Wednesday, April 25, 2012

100km Scenic Loop in the Port Angeles area

(Port Angeles)
In a nutshell, this ride starts in downtown Port Angeles near the start of the Olympic discovery Trail, follows that for a mile, climbs uptown past Peninsula College, to the Olympic National Park visitors center, long climb up to Heart o' The Hills and Lake Dawn, descends (on gravel) via Little River Road to Black Diamond Road, descends westward further )on chipseal) to Olympic Hot Springs Road and Hwy 101, continues a gradual ascent to north western end of Lake Crescent, heads north (on gravel) down to Hwy 112, heading flat east to Joyce, descends to sea level at Crescent Bay and Salt Creek Recreation Area, gradually climbs back up to Hwy 112, going east to Elwha River Road and the new Elwha River Bridge, takes a nice flat MUP back to the western neighborhoods of Port Angeles, descends down to Ediz Hook and then back to downtown.  (See maps; two posts down).

The route itself measures just a hair under 100km with ~2700 ft climbing.  With small incidental side trips along the way, most riders will put in a few extra km.  (You can unwind with a few laps around the block if your odometer says you haven't done the full century yet.)

There are a good number of conveniently spaced cafes and stores along the way where you can get food and liquids, so if you don't feel like it, you don't need to pack much at all on this trip.

PLEASE NOTE:  Because this route involves about 9 miles of gravel roads and paths, appropriate tires for that kind of surface are recommended.  I've ridden those sections on a standard steel road bike with 700x28c tires pumped up to about 90psi and got through the dirt road sections fine (with some caution) but you have to pick your way through it carefully in some short sections.   Anything but real hard, skinny racing tires should be be OK.

NEW FOR 2018:  An alternate first leg will be used due to construction on the Road to Heart o' the Hills.  It's a lot less climbing than the original first leg and cuts a few miles off as well.  If you're not sure you can go the whole distance, there's plenty of "bailout" places along the route where you can just turn around and ride back to town.

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