Two days motorcycling the Olympic Peninsula

July 30, 2016/Jonathan Rundle/8 Comments

Two great days in my favorite Washington destination – motorcycling the Olympic Peninsula. The rugged beauty of the peninsula is without compare.

This post serves as a starting point for a few more destinations on the trip. In this 650 mile loop+more of the peninsula, in this post, we’ll visit Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and the Hoh Rainforest. Visit these other posts to read about Neah Bay, Cape Flattery, Hobuck Beach, and Lake Quinault and the surrounding wilderness.

Let’s roll

Starting at Hood Canal, I pick up a new friend for this journey, Matthew. He very capably rides a BMW GS, while I’ll be putting on my adventure boy pants in the Tiger 1050.

Exploring the roads around Port Townsend, I can tell Matthew knows the area well. This is great since I’ve always stuck to the main roads (which are still plenty of fun) but have wanted to venture onto Hwy 101’s many tributaries.

Hurricane Ridge

After a lunch stop in sunny Sequim, we’re onward to Hurricane Ridge. A place I’ve blogged about many times before. This time, the plan is to explore Obstruction Point Road, which dips down from the overlook and into the wilderness via a one-lane gravel road. Unfortunately, there are wildfires in the park which forced the park service to close the road. Darn.

We’d spend the rest of the trip making up for our lost off-road time.

Matt with Hurricane RidgeHurricane Ridge black and white

We left Hurricane Ridge via Little River Road, which has very little traffic, nice twisties and a gravel section that goes up into state trust lands.

Riding little river road

Popping back onto Hwy 101 until we split to Neah Bay. Click to read more on that part of the journey in another post. Between here and there, you are treated to edge-of-the-lake views of stunning Lake Crescent.

Lake Crescent by motorcycle

Hoh Rainforest

Around the horn, is the Hoh Rainforest. The Hoh can get up to 170 inches of rainfall per year. For comparison, “rainy” Seattle receives only 34 inches per year. No such rain today, we’ve got perfectly clear skies and the sunlight is tickling the moss as it filters through the trees. Too graphic?

Riding off-road motorcycles on Olympic PeninsulaRiding beside the Hoh River

The road through here is twisty and paved nicely—but on a busy day like today beware the park rangers. Matthew has been keen on seeing this huge tree he has visited before. Since I’ve never been to the Hoh, I think I need to see this tree.

Uh oh. The signs pointing to “Big Spruce Tree” seem to be pointing to this massive stump.

broken cedar tree hohBroken spruce tree hoh

On December 9, 2014, the tree, one of the world’s largest Sitka spruce trees, couldn’t take the wind and rain from a strong storm and snapped. It left behind this stump, called a snag, where birds are likely to nest. The other part of the tree remains on the forest floor and will become a nurse log, providing nutrients for seedlings.

Matthew posted a photo of his dad with the tree on Facebook, which I have added here for comparison.

matthew hoh cedar tree

Onward, we take another side trip from 101 to see another big tree, this time the “Duncan Cedar” the world’s largest Western Red Cedars.

Riding off-road motorcycles on Olympic Peninsula

Hey, cruisers aren’t supposed to be out here! Props to these guys for not only finding a little gravel but also for waving! After this road, things got a little more choppy, but nothing to chatter your teeth too badly.

Riding off-road motorcycles on Olympic Peninsulatallest western cedar

Standing tall at a height of 178 feet and with a diameter of 19.4 feet, the Duncan cedar is mostly a bleached skeleton with some living branches near the top. While this tree was saved from logging many years ago, the surrounding trees were not so lucky. Of course, the giant could not survive the fierce winds of the clear-cut that surrounded it. First, the mosses and then the tree itself began to die. So, it is an impressive sight, but it’s too bad it isn’t a healthier tree.

More motorcycling the Olympic Peninsula

Next, we’re going to ride the incredibly fun roads surrounding Lake Quinault!

quinault river crossing

Comments (8)

  • Marsha Parker . July 26, 2020 . Reply

    Hi there. We are planning to ride around the Olympic Peninsula next weekend spending the night in Sequim. I noticed one of your pics showed a gravel road. Where is that road? I’m a little nervous. Also do you think finishing the loop from Sequim to Gig Harbor is too much for one day?

    • (Author) Jonathan Rundle . July 27, 2020 . Reply

      The loop around the Peninsula (Hwy 101) is fully paved. Unless you go looking for gravel, you won’t run into it. 101/110/112/113 are all major roads and are paved. As far as it being too much, it depends! I would be okay with that, but it would be a full day. Luckily the days are long here at this time of the year. Hopefully, you are riding to the top of Hurricane Ridge, then spending some time along the coast, perhaps to La Push? Be advised that some of this land is Tribal, so make sure all of your stops are accessible with COVID. Tribes have been a little more restrictive. Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

  • Dale D DRESEL . June 24, 2019 . Reply

    Beautiful, We are heading up to Washington to do some riding, We want to hit Rainier, Olympus, Hood, Shasta, Crater Lake, Tahoe, Bryce and Zion on the way and Big Trees on the way back. July 9 to July 25th Bike on the trailer until we get to where we want to ride.

    • (Author) Jonathan Rundle . June 28, 2019 . Reply

      Excellent trip! I have some other blog posts about Rainier, Hood, Crater Lake, Bryce, and Zion. If you do a search here on the blog you’re sure to find them. Have a good ride!

  • Jo Walsh . August 9, 2016 . Reply

    Thanks for the beautiful ride. I really liked the ride by the lake and Hurricane Ridge .

  • Sandy . August 9, 2016 . Reply

    Amazing…..just amazing…..

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