Explore the Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic Discovery Trail Lake Crescent
A section of the Olympic Discovery Trail near Lake Crescent

Come discover the sights along Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail. The 130-mile long public path crosses the Olympic Peninsula, from the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend to the pristine shores of the Pacific at La Push.

Myriad hiking trails and walking paths crisscross Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Few are as long or storied, however, as the Olympic Discovery Trail.

And it all started in 1988 … or maybe I should say 1914?

A Little History

The genesis of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) is an abandoned and historic railroad corridor. Trains once linked the peninsula to the mainland, hauling both passengers and raw materials. Over the years, however, other methods of transportation eclipsed the rail lines and, by 1985, the gig was up.

Luckily, three enterprising and forward thinking biking enthusiasts saw potential in the old rail corridor. They formed the Peninsula Trails Coalition (PTC) and immediately began working towards creating the Olympic Discovery Trail.

130 miles is a daunting distance, however, and the railroad was already removing track and selling off their right of way. Consequently, the ODT is a work in progress with only 80 miles complete. Despite that, it is possible to travel the trail’s full length via a combination of trail segments and existing roads.

Along the Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic Discovery Trail East End Port Townsend
Port Townsend on the East End

The ODT is designed for foot, horseback, and bicycle traffic. Dogs are permitted but should be controlled and cleaned up after.

The trail runs the gamut of all the Peninsula has to offer, winding through fields and parks, past farms and beaches, and over rivers, ravines, and historic railroad trestles. The trail is composed of four distinct sections: the East End, East Central, West Central, and West End.

The East End starts off in Port Townsend, the West End at La Push – just 15 minutes down the road from Manitou Lodge. In fact, the West End of the trail passes right by our Olympic Peninsula lodging, along La Push Road!

Olympic Discovery Trail West End La Push
La Push at the West End

The West End or Forest & Ocean section of the ODT is just under 42 miles long. Most of this section of the trail runs alongside two-lane roadways before arriving at First Beach and LaPush. There are also side trails near the end that lead to Third and Second Beaches.

You can download the ODT West Map here.

There’s no need to stick to just one portion of the trail, however. Not whenthere’s so much to see! Other trail sections lead past highlights like Lake Crescent, the Port Angeles City Pier, Elwha River, Jamestown S’Klallam campus, Port Townsend, and Discovery Bay, to name just a few.

Visit the Olympic Discovery Trail website for more information.

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