Olympic Discovery Trail - Blyn to Elwha River

Trail Map

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This section of the planned 126-mile Olympic Discovery Trail crosses restored trestles over creeks and rivers, traverses hills and gentle terrain, passes through forests, prairie, tribal land and small cities, and runs intermittently beside US 101. Portions of the trail follow former railroad corridors in Clallam County, including the Seattle, Port Angeles and Western Railway lines that were constructed between Port Angeles and Discovery Bay in 1914 and 1915.

Beginning just east of Blyn, the trail follows a forested, gradual uphill grade, straddled by US 101 and Sequim Bay. From the library, follow the trail west through the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Campus. Pass the gift shop, restrooms and US 101 underpass, beyond which the trail drops you onto Old Blyn Highway. Find the paved trail on the left at the road end.

Heading toward US 101, pass kiosks and 2 short bridges across the Jimmycomelately Creek and Estuary. The trail climbs above the bay and eventually meets Schoolhouse Point Lane. Descend into the towering firs, cedars and bay views of Sequim Bay State Park, then wind back uphill to rejoin the railroad grade. You can hear only distant highway sounds through the forest until a little climb that brings you closer to the highway. Cross Discovery Creek on a 150’ restored trestle and enjoy views over Sequim Bay.

A short steep rise ends on Whitefeather Way. Across the street, a kiosk introduces you to the largest trestle in the peninsula. Curved and banked for strength and stability, the 410’ long trestle rises 86’ above resting pools for spawning salmon in the stream below. Built in 1914 by the Seattle, Port Angeles and Western Railway Company, the Johnson Creek trestle was converted by trail coalition volunteers. Former water storage pullouts for fire emergencies are replaced with benches and viewpoints. Art is creatively suspended from the trestle.

West of the trestle, descend into Sequim on E. Washington Street and Rhodefer Road. The trail eventually enters Carrie Blake Park, following the park perimeter to its northwest edge on Blake Avenue at Fir Street. Enjoy a picnic, hang out at the skateboard park or check out the band shell for evening concerts.

The trail continues west from the park on residential streets through Sequim and rejoins the railroad grade at N. Priest Road. At Railroad Bridge Park, the Dungeness River passes in its raging descent from mountain to sea and the Audubon Center displays local wildlife. Spend some time exploring river trails in the park or picnicking. The restored railroad trestle is one of the few remaining wood truss railroad bridges, built entirely from timbers except for the steel tension bars.

An equestrian side path starts on the west side of the bridge and continues west along with the paved trail. The railroad grade continues through farmland and prairie, passing the Sequim Valley Airport before turning south and entering Robin Hill Farm Park. The 195-acre park of forest, meadow, wetlands and native plants includes 3.4 miles of foot trails and 2.5 miles of equestrian trails.

Pass through a forested ravine on the Bagley Creek covered bridge, formerly a Bainbridge ferry ramp, to ascend a short steep hill. Give way to cyclists descending from the west who may encounter a dangerous combination of a slippery surface and the sharp turn to the bridge. Pause for a vista of the Olympic Mountains at the Deer Park Overlook before reaching the Morse Creek trailhead.

From the trailhead, descend sharply to the 400’ Morse Creek trestle, then follow the creek north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The lush forested hills and creeks give way to a 4 mile path to downtown Port Angeles along the open harbor, with ample opportunities for birding and looking for sea life. Pass through Francis Street Park on the way to the City Pier at Lincoln and Front Streets.

The City Pier is home to hundreds of intertidal creatures, fish, aquatic plant life and a unique horse-shoe shaped touch tank at the Feiro Marine Life Center. Check out the inner harbor and the Olympic Mountains from the viewing tower. Shopping, dining, lodging and ferry service to Canada are all within several blocks. This section of trail is also part of the Port Angeles Waterfront Trail, which continues to the end of the Ediz Hook spit.

After crossing a Japanese bridge in Valley Estuary Park, branch off to the west to climb Hill Street, 4th Street and Milwaukee Drive in succession. The on-road route lasts for just under a mile, with the trail picking up again on the peaceful, wooded railroad corridor at 10th Street. Deer and smaller wildlife also enjoy the area surrounding the trail. Cross Dry Creek and Lower Elwha to arrive at the Kacee Way trailhead donated by the local Elwha tribe.

Descend gradually into the Elwha flood plain on wide railroad curves perched above the river valley, which amazes with seasonal colors and mountain views. Suspended below a highway bridge, the trail bridge has spectacular views of the river, the flood plain and the forested hills in the distance. Kiosks document the noteworthy bridge and history of the area. The trail ends after a small gravel incline to Elwha River Road.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Olympic Discovery Trail in Blyn from US 101, pass through the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Headquarters and park at the library on the right at the end of the complex. In Sequim, park at Carrie Blake Park. Exit US 101 on E. Washington Street and turn right on S. Blake Avenue. Access the trail, parking and restrooms at Fir Street and S. Blake Avenue.

The Robin Farm Park trailhead is 2.5 miles from US 101. Exit the highway and travel north on Kitchen-Dick Road. Turn left on Old Olympic Highway and left again on Vautier Road. Turn right on Pinnell Road; horse access and parking is on the left. To reach the Morse Creek trailhead, exit US 101 at Straitview Drive. The trailhead is on the right.

In Port Angeles, take US 101 to Lincoln Street and turn right to dead end at the City Pier. To the west, the 18th Street trailhead offers handicapped parking. Take US 101 westbound through Port Angeles. It becomes Front Street and then Marine Drive. Turn left on Hill Street, which eventually merges with 4th Street. Turn right at 18th Street to reach the trailhead on the left.

The westernmost trailhead is located at Crown Z Water Road. Take US 101 westbound from Port Angeles about 4.5 miles. Turn right onto Laird Road and left onto Elwha River Road. Take the 2nd left onto Crown Z Water Road to reach the parking area.

Reviews

Port Angeles Waterfront Trail

   May, 2014 by RTC

Posted by TrailLink user "smacklow" in July 2009. The trail is part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, and as of July, 2009, the Waterfront Trail extends under that name from the Coast Guard Station near the tip of Ediz Hook, to the bridge over Ennis ...read more

Olympic Discovery Trail between Elwha River and suburbs of the town of Port Angeles

   May, 2014 by RTC

Posted by TrailLink user "eckart" in June 2012. Although the web site at http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/trail_maps/pt_angeles_w.html already contains a detailed description of this trail (including a nice elevation profile software), I wanted ...read more

Bike Week in Port Angeles August 2012

   March, 2013 by rtshap

Amtrak from Portland to Seattle with my bike and Dungeness Bus to Port Angeles for a week of biking the area. Warmed up on 2nd day on first 8 miles of Olympic Discovery trail along P.A. waterfront and on to Ediz Hook beaches. Day 3 on Spruce railroad ...read more