Does anyone have experience with highway 101 from Port Angeles around west side of Olympic National Park to Humptulips (gotta love that name). I have heard some bad things about its safety (esp. around Crescent Lake). Is it truely dangerous and to be avoided or what? If it is really bad I will go another way.
Thanks for your help.
It's really not bad, even around Crescent Lake. I'm not so sure on the width of shoulders, but there is relatively little traffic, so you can hear things coming if you want. IT'S ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL THERE! I suggest Cheeto Beach rest house before Neah Bay. You MUST detour from 101 to 113 N, to Cape Flattery, and I must stress visiting Lake Ozette and the Coast trails before dropping back down to 101 near Forks or you will miss out on some of the best coast regions Washington has to offer. Lake Ozette is pristine and EMPTY during the week, watch out for the raccoons. Hoh rainforest, too...
I've biked both sides of the Olympic penninsula and find 101 on the east side easier and more pleasant - although doing 101 on the west side gives you access to some truly spectacular places.
A) 101 on the west side - Neah Bay is a must! - - the museum has many artifacts of a Makah village uncovered by a mudslide 15 years ago. You can bike out to Cape Flattery on the NW tip of the US of A - and camping at Shi Shi beach - at the northern edge of the Olympic beach unit - is awesome. 101 itself is usually well off from the coast except for around Kalaloch - where it is, again, spectacular. You tend to go up and over many river divides - plus this is the rainiest place in the lower 48 - makes Seattle look positively arid. Also, although fewer, there are still logging trucks to deal with and communities that still support logging who look at cyclists skeptically.
B) 101 on the east side - Port Townsend is a great place - with a big hostel on an old military base and a great waterfront downtown. From Quilcene you follow the Hood Canal for miles with great views - if it's clear enough which is quite likely during the summer - you can see Mt. Ranier. The east side gets half the rain the west side gets. Also lots of state parks along the way. You angle across the base of the penninsula from Sheldon to Montesano to WA 107 to 101.
Both routes - The stretch of 101 to Raymond was recently rebuilt - meaning better shoulders and sightlines - but also faster traffic and a loss of the gentle curves and hills which most cyclists prefer. Cape Disappointment is the first chance to see the Pacific if you do the east side - it's the place where Lewis and Clark surveyed the Pacific - and it has beautiful cliffs and headlands. The Oregon parks on the other side of the Columbia are on sand bars with no view - so if you are camping - this is the place. There was a nice hostel on the Columbia River at Chinook but it's gone now, I believe - then be very careful crossing the Astoria Bridge - the shoulder is narrow and gets even narrower on the high span which arcs a couple of hundred feet above the water - plus it's 4 miles long - definitely not for the faint of heart.
I walked the last part of the Astoria bridge -way to much traffic. Crecsent Lake isn't as bad as I thought it would be. The reassuring thing to remember is that you'll hear the rv's, trucks and cars coming from very far back -you can always pull over. There is a large sign on the road that warns cyclist about the curyed road and dangers ahead. I did this route in early June, so perhaps it wasn't as crowded as August.
Absolutely no problems with Crescent Lake!
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I do not think it is extremely dangerous either. I have ridden it, complete with 8 high-school student on hybrids.
Crescent lake is narrow and winding, with many trucks. However, when you enter, you hit a button to activate a blinking light system to let people know that you are on that particular 6 mile stretch. It is extremely beautiful!
I rode through that area, then made the leg-searing climb to the Sol Duc Hot springs. Great campground up there in the park, and the hot springs were well worth it.
Now, from the hot springs on West through Beaver and Forks, and then down is NOT scenic, it is mostly logged and straight. It is also scary as the log trucks fly by very fast and very close. But not bad enough to say dont ride it, just be aware and be careful.
I would still do it, because the Hot Springs and Rain Forest in Olympic are VERY worth seeing, and then moving on down to the coast is also worth it.