past Castaways Restaurant, the boat haven and left at Tumwater Street through the Westport Shipyard for a quick one-minute drive-by tour of the luxury yacht building business in Port Angeles.
You can continue left along sidewalk (this is technically the Waterfront Trail) to the Coho Ferry dock where you turn right on Laurel Street to get back to the hotel. The closer you stay to the water, the farther away from downtown traffic you’ll be. Or if you want to go back out on the street, just take a left on Laurel to get back to the hotel.