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Shelton to Sequim

  • Distance: 84 miles
  • Routes: SR 101, SR 19
  • Estimated Driving Time: 1.5 hours

Cutting across the highway are many rivers and small streams. Dominating the horizon on the left, forested foothills rise in an ascending series to the saw-toothed Olympics, clear-cut and dazzling in bright sunlight, at other times veiled in mist or shrouded in storm clouds, which creep down the canyons and spread out over the lowlands. At infrequent intervals forest roads wind into the deep fragrant woods, bright with wild currants and rhododendron in bloom, splashes of red elderberry, and cascades of creamy-white spiraea and ocean spray.

On the right, seldom entirely out of range of vision, is Hood Canal, sleeping in the summer sun, its oily calm broken only by chance ripples or the forked wake of motor boat or fishing craft; or lying black and still at midnight, except when a leaping salmon or the oar of a passing boatman strikes balls of phosphorescent fire from its surface. At widely separated intervals, small settlements appear along the highway or perched above the water’s edge, where tiny docks on barnacle-encrusted pilings afford anchorage to fishing smacks, pleasure craft, and rowboats; and here and there the forests are broken by clearings, small ranches, and dairy farms.

Leading slightly inland, the route cuts across the neck of Quimper Peninsula, down which a branch road turns to Port Townsend; skirts the tip of Discovery Bay, and then turns left along the Juan de Fuca Strait to Sequim.

The tour winds through low hills, where small farms and chicken ranches alternate with patches of immature evergreen and clumps of alder, and skirts the tip of Eld Inlet, known locally as Mud Bay, and of Oyster Bay. Glimpsed through the trees are the stakes of oyster beds and, when the tide is out, the muddy flats dotted with shallow pools left by the ebbing water. Suddenly the highway lifts itself away from salt water and traverses a stretch where sturdy second-growth trees, stump lands, and small areas of virgin timber are intermingled. In the valleys of this rolling country are scattered farmhouses surrounded by gnarled old fruit trees, berry fields, pastures, and truck gardens.

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Seat of Mason County, spreads in neat squares over the flats bordering the bay. From here highways radiate to all parts of the peninsula. In 1853 David Shelton settled on a donation claim; then other settlers began to arrive, at first slowly and then more rapidly as the demand for logs and cut timber grew. In 1884 the town was platted and named for its first settler. For a number...

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Points of Interest
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Shelton Public Library and Town Hall

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Mason County Courthouse

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Goldsborough Creek Bridge

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Simpson Logging Company Locomotive No. 7 & Peninsular Railway Caboose No. 700

A stretch of open grassland with scattered clumps of trees, was named for John Tucker Scott, who settled here in 1854. Two of his children won prominence as journalists; Harvey W. Scott, veteran editor of The Oregonian, a Portland daily, and Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, editor, writer, and pioneer advocate of woman suffrage. Today, Scott’s Prairie has given way to expanded residential and industrial growth from Shelton.

Learn more about Scott’s Prairie

Mile: 345

Much of this region, logged off in the early twentieth century, is covered by half-mature fir and cedar; small sections, however, are still denuded wastes, where blackened stumps and bleaching snags are half-hidden by clumps of alder and hazel arid brightened by the purplish-red of fire-weed in bloom. Scattered along the route are farm homes surrounded by old orchards, meadows of timothy and sweet clover, gardens, and neat squares of...

Learn more about Brockdale

Mile: 341

The tour passes through the Skokomish Indian Tribe Reservation. Despite being established by treaty in 1855, the nearly 5,000-acre reservation has witnessed non-tribal development, including power projects constructed by the City of Tacoma, which has created difficulties for the tribe. In response, the Skokomish, or “Big River People,” filed land claims through the court system and were awarded $374,000 in 1965, with the money used for the purchase of a...

Learn more about Skokomish

Mile: 337

The canal is really not a canal but an 80-mile-long, tide-washed channel from Admiralty Inlet. Gravelly beaches, stretches of sedge-covered lowlands, and gold-brown tide flats frame the placid waters. Rafts of logs sleep in protected inlets, and fishing craft rock safely at anchor or cut their way across the placid surface of the water. For miles the highway hugs the western shore of the canal, into which flow numerous creeks...

Learn more about Hood Canal

Mile: 336

Created in 1960 on land belonging to the Skokomish, is a tract of shoreline along Hood Canal. The park offers year-round activities, from boating and water recreation in the summer to snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter months. On the west side of US 101 opposite Hood Canal stands the Cushman Powerhouse No. 2, part of the Cushman Hydro Project the City of Tacoma undertook in the 1920s. The classically...

Learn more about Potlatch State Park

Mile: 335

Native American for “to give”, the commercial headquarters of the Skokomish Native American Reservation, was named for the Native American custom of exchanging gifts—blankets, canoes, baskets, guns, and other articles—at a community feast. Here stood the Potlatch House, center of activities during the festivals of former days. Many of the Skokomish Native Americans have embraced the Shaker religion, which John Slocum, a member of the Squaxin Island Tribe, is credited...

Learn more about Potlatch

Mile: 334

The city spreads westward toward abruptly rising hills and eastward down to the water's edge. Once Hoodsport was a bustling logging town, but today its income comes largely from vacationists, transient trade, and small-scale fishing operations. Native to the waters adjacent to Hoodsport is a small species of shrimp; the firm texture and delicate flavor brought so great a demand that over-fishing resulted. Now only strict adherence to conservation measures...

Learn more about Hoodsport

Mile: 332

Tour runs like a quiet, shaded lane between Hood Canal, visible through the interstices of the trees, and forested foothills that march upward to rocky, snow-capped peaks. Occasionally an old logging road or trail leads into the somber woods, where dense undergrowth of huckleberry and salmonberry bushes, salal, Oregon grape, and ferns forms an unbroken carpet. Here and there water from hidden springs trickles down exposed embankments to form shallow...

Learn more about Clark Creek

Mile: 331

The town straggles along the highway and the shores of Lilliwaup Bay. Years ago, the town was a center of logging activity and an outfitting point for prospectors working in the upper Skokomish River country. Today, about a dozen structures make up the Town of Lilliwaup, a Native American word meaning “inlet.” The Lilliwaup School served students from 1904–1944. At present it is the town’s community club.

Learn more about Lilliwaup

Mile: 327

On Hamma Hamma Bay, was a brisk town in the early 1900's, when logging operations on the upper Hamma Hamma River were extensive. During the 1930s, a CCC side camp was stationed near the river. Weathered buildings along the bay and an abandoned railroad fill are reminders of this vanished activity. Constructed in 1924, two identical concrete tied-arch bridges that span the South Hamma Hamma River and North Hamma River...

Learn more about Eldon
Points of Interest
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South and North Hamma Hamma River Bridges

Mile: 320

Lies at the mouth of the Dosewallips River. Much of this fertile delta has been drained and converted into fine farm land. A ferry, no longer in existence, once connected with Seabeck on the Kitsap Peninsula. It is named for Elwell P. