Olympic Discovery Trail East - Port Townsend

Washington

Olympic Discovery Trail East - Port Townsend Facts

States: Washington
Counties: Jefferson
Length: 7.3 miles
Trail end points: Boat St. and Washington St. (Port Townsend) and S. Discovery Rd. and Milo Curry Rd. (Adelma Beach)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6264163
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Walking

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Olympic Discovery Trail East - Port Townsend Description

The Port Townsend waterfront marks the eastern endpoint of the Olympic Discovery Trail, which will one day stretch 126 miles from Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean. This section of trail is named in memory of Larry Scott, one of the many dedicated volunteers who have helped develop Olympic Peninsula trails over the past 25 years.

In 1887, Port Townsend residents formed the Port Townsend & Southern Railroad to Quilcene, and passenger and freight service began in 1890. Passenger rail service between Port Townsend and Port Angeles did not come until the early 1900s, after logging work was well under way. The regional movement to create the Olympic Discovery Trail began after railroad service was discontinued in the 1980s.

The waterfront trailhead offers a view of the marina and beyond. The intermittent, separated horse trail begins just beyond the trailhead, along with map and history kiosks. A little climb to two road crossings introduces you to this peaceful community trail among maples, alders, firs, and ferns.

The path ascends some small inclines here and there and briefly parallels State Route 20. Pass under the road at mile 2.6, as the railroad once did, and bear left. As you head up toward the road, a sign directs you to go straight to the roadside shoulder and then right to the trail. (Signs are placed on the road, inviting road riders and pedestrians to pass under SR 20 rather than cross the bridge.)

At 3 miles, you'll pass under Discovery Road and relax into rural countryside, crossing small roads every now and then. Here, an equestrian trail reappears and heads up the side of the hill. This pretty wooded section, separated from Cape George Road, meets the Cape George trailhead at 3.6 miles.

Signs direct you to cross the rural Edwards Road. You'll pass horses and a golf course hidden by trees before crossing S. Discovery Road at 6.1 miles. Use caution. On the other side, you'll notice benches strategically placed atop the short hill just where the grade approaches 10%. Wind through the trees, again on the original railroad grade, and up to the Milo Curry trailhead at mile 7.3.

In addition to enjoying the trail, you may want to spend some time in Port Townsend, home of good food, great views, Victorian homes, artist shops, film festivals, and loads of natural beachfront at Fort Worden State Park.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the waterfront trailhead from the intersection of SR 20 and US 101 near Port Townsend, take SR 20 E for 7.7 miles to Port Townsend. Turn left to stay on SR 20. Go 3.8 miles (SR 20 will become W. Sims Way). Turn right at the Haines Place traffic light, and go straight into the boatyard, toward the water. Park near the restroom.

To reach the Milo Curry trailhead from the intersection of SR 20 and US 101 near Port Townsend, take SR 20 E for 6.2 miles. Turn left onto S. Discovery Road. In 0.3 mile, turn right onto Milo Curry Road. Fork left to the trailhead.

Horse trailer turnarounds and portable toilets are available at Milo Curry and Cape George.

Olympic Discovery Trail East - Port Townsend Reviews

There are slight hills, winding through classic Pacific NW scenery. Helpful signs and a parking lot JUST for trail users (with Sani-can and water spigot for filling your water container) !! The whole portion of this trail can easily be done in a day and is quite UN-crowded. Forest, pastures and a stunning view of a part of Puget Sound near the Port Townsend end. Both gravel and paved.

The numbers in [brackets] refer to the images posted herewith.
A few days ago, I explored the new section of the Olympic Discovery Trail from S. Discovery Road near the Golf Course to Milo Curry Trailhead near Four Corners. Even the extremely useful web site at
http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/trail_maps/pt_townsend.html
has not yet added this most recent addition as existing. Their map still shows it in green (planned).
Last year when I crossed S. Discovery Rd., there was survey tape hanging in the bushes and further progress was stopped by a TRAIL CLOSED sign (see photo No. 12 of last year's report dated June 2012). Now there is a beautiful new trail [1] with three nice sitting benches [2] (for those of us who want to rest while climbing up the gentle grade of the trail). The surface of the trail is the same small-grain crushed rock as used on the other sections of the trail further north. It is well packed and very easy to ride on, even with a city bike.
The addition adds only about one mile. Currently the trail ends where it crosses S. Discovery Rd. again near Milo Curry Rd. and Four Corners. There is a parking lot with space for about 8 cars and a port-a-potty [3]. On the other side of the road, where the trail hopefully will continue one of these days, one is greeted with a NO TRESPASSING sign [4]. I did not get my GPS to properly mark this waypoint, but my MapCard map shows it as N48.04964;W-122.82618. Starting June 24, 2013, and continuing through July 8, 2013, this section of trail and parking will be closed while they are enlarging the parking lot [5].

