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Explore the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route by Bike

Plan an amazing day ride or multi-day bikpacking trip on the stunning Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

Bikepacking on loaded bike pedaling on singletrack trail on Olympic Peninsula in Washington with views in background of the Olympic Mountains

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The Olympic Adventure Trail is a 25-mile singletrack mountain biking (or hiking) route off of the Olympic Discovery Trail on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

I rode the full Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route on my Cross-Washington bikepacking adventure and it was by far one of the best stretches of the whole 700+ mile trip.

The trail features fast, flowy singletrack through beautiful Pacific Northwest forests, amazing views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, and glimpses of the blue waters of the Straight of Juan de Fuca. The whole thing is magical.

Whether you’re looking for an awesome day ride or want to plan a multi-day bikepacking trip across the Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Adventure Trail is a must. In this post, I share everything you need to know to plan your trip!

Olympic Adventure Trail Map

The Olympic Adventure Trail (blue on the map below) is a 25-mile (one-way) stretch of singletrack on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

It’s a singletrack alternative to the paved Olympic Discovery Trail.

Map of the Olympic Adventure Trail on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington
Map source: MTB Project

Olympic Adventure Route FAQs

  • Distance: 25 Miles one-way
  • Difficulty: Easy/intermediate
  • Average grade: 5%
  • High point: 1,448 ft
  • Elevation gain: + 3,796 ft
  • Elevation loss: – 3,595 ft
  • Singletrack: 99%
  • Best time to ride: May – October
  • How hard is the Olympic Adventure Trail
    The Olympic Adventure Trail is not technical, so it’s a good ride for beginner riders and up. That being said, the full trail is 25-miles one-way, so depending on how far you ride, you’ll need to factor in fitness levels.
  • What Kind of Bike Do I need?
    The Olympic Adventure Trail is dirt, but it’s not a technical mountain bike trail so you can get away with a wide-tire gravel bike or any mountain bike. I rode the trail on my Cross-Washington trip on a hardtail Santa Cruz Chameleon with a wide gravel tire – fully loaded with bikepacking gear.
  • Are Electric bikes allowed?
    Yes, class-1 pedal-assist e-bikes are allowed on the Olympic Adventure Trail. Bikes with a throttle are not allowed.
  • Which side is better to start from?
    The whole trail is pretty awesome, so you can’t really go wrong.
  • The western trailhead is less popular and quieter, so if you want solitude, start from there. The forest also felt a bit more lush and magical on the west side.
  • The eastern side of the trail parallels the beautiful Elwha River and has opportunities to add miles on additional singletrack trails. I haven’t ridden these trails, but you can learn more about them on TrailForks.
  • What is the best time of year to ride?
    Late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times of year to ride the Adventure trail for nice weather. Spring may still bring cold temps and rain, so be sure to check the weather before heading out.

Olympic Adventure Trail Parking

There are several parking areas to access the Olympic Adventure Trail:

  • Main Eastern Trailhead – this is the closest parking area to Port Angeles.
  • Main Western Trailhead – located on the western side of the trail on Lake Crescent. You’ll need to pedal a few miles of dirt road to get to the singletrack
  • Joyce-Piedmont Road – this is a small parking area on the western side with easy access to the trail.

There’s not much parking along the trail, so you’ll most likely start at either the eastern or western main trailhead.

Important: Car break-ins have been reported. Do not leave anything valuable in your car.

Trail sign over trail entrance of Olympic Adventure Trail in Washington
This is the trailhead starting from the Main Eastern parking area

Olympic Adventure Trail Day Rides

The Olympic Adventure Trail can be ridden as an out-and-back day ride starting from either end – the western trailhead or the eastern trailhead.

Personally, I loved the western side for its lush forest, minimal trail traffic, bigger views, and more backcountry feel.

The eastern side is more popular because it’s easier to access and closer to Port Angeles.

There’s no right or wrong answer as to where you start or how far you need to ride. The trail is rolling with no major climbing (there’s always climbing…) or technical features.

Just get out there and have fun!

