Fall on the Olympic Peninsula is one of the most visually exciting times of the year to take off on your motorcycle and find the best of seasonal colors. The area is awash with beauty as the leaves turn to brilliant shades of ruby, amber and russet. It’s even more spectacular from the seat of your bike on roads that hug shorelines and wind through forests. Here are three favorite rides you won’t want to miss.
Hood Canal (Union to Port Townsend – 72 miles on US-101N)
Flanking the canal, you’ll weave through coastal farmland and follow the shoreline north through Hoodsport where a series of waterside S-curves begin. Past Eldon you’ll find long sweepers until the road curls around the Duckabush River delta. Several biker-friendly watering holes can be found along the way. You’ll pass through Olympic National Forest into Quilcene and then pass high above stunning Discovery Bay en route to Port Townsend.
Hurricane Ridge (Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge’s Visitor Center – 19 miles on Hurricane Ridge Road)
You’ll discover serious ”twisties” as you ascend with thick forests alongside the road. The scenery only gets better as the climb continues and trees recede, replaced by glacier-worn rock and alpine meadows. As the embankment falls off on the left and gets steeper, be prepared for a few heart-pounding moments. Once at the top, take time to walk around, check out the visitor center, and indulge in breathtaking views. The ride down is a panorama of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island in the distance.
West Side (Port Angeles to Lake Quinault – 123 miles on US-101W)
Twenty minutes from town, the road skirts magnificent Lake Crescent on smooth, recently paved curves merging into several long straightaways into Forks. Further on, you’ll know you’ve entered Olympic National Park when the trees are so tall the moist sea air clings to them. A line of forest gives you veiled glimpses of the ocean as you parallel the edge of the continent then swerve east for another series of straightaways to Lake Quinault.
Whether you come for a day ride or choose to stay and tour for several days, there are many more roads to explore. Ride the full “loop” skirting Olympic National Park or take the Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway on Highway 112. Learn about additional road trips at https://olympicpeninsula.org/road-trips/.