No permits required. You'll share the trail with other trail runners, hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. No reliable water source on trail. Spotty cell service.
Officially called the Olympic Discovery Trail
Adventure Route, locals call this point-to-point trail the OAT. It's a 25-mile point-to-point singletrack trail from Hwy 112 to Lake Crescent featuring long inclines and descents along the way. The first 3.5 miles are mostly uphill until the Living Room, where you're rewarded with a stout wooden bench and great views of the Bailey Range to the south.
From the Living Room, continue west for more rolling hills and switchbacks, deep mossy forest, and views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island, Canada, to the north. Around MP20, you'll hit a gravel logging road; take a right, follow it all the way to its end, then turn left and continue on to Lake Crescent. BONUS: Connect with the Spruce Railroad Trail
(part of the Olympic Discovery Trail
) for another 4 miles of singletrack along the lake.
PARKING: The main eastern trailhead is next to the small parking turnout on Hwy 112 near the Elwha River, about 15 minutes west of Port Angeles. More parking (and portapotty) is available nearby off Dan Kelly Road (watch for the sign saying Olympic Discovery Trail
/Adventure Route Equestrian Parking).
Spring wildflowers along the OAT include calypso orchids, trillium, and bleeding hearts. Frequently sighted birds include pileated woodpeckers, varied thrush, sooty grouse, and bald eagles. The occasional coyote, mountain beaver, cougar, and elk can be found here.