Plans moving ahead to close gap on Olympic Peninsula Trail

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The goal of connecting Port Townsend with the rest of the Olympic Discovery Trail got a major boost last month when Jefferson County leaders voted to study the feasibility of possible trail routes linking the city to the rest of the trail.

The Olympic Discovery Trail is envisioned as a 126-mile-long bicycle trail along the Strait of Juan de Fuca between the Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean. Currently, the rail-trail rolls for some 70 off-road miles with spectacular scenery along the coastline and in the forests.

Olympic Discovery Trail bridge over the Elwha River

Olympic Discovery Trail bridge over the Elwha River

One of the most vexing and dangerous gaps on the route runs on the busy truck route of State Route 20 from the end of the Larry Scott Memorial Trail in Port Townsend to the head of Discovery Bay about six miles away. [See map below]

Work is underway to connect Discovery Bay to the Olympic Discovery Trail as it heads westward toward Blyn and Sequim. That section of trail is called Discovery Bay South.

Olympic Discovery Trail mileage

Olympic Discovery Trail mileage

The next major target is building  a trail — to be named Eaglemont Trail — between Discovery Bay and the Port Townsend trail toward the east.

[Many sections of the Olympic Discovery Trail have their own names — Larry Scott Memorial, Discovery Bay South, Spruce Railroad, etc.]

Former Congressman Norm Dicks, who continues to work on behalf of the trail, says:

Trail “hikers, bicyclists, mobility impaired persons, biketouring groups, and motorists will all be safer, healthier, and happier with a trail bypassing SR20. And a completed worldclass ODT should be great for the economy.”

Port Townsend skyline from Larry Scott Memorial Trail

Port Townsend skyline from Larry Scott Memorial Trail

The Olympic Discovery Trail already draws bicycle travelers to the forests and maritime communities on the northern shores of the Olympic Peninsula. It was chosen Trail of the Month in 2012 by Rails to Trails Conservancy.

State Route 20 is a narrow two-lane highway with lots of truck traffic. The shoulder is not much wider than the fog line painted at the edge. I wouldn’t recommend it for bike travel, but it’s the only way west from Port Townsend. Loading your bike onto Jefferson County Transit to Blyn or Sequim is another option.

According to a press release from Peninsula Trails Coalition:

Jeff Selby, vicepresident of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, says that the next step is to fund the study, which his organization hopes to accomplish soon, with the object of completing the study within the next four months so that grant funding for construction of first section(s) of the trail can perhaps be applied for in May 2016.

If you want to help get this section of trail underway, check out the ODT Eaglemount fund campaign pursued by the Peninsula Trail Coalition.


More information about the Olympic Discovery Trail at



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