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How to Bike the Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington

Looking for an epic adventure? Biking the Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington is a must-try! Learn everything you need to know to plan your own Olympic Discovery Trail ride from the best day ride sections to overnight adventures.

Rail trail bridge spanning river Olympic Discovery Trail on Olympic Peninsula in Washington

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The Olympic Discovery Trail is a 130-mile bike route spanning the ruggedly beautiful northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The paved path stretches across the entire peninsula and traverses through a wide range of landscapes.

From dense forests and sparkling lakes to bustling seaside towns with breathtaking coastal vistas, the ODT is a fun and unique way to explore the Olympic Peninsula on two wheels.

I biked the majority of this picturesque trail on my Cross-Washington bikepacking trip and it was by and far one of the most memorable stretches of the whole route.

In this post, I share everything you need to know about biking the Olympic Discovery Trail including the best day rides, tips for bikepacking the ODT, what to checkout off the path, and more.

Olympic Discovery Trail Map

The Olympic Discovery Trail is still a work in progress. The ultimate goal is to have a continuous off-road route that stretches from La Push on the Pacific coast to the town of Port Townsend on the Puget Sound.

Currently, about 66% of the multi-use path is completed with roughly 35% still following main roads.

Map of the Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington
Map source: Olympicdiscoverytrail.org

Olympic Discovery Trail At At Glance

  • Total Distance: 130 miles
  • Surface: 95% paved
  • % on road (2021): ~34%
  • % multi-use path (2021): ~66%
  • Western terminus: La Push
  • Eastern terminus: Port Townsend
  • e-bikes allowed? Yes
  • Best time of year: May-October
Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington running parallel to rocky beach

Best Sections of the ODT

The Olympic Discovery Trail is officially divided up into four sections:

The best stretch of the whole paved ODT is the ~20 miles along the northern edge of Lake Crescent (see West Central Foothills and Lakes map above or recommended ride #3 below).

Woman riding loaded bikepacking bike on Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington with blue lake on righthand side
Pedaling along the north shore of Lake Crescent – one of the best stretches!

3 Great Olympic Discovery Trail Day Rides

Just want to explore the ODT for a day or prefer to ride the route in sections? Here are my top three recommendations for day rides:

day ride recommendation #1

>> From Port Townsend

  • 14 miles round-trip
  • +/- 550 ft
  • Gravel surface

The ODT trailhead in Port Townsend is located on 8th/Washington Street on the water.

This 7-mile stretch is on crushed gravel and is a nice way to ride along the coast and explore farmland outside of Port Townsend.

If you need a bike rental, Broken Spoke in Port Townsend rents road and electric bikes.

Sailboats like up along dock in Port Townsend Washington in summer
Boats at the marina in picturesque Port Townsend
day ride recommendation #2

>> From Port Angeles or BLYN (or Sequim)

  • 52.2 miles round-trip
  • +/- 1907 ft
  • Paved surface

Between the towns of Blyn and Port Angeles, the Olympic Discovery Trail is almost entirely on paved multi-use path.

You can start at either end – Port Angeles or Blyn – or start in the middle in the town of Sequim.

Parking is available at:

Paved Olympic Discovery Trail near Sequim Washington with dry field on lefthand side
Rolling hills and farmlands make up the stretch between Port Angeles and Blyn
day ride recommendation #3

>> The North shore of Lake Crescent

  • 22.8 miles round-trip
  • +/- 1,113 ft
  • Paved surface

The stretch along the north shore of Lake Crescent is the most scenic and worthwhile section if you only have one day to explore the trail.

This section follows the shores of the lake and passes through several tunnels and sandy beaches that can only be accessed by foot or bike.

There are two parking areas on either side of the lake:

Bikepacking riding bike through tall, round metal tunnel on Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington
The Lake Cresent section features several unique tunnels

Bikepacking Or Bike touring the ODT

Riding the Olympic Discovery Trail as an overnight bikepacking or bike touring trip is a great way to really embrace everything this route has to offer.

