Ride Around Washington
16th Annual Ride Around Washington
Olympic Peninsula & Coast
August 3 - 9, 2014
The first route of the four-year RAW Cycle, the “Olympic Peninsula & Coast” ride, was designed with newbies in mind. The route has shorter (65-70 mile average) and less-hilly daily rides than in years past. This route features numerous iconic Pacific Northwest locations throughout the tour, and is a favorite because of its diverse terrain, excellent roads and gorgeous scenery. Download the guides below for a complete listing of ride policies and route details.
Registration is now open for RAW, and we expect the ride to sell out. Register now so you don't miss out!
Day 1: Sunday, Aug. 3
La Conner to Coupeville, 47 miles, 2900 foot elevation gain
Our route starts in the historic maritime community of La Conner. Nestled at the south end of the Swinomish Channel and just a 90-minute drive from Seattle, La Conner makes an excellent starting venue. Plan on providing your own breakfast today, as the meal service starts en-route at the lunch stop (light snacks are provided at morning stop, though). Following a brief mandatory rider meeting at 10:15 a.m. at La Conner Middle School, we begin riding south and cross the channel on the Rainbow Bridge to Fidalgo Island. Staying off the main roads, we explore the island as we move toward the always spectacular Deception Pass Bridges. You’ll want to have your camera ready to snap a few pictures. Once on Whidbey Island, we traverse the eastern shore as we move towards Oak Harbor. As we pass through the main part of the town, we follow the shoreline around Penn Cove, famous for its tasty mussels. Once around the western end of the cove, we follow tree-lined Madrona Way into Coupeville.
Day 2: Monday, Aug. 4
Coupeville to Port Angeles, 70 miles, 3600 foot elevation gain
What would RAW be without crossing bodies of water? As Day 2 starts we head south towards Ft. Casey State Park and the ferry to Port Townsend. Fort Casey and its sister forts provided protection for Puget Sound from the late 1890s through World War II. After a 35-minute ferry ride, we wind through Port Townsend and head for Discovery Bay. We follow the shore beforing heading west and looping around Sequim Bay and into Sequim (Fun fact: being in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, the residents of Sequim enjoy a drier climate than the rest of the Puget Sound region). From Sequim we swing by Dungeness Spit and head west towards Port Angeles on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Day 3: Tuesday, Aug. 5
Port Angeles, rest day (or a fabulous DIY ride!)
There are many activities available to you in Port Angeles. Enjoy the maritime environment or visit the various eating and drinking establishments. There are any number of bicycle routes, including the rewarding18-mile, 5,200-foot climb to Hurricane Ridge. Or maybe a ferry ride to Victoria, BC is to your liking (don’t forget your passport!). Rest day is also a great opportunity to stay in camp trading stories with other riders, catching up with old friends or grabbing a much-needed nap.
Day 4: Wednesday, Aug. 6
Port Angeles to Forks, 70 miles, 3100 foot elevation gain
It’s time to continue our westward journey and enjoy more beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. From Port Angeles we head northwest towards the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Along the way we trace the beach at Crescent Bay, taking in stunning scenery. As we turn away from the water and start heading south, we pass through Pysht, cross over the Sol Duc and Calawah Rivers and rejoin US Hwy 101 into Forks.
Day 5: Thursday, Aug. 7th
Forks to Amanda Park, 65 miles, 1900 foot elevation gain
Our southward journey continues as we pass through highly-productive forests. We swing to the west along the Pacific Ocean as we go through a portion of the Olympic National Park near Ruby Beach and Kalaloch. Keep space available on your memory cards for the numerous snapshot opportunities we encounter. As we cross the Queets River, we are heading inland toward Lake Quinault and Amanda Park. As Day 5 is a shorter day, you should have plenty of time to enjoy the ocean, scenery and forests.
Day 6: Friday, Aug. 8
Amanda Park to Raymond, 92 miles, 1900 foot elevation gain
From Amanda Park, we continue south. Passing through Humptulips, we are able to get off the main road and enter Hoquiam from the north. Our route takes us across the Chehalis River and into Aberdeen. From Aberdeen, we turn west for another visit to the Pacific Ocean. As we pass Twin Harbor Beaches State Park, we travel a fair distance along the ocean. There are any number of beaches where you can take a rest and dip your toes in the ocean. Upon reaching Willipa Bay, we are forced to turn east and follow the Willapa River to our day’s destination in Raymond.
Day 7: Saturday, Aug. 9
Raymond to Illwaco and Cape Disappointment, 49 miles, 1500 foot elevation gain
Sadly, our route is coming to an end. From Raymond we pedal west and follow the shore of Willapa Bay. Depending on the tides, you may see lots of water or vast expanses of tidal flats (it’s impressive what a difference a few hours make). Swinging around the south end of Willapa Bay, we pass through Illwaco on our way to our final destination and lunch at Cape Disappointment State Park. The state park is situated on the north side of the Columbia River where it joins the Pacific Ocean. Given the large amount of water flowing into the ocean, the forces of nature are intense. At the park, you will have time to visit the lighthouse and a rocky beach with pounding waves. The return buses will leave Ilwaco at 2:30 p.m. and make a 2.5 hour journey back to Seattle's UW starting area. We should have you back by about 5 p.m.