The New Northwest Passage

Olympic Coast
By Ronald Strickland, Pacific Northwest Trail Founder
  |  Gorp.com

The Pacific Northwest Trail's Olympic Peninsula sections begin at the Keystone Ferry at Port Townsend, Washington. The route then leaves the quaint Victorian town and runs south along the Quimper Peninsula. From the foot of Discovery Bay, the PNT's Olympic Peninsula goal is Cape Alava, the northwestern-most point in the lower forty-eight. Since the Olympic Mountains receive some of America's highest snowfalls, the PNT includes both a summer high route and a four-season low route. Highlights of the former in Olympic National Park include the Gray Wolf River; Hurricane Ridge; the Elwha River; the High Divide; the Bogachiel River; and the wilderness coast. Each of these areas will provide you with high-quality day hikes or overnight backpacks.

The PNT's alternate way to the Pacific Ocean is the Olympic Discovery Trail. Developed by the Olympic Trails Coalition, this route follows railroad grades westward without entering the mountains. The Trail traverses hay fields and fir forests on its way to and beyond the city of Port Angeles. Many access points distinguish this front-country trail.

Who to Contact

Wilderness Information Center
Olympic National Park
600 E. Park Ave.
Port Angeles, WA 98362(360)452-0300

Olympic Trails Coalition
PO Box 1836
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Recommended Trip

Port Townsend to Four Corners , 8.3 miles.

From the ferry terminal south of Port Townsend's Water Street business district the PNT follows an abandoned railroad grade to Four Corners near Adelma Beach. Go south along Water Street (or, at low tide, along the beach) past many small businesses. Continue all the way to the marina at the south end of town. The trail follows the view-rich shore to the sandy bluffs near the mill at Glen Cove. Eventually the railroad grade trail passes under the Rte. 20 overpass and the overpass of Discovery Road. Continue on the stress/traffic-free grade another 4.0 miles to just west of Four Corners.

Getting There

The most fun way to reach Port Townsend is the Keystone Ferry from Whidbey Island. For sailing times call the Washington State Ferry System at (206)464-6400.

To reach Port Townsend from Seattle, take the Edmonds-Kingston ferry and follow the signs to Port Angeles; turn off (north) following the signs to Port Townsend.

Permit Information

No permits are required for this Port Townsend hike.

Maps and Guidebook

The best map is the 7 1/2' USGS Port Townsend, South. Also refer to the PNT Guidebook.


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