Washington State Coast Rourte
Has anyone ridden the coast of Washington? I note that the Adventure Cycling route doesnít go to the coast in Washington but stays inland. Iím going to take the Adventure cycling route as I head north but when I turn around and head south I was considering riding along the Washington coast. This is mostly Hwy 101 but I understand that it has a good shoulder and lots of cyclists ride it. Any comments on this route? Should I seek it out or STAY AWAY? Any particularly dangerous areas?
To provide a few more details, I have 3.5 days to ride from Port Townsend Washington (actually starting at Marrowstone Island) to Alderbrook resort which is on the Hood canal near Union Washington. Iím thinking Iíd head west to Forks and then south along the coast and then back east Google Maps came up with the following route.
Lots of people have done that route -- check CGOAB for journals,
I think it's listed as an alternate route as part of the ACA Pacific Coast trail; it's also part of the ACA Washington Parks route:
You'll see that the ACA has recommended some different roads than what Google recommends -- I have ridden and driven some of these but not enough to provide real clarity on your options. I think the google option on the southern part of your route is going to mean a lot more climbing in the foothills but on less-trafficked roads.
I haven't ridden around the Olympic Peninsula (yet...) but it's on my list. I've driven Hwy 101 several times on this stretch.
It's very remote. Long distances between services, lots of logging trucks on two lane roads, virtually no settlements as you ride through the Indian reservation and National Park, and drippy wet. If it's raining anywhere in the continental US at any given moment, then it's in the rain forest slopes of the Olympic Peninsula. It's hauntingly beautiful along the coast, and the endless stretches through the cedar and fir forests are like riding through a tunnel.
Two things I'd recommend: Carry food, don't depend on re-supply more than once a day. Sure, there are towns on the map, but usually there's nothing more than a convenience store or a tavern, if it's open at all when you ride through. The second recommendation: Three days is really pushing it. Not only is there a lot to savor in a slow ride, but the weather and the distance and the climbs are gonna make it a tough three-day ride. Of course, it depends on your riding style, but for the 60/70 mile-a-day-crowd, this is a 4-to-6 day ride minimum, in my opinion.
As said above, your best source is the journals on CGOAB.
Road eval only:
Port Townsand to Port Angeles: Good
Port Angeles to Neah Bay: Ok (It could be horrific if you time it on the wrong fishing day.)
Neah Bay to Aberdeen: Blech
Aberdeen to Illwaco: Great
Port Townsand to Shelton: ok
Shelton to Aberdeen: A few messy spots on hwy 12 when the road crosses over watery areas.
Last edited by escii_35; 06-20-10 at 04:11 PM.
Reason: added the rest of loop
I just finished the olympic peninsula less than two weeks ago, taking 101 all the way around. It was pretty well traveled by logging trucks, which was a bummer, but overall the traffic was not bad at all. It is not as much of a coastal ride as I expected. A good deal of it is inland and most of the sections that appear to be right along the water have a good deal of trees that completely block the view. Still a worthwhile ride though. I really enjoyed going to Rialto Beach and rainforests are always beautiful.
The olympics are a great place to tour, rode around the peninsula myself about three years ago. I would recommend doing this in August, because that is the dryest month of the year, though July and early September can be good as well.
When you get to Port Angeles, you should think about riding up Hurricane Ridge if the weather is clear. When it isn't cloudy, you can see every peak on the Peninsula from the top. Another good place to see is La Push. It is about 15 miles off of 101, but its really beautiful, and they used to let people camp on the beach for free, I don't know if that is still the case.
There are reasonably-priced hostels at Port Angeles and along 101 near the Hoh River. I would get through Aberdeen and Hoquiam as quickly as possible; the non-violent crime (i.e. bike theft) rates there are ridiculously high.
Thanks to all who have responded to my post. There has been a lot of good advice.
I hadnít realized that Adventure Cycling had maps for this section so Iíve ordered the maps (it appears that their route almost exactly covers where I want to go). Iíll check out the total mileage. Iím more of the 60/70 mile range as well and if it is too far then Iíll see about getting picked up part way home or doing this another time. Either way Iíll get a few days of riding in on some course and Iím really looking forward to my first tour in 20 years (wow where did the time go).