The 130 miles can be done in a 2-4 night trip depending on how many miles you want to pedal each day and whether you want to mix in hiking or side trips (see ‘off the Olympic Discovery Trail’ below.).

Birdseye view of Olympic Discovery Trail through dense forest on Olympic Peninsula in Washington
Spend a few days bikepacking or bike touring along the Olympic Discovery Trail


Campgrounds are located at pretty regular intervals along the Olympic Discovery Trail. Because the Olympic Peninsula is a popular destination, though, I highly recommend making your campground reservations ahead of time.


If you’re not into camping or you don’t want to carry camping gear, it is possible to stay in hotels, inns, or Airbnbs along the ODT. Again, you’ll want to book your accommodations ahead of time.


You won’t need to carry a lot of food since there are stores, restaurants, and food options located pretty frequently along the route. You won’t go more than 20 miles without having someplace to resupply or eat (although the quality of those options will definitely vary).

If you’re camping, it is a good idea to plan out your meals and know exactly where you can get ingredients along the route.

Of course, the easiest option is always dehydrated meals.


Fresh water is plentiful on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll be able to fill up at drinking fountains, campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, etc… Be able to carry 2.5-3 liters of water (more if the temperatures are very hot).

I do recommend bringing a water filter or a filter bottle as well. There are lots of opportunities to filter water from streams and lakes.

Woman straddling loaded bikepacking bike while looking over side of multi-use bridge walkway over river

Bike and gear

The Olympic Discovery Trail is fully paved aside from a 7-mile stretch of gravel trail outside of Port Townsend.

If you plan on staying on pavement, a road, gravel, or touring bike is ideal. Panniers will also work well for carrying gear.

There are options to get off the paved trail and onto dirt, mainly on the Olympic Adventure Trail, which I go into more detail about below. If you opt to go off-road, a hardtail mountain bike or wider-tire gravel bike would work great. A short-travel full suspension mountain bike would also be fine, but wouldn’t be ideal unless you really plan on deviating from paved surfaces.


If you do a one-way bikepacking or bike touring trip, you’ll need to arrange transportation to/from your starting point.


To get onto the Olympic Peninsula I definitely recommend taking the ferry to either Kingston or Port Townsend. The ride across the Sound is stunning!

The Kingston Ferry leaves from Edmonds. If you choose this option, you’ll need to drive your car to Port Townsend where the ODT ends. If you don’t want to take your car on the ferry, you’ll need to alter your ODT route so you end your ride back in Kingston so you can take the ferry back across.

The Port Townsend Ferry leaves from Whidbey Island. It would be challenging to get to this ferry on public transportation, so you’ll need to either drive or add a few days to do it by bike (the shoulders on Whidbey Island roads aren’t great, though).

Bikepacking riding bike onto ferry in Washington


Once you’re on the Peninsula, the easiest option is to do a self-shuttle if you have two cars, although this is definitely not the most environmental-friendly way, unfortunately.

You should be able to park your cars overnight at any trailhead, but you may want to contact the trailhead authorities to make sure.

It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from either Kingston or Port Townsend to La Push.

If you do self-shuttle, consider using the drive back to retrieve the first car as a way to explore more of the Olympic Peninsula!

Path through dense forest in Hoh Rainforest on Olympic Peninsula
Use your self-shuttle car retrieval as an opportunity to explore more of the Olympic Peninsula like the magical Hoh Rainforest

Public transportation

Clallam Transit does have buses that go to La Push, but you’ll need to change buses in Port Angeles and in Forks and the bus schedule isn’t very frequent, unfortunately. When I mapped it, it said the trip would take 9 hours 🙁

Private shuttle

When I biked the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route, we booked a private shuttle with Olympic Hiking Co. Our driver met us at the Kingston ferry dock and shuttled my friend and me and our two bikes to La Push, about 2 hours away.