Switchbacked singletrack trail on Olympic Adventure Route in Washington

Bike rentals & guided tours

If you need to rent a mountain bike, Adventures Through Kayaking has rentals or you can sign up for one of their guided day tours.

Bikepacking the Olympic Adventure Trail

Want to spend a few days exploring this beautiful area of the Olympic Peninsula? Here are two multi-day options for bikepacking the Olympic Adventure Trail:

1. As an out-and-back

Bikepacking.com has a 1 day/2 night out-and-back route. This is a great way to explore the full trail and see both the eastern side and the western side.

On day 1, you’ll ride the trail from east to west starting at the eastern trailhead. Spend the night at the Log Cabin Resort Campground.

On day 2, retrace your route back across the Adventure trail to where you started.

2. A 5-day trip from coast to coast

If you’re like me, out-and-backs are kind of boring. I prefer to have every day be new and fresh!

As I mentioned before, I rode the Olympic Adventure Trail as part of my Cross-Washington bikepacking trip, but you could easily just do the Olympic Peninsula portion as a 5-day/4-night trip.

Bikepacker stopped on dirt trail surrounded by lush green temperate rainforest on Olympic Peninsula in Washington

This route is rugged, challenging, and adventurous, but an amazing way to see Olympic Peninsula. (If you prefer paved surfaces and an easier route, check out my 3-Day Olympic Discovery Trail Itinerary).

With roughly 18,500 ft of climbing over ~220 miles, it’s definitely an undertaking, but – in my opinion – absolutely worth it! In addition to the awesome Olympic Adventure Trail, this route also descends down the beautiful Lower Big Quilcene singletrack outside of the town of Quilcene.

If this sounds like your style, I’ve put together a 5-day/4-night Olympic Adventure Route itinerary to help you plan your trip!

need help planning your trip?

Download a 5-Day Olympic Adventure Trail Itinerary!

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

  • Downloadable GPS maps w/ markers
  • Day-by-day planning resources
  • A packing checklist
  • Links to websites
  • And more!
Add To Cart

Bikepacking Logistic

If you bikepack the Olympic Adventure Trail as a 1-night out-and-back, the logistics are pretty straightforward.

However, if you do a one-way trip, you’ll need to do a bit more planning. Here are a few logistics to consider:

  • Transportation: If you start in La Push on the Pacific Coast and end in Kingston, you’ll need to arrange transportation. The easiest option is to set up a self-shuttle with two cars. Alternatively, you can get a one-way transfer with Olympic Hiking Company, which is what I did for my trip. I provide more transportation information in my Olympic Discovery Trail post.
  • Food and water: Generally, food and water can be found pretty regularly across the full route. Pack a water filter.
  • Camping: Campgrounds can be found at regular intervals. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during the summer months.
  • Accommodations: If you prefer to sleep in a real bed, you can plan your trip to do so. Some days may be longer with more climbing, though.
  • Bike: This route is a mix of a bunch of different riding: dirt and gravel roads, paved multi-use paths, and mountain biking singletrack. I rode a hardtail Santa Cruz Chameleon with wide gravel tires and it worked great. You could do it on a fully rigid gravel bike, but the singletrack sections won’t be as fun. A short-travel full-suspension bike would also work well.
  • Gear & bikepacking bags: I always try to go as light as I can when bikepacking without giving up too much comfort. Use my bikepacking trip gear checklist to help pack for your trip. For bags, I’d try to avoid panniers since they’re a pain on singletrack (said from experience…).
Mountain biker riding on singletrack trail through lush Pacific Northwest forest on Olympic Peninsula in Washington

Final thoughts

Whether you’re heading out for a day ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route or you want to plan a multi-day bikepacking trip that includes the Olympic Adventure Trail, I hope you’ve found the inspiration and information you need to hit the trail.

I loved my ride on this super scenic and flowy stretch of singletrack and I have no doubt you will too!

What questions do you still have about the Olympic Adventure Trail? Have you ridden it? Would you do a 5-day bikepaacking trip from coast to coast? Leave a comment below!

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