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Issaquatch 09-08-13 11:48 PM

Routes around Highway 101, 113 and 112 on the Olympic Peninsula
I'm planning on riding up Hurricane Ridge this coming Saturday and then doing a long ride in the vicinity of Port Angeles. Does anyone have information on the following:

1. Is the stretch of Little River Rd from Hurricane Ridge Rd to Black Diamond Rd paved? I found a map online that suggests it is a gravel road, but I see several people on Strava who appear to have ridden that stretch on road bikes.

2. Has anyone ridden up to the Olympic Hot Springs? What were the road conditions, traffic conditions and scenery like?

3. Anyone have experience riding around the south end of Lake Crescent? I see several resources online that suggests this route is very sketchy because of narrow lanes, no shoulders and limited sight lines. I've driven it before and thought it would be manageable on a bike, but would be interested in others actual experiences.

4. Anyone ridden out along Highway 101 to Beaver, along Highway 113 toward Clallam Bay, or along Highway 112 from Clallam back to Port Angeles? I've done this in a car and it seemed like it could make for some nice riding, but I do wonder whether it would be too sketchy with logging trucks, high speed traffic and limited shoulders.

Any insights would be appreciated.


Issaquatch 09-08-13 11:59 PM

Actually it looks like the road up to Olympic Hot Springs is closed, so I guess I can scratch that off the list of ideas:

ChinookPass 09-11-13 09:48 AM

I've had similar questions particularly about Lake Crescent after I drove out to Kalaloch with the family last spring. There are a lot of signs on the roads in that neck of the woods that seem to imply that cycling is dangerous, probably due to narrow roads without shoulders, bad sightlines, and lots of logging trucks. I rode up to the Canadian border this July along Hwy 9 and thought the situation would be similar but I got along just fine. I think it mostly comes down to how comfortable you are with the amount and nature of traffic. You have to be prepared to keep your wits about you and take the lane when necessary or pull off and let trucks pass too. You have to think about every curve and whether or not you can react if someone came up quickly from behind. Definitely use a bright rear flasher or two. It's not ideal but the back roads of western Washington are not as generously built as they are in some other states like Colorado.

By the way, there is an old railroad grade on the north side of Lake Crescent open to bikes but mostly used as a hiking trail. We hiked that most of the way out and back and most of it would be rideable on all but the raciest of bikes. There are a few short steep sections and one boardwalk section you would have to walk.

My $.02 anyway. I've seen a few cycling guidebooks for Washington and that corner of the state is usually not even mentioned.

v.t. 09-11-13 05:10 PM

Check out the Olympic discovery trail, its a great way to get around Lake Crescent.

Wildwood 09-15-13 06:34 PM

Sorry for the too late reply, but one of your routes has a big hazard. Heading east on 112 you have to compete with loaded logging trucks. I have inquired about which days the logging trucks might not run and was told, "the day the Olympic peninsula runs outa logs". At least headed west the trucks are half their loaded length and can brake faster.

Issaquatch 09-16-13 04:44 PM

Follow up report:

We arrived in Port Angeles on a foggy Saturday morning. After warming up on the mostly deserted streets in town, we made our way up the mountain from the Civic field in the middle of Port Angeles to the top of Hurricane Ridge, which took about 1 hour 40 minutes for the 18 miles of climbing. Most of that was in warm sunshine; we broke through the fog layer at about 1,800 feet and from then on great views of the canyon we were riding up, and then sweeping views over the Olympic range from the top . The road conditions on Hurricane Ridge were great - no potholes and nice smooth tarmac -- and the grade of the road was never difficult. The descent off Hurricane Ridge is loads of fun -- no brakes required except at one or two bends, just a fast swooping downhill run back into Port Angles. After refilling foods and bottles, we rode up Black Diamond Road and down Little River Rd. to Highway 101. We saw only a few cars in that segment. Black Diamond was surfaced with a somewhat rough chipseal, but it was no problem. The descent of Little River Rd. was perhaps the highlight of the day. It is narrow, but very well surfaced and with good sightlines so you can really let loose on the steep descent (but keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles!).

From there we headed West on Highway 101. The shoulder is wide and has rumble strips and there weren't many cars or trucks out. There were a couple of narrow bridge crossings that required us to ride in the lane for a few moments, but it was a non-issue given the lack of traffic. We turned off 101 onto Beach Rd and rode along the north side of Lake Crescent, which was stunning, and then over Joyce-Piedmont Road, which rises up through a dense forest on one side and the drops down gently to Highway 112 on the other side. There were no cars in this area. From there we crossed 112 and headed straight to Crescent Beach, which dropped us down right next to the beach and the waves rolling in, and then followed the loop back to 112 a few miles up the road.

At that point we hopped on 112 and headed east for about 6 miles until we reached Elwha River Road, which we followed past the airport and back in to Port Angeles. I was a little apprehensive before the ride about 112, but the shoulder was adequate (3 feet) and there were only a handful of cars that passed us over the course of 20 minutes. It was a non-issue.

Total ride length was 90 miles with 8,500 feet of climbing. It was really a great day of riding and a nice change of scenery from the Seattle area. I'll do this route again and would not change anything, other than perhaps adding a few more miles.

I would note that we tried to find the Olympic Discovery Trail a couple of times, but it isn't easy to access. MapMyRide gave totally unreliable directions for getting on the trail. And the one segment of it that we did find, in downtown Port Angeles right in front of the water, was torn up for construction and only suitable for a mountain bike.

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