Although the web site at http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/trail_maps/pt_townsend.html already contains a detailed description of this trail, I wanted to add a few observations and images to the TrailLink web site. Miles are in (parentheses), GPS coordinates are in {braces} and numbers in [brackets] refer to the numbered images posted herewith.
This is a description of Olympic Discovery Trail East - Sound and Bay Section (= Larry Scott Memorial Trail) between the Port Townsend Marina and S. Discovery Rd.
I accessed the trail at Fredericks Rd. close to where it crosses under Highway 20 and then traveled in both directions to the end of trail. Starting at the bus stop at Fredericks Rd. (0.0) {+48.08955; -122.81612} [1] is not a good idea because there is barely enough parking space for one car and the bus stop is a NO PARKING zone. I should have started at the Cape George Rd. trail head, which has ample parking. I biked the trail from Fredericks St. in both directions.
Going towards Port Townsend first, at (0.23) {+48.09162; -122.81581} [2] I came to the underpass under Highway 20 where four paved trail stubs go in four different directions, but only the one going to Port Townsend was marked by a directional sign. The trail is otherwise well marked with trail signs, but destination of the other three trails branching off at this crossing should be marked as well. This is the only short section where the Larry Scott Memorial Trail is paved. The rest of the trail in both directions has a soft surface covered with a very small (<1/8 inch) grade of well-packed packed crushed rock, smaller than crushed rock used at many other rails-to-trails conversions. This is a nice, smooth surface that can be traveled even with a street bike (but not with in-line skates as suggested on the R-t-T-C web site!). At (0.96) {+48.09886; -122.81143} [3] the trail crosses Mill Rd. and at (1.59) {+48.09688; -122.79904} the trail crosses Thomas St. next to the Port Townsend paper mill [4] with its rising steam plumes that are visible from far away. All these crossings are well marked. The next section of the trail offers scenic views out over Port Townsend Bay as the trail travels below a flower-covered bluff [5] and past a rusted iron sculpture "Leafwing" [6]. It ends (begins, depending on which direction you are traveling) at (2.8) next to a shipyard and marina where there is a parking area, mile marker 0.0 [7] {+48.10587; -122.77901} and permanent toilet facilities. I happened to be there on the weekend when the Jefferson County Trails Coalition [8] and the Back Country Horsemen of Washington had set up tents along the trail to celebrate "Longest Day of Trails" and to inform the trail users about their activities. This is where the Jefferson County Trails Coalition people had their tent and accepted donations for further improvement and expansion of the trail.
Traveling from Fredericks Rd. in the other direction, going south, I reset my odometer for a another set of distance measurements. One can cross Highway 20 (a very dangerous undertaking) and pick up the trail [9] opposite from the bus stop, or follow the paved section of trail to the underpass and then make two left turns (a safer route). The southbound trail travels through mostly flat farm land with many horse barns. At (1.13) {+48.09133; -122.83817} [10] is the Cape George Rd. trail head with ample parking, a port-a-potty, a water faucet and a bulletin board with a trail map. Just short of Douglas Way, the old, now overgrown RR grade is blocked by a gate and PRIVATE PROPERTY signs [11] and the trail veers to the left to detour around the parcel that the county was not able to acquire for trail construction. The trail entered Douglas Way where there were no signs indicating in which direction it continues {+48.06778; -122.83944}. Following Douglas Way to the right is the right choice. At the corner of Douglas Way and S. Discovery Rd. the trail became a narrow mountain bike trail as it paralleled S. Discovery Rd. before eventually crossing it at (3.55) {+48.06437; -122.83732}. The trail crossed S. Discovery Rd., but on the other side the trail was blocked by a TRAIL CLOSED sign [12]. There was survey tape strung all over the trees to mark the area to be cleared for future trail construction. We'll have to come back in a year from now and explore the new trail section going south toward the golf course and eventually all the way to Milo Curry Rd. and Four Corners.
If you time it right, you may see native rhododendron blooming along the trail [13].
Nearby overnight camping opportunities are at Fort Townsend State Park and Fort Worden State Park.

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