Pacific Northwest Bicycle Touring Loop
Two months and 2,270 miles through Washington, Oregon, and Northern California
In May 2021, we embarked on a two month bicycle tour of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) with our good friend Marcus. This was our first big tour with our around-the-world bikes and we were still waiting for COVID lock-downs to calm down a bit, so a U.S. tour seemed like a good way to start our expedition. All three of us were interested in spending more time in the PNW, so we boxed up our bikes and met up in Seattle, which would be our start and end point.
We started off riding the Olympic Discovery Trail and Pacific Coast Highway down to the Redwoods, then headed east to link up with the Oregon Outback bikepacking route and the Sierra Cascades Adventure Cycling Association route.
You can download the full GPX track of our route here. We’ve broken the tour into a few different posts which are linked below.
Time Frame: May 5 – June 27, 2021
World Bicycle Tour Days: 1-54
Olympic Discovery Trail and Pacific Coast Highway
The first section of our Pacific Northwest bicycle tour was on the Olympic Discovery Trail and the Pacific Coast Highway. Read about this part of the journey here.
Oregon Outback Bikepacking Route
The Oregon Outback is a 364-mile bikepacking route that traverses the length of the state. The route starts in Klamath Falls and ends at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area. Read about our experience bikepacking the Oregon Outback here.
Sierra Cascades Route
After completing the Oregon Outback, we followed the Columbia River west to Cascade Locks, where we joined the Sierra Cascades Adventure Cycling Association route. The transition from desert to rain forest seemed almost instantaneous and it rained for several days after we crossed into Washington. The route passes near Mount St. Helens, but we couldn’t see it at all due to the cloud cover.
We then rode into Yakima and the drier part of the state before heading through Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Park. We had beautiful weather in North Cascades and found a nice spot to set up camp and take a rest day in the woods. Finally, we spent a few days on the San Juan Islands before heading back to Seattle and ending where we started – at the Red Roof Inn Airport Hotel.
The Sierra Cascades route was mostly on pavement and incorporated some nice sections of bike path, though it was primarily on low-traffic byways. We did a mix of state/county campgrounds and wild camping.
The Pacific Northwest is a stunning area with a huge variety of ecosystems and climate. We cycled through rain forest, the high desert, past snowy mountains and along rugged coastline all in the span of two months. While the traffic was heavy along the coast in certain areas, there were good amenities for cyclists and frequent options for less-traveled byways.