It was expensive but worth not having to wait for public transportation.

need help planning your trip?

Download my 3-Day ODT Itinerary!

For $5.99 get a detailed Olympic Discovery Trail itinerary complete with:

  • Downloadable GPS maps
  • Adventure Route GPS
  • Day-by-day planning resources + links
  • A packing checklist
  • And more!
Add To Cart

The Olympic Adventure Trail

If you’re a mountain biker or enjoy taking your gravel bike off-road, the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route is an awesome addition to the ODT.

This 23-mile stretch of singletrack trail cuts off the busy highway section between Lake Crescent and Port Angeles.

It’s not a technical mountain biking trail, so if you have wide tires and a spirit of adventure, definitely add the Olympic Adventure Trail to your bikepacking route or do an out-and-back day ride. It was one of the main highlights of my Cross-Washington trips!

If you want to plan a more adventurous ride across the Olympic Peninsula, check out my Olympic Adventure Trail Adventure Route.

Bikepacking stopped on dirt trail surrounded by lush green temperate rainforest on Olympic Peninsula in Washington
The Olympic Adventure Trail is 23 miles of mellow singletrack through stunning temperate rainforest

Off the Olympic Discovery Trail

The Olympic Discovery Trail is awesome in and of itself, but there are so many other great things to do off the Trail on the Olympic Peninsula if you have time to explore further.

Here are 6 side trips on the Olympic Peninsula:

  1. Second Beach: if you have time in La Push before starting your ride, definitely check out Second Beach. It’s beautiful!
  2. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: A bit touristy, but worth it for the hot springs.
  3. Hoh Rainforest: You won’t be able to bike to here, but if you have a car and time to explore pre- or post-ride the Hoh Rainforest is magical.
  4. Dungeness Spit: A long skinny spit outside of Port Angeles. Bring a lock for your bikes if you want to hike out to the lighthouse.
  5. Hurricane Ridge: One of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Parks, but for good reason. You can drive to the top for epic views and hiking trails.
  6. Port Townsend Farmer’s Market: An awesome local farmer’s market that takes place every Sunday in the summer from 9-2 to 2.

Final thoughts

Whether you ride the full Olympic Discovery Trail or just the best section along Lake Crescent, you’re guaranteed to have an awesome time. The ODT is an amazing undertaking (that is still in the works) and provides a unique opportunity to see the Olympic Peninsula from the seat of a bike.


Looking for more two-wheeled adventures in the Pacific Northwest? Check out these related blog posts:

  1. Bikepacking Across Washington on the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route
  2. Explore Seattle and the Puget Sound By Bike
  3. Mountain Biking Galbraith Mountain in Bellingham

Have you biked the Olympic Discovery Trail? What are your favorite sections or things to do along the route? What questions do you still have? Leave a comment below!

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  1. Re “Hoh Rainforest: You won’t be able to bike to here”: You can bike to the Hoh campground, though it’s 18 miles off of Hwy 101. Folks bike the entire loop of Hwy 101 around the Olympic Peninsula, though it’s obviously not for the novice cyclist.

    1. Thanks for that tip. I’m not a road rider, so that wasn’t on my radar. I have heard of people cycling the whole Olympic Peninsula – it looks beautiful!

  2. This is great info! I have one other question – I see on some maps that there is about a 3-mile span from where the trail cuts down from the Strait of Juan Hwy below whisky creek beach area, and links to the northern part of Lake Crescent that some people say is ‘unpaved’. Do you know if that is old info and it is paved now? We have very thin road bike tires and want to be sure to avoid any gravel. Thanks!

    1. If you stay on the designated Olympic Discovery Trail, it is all paved except for the 7 miles outside of Port Townsend. On this map, they’re actually showing the Olympic Adventure Route, which is dirt, but you can stay on the paved Joyce Piedmont Rd that parallels it to the right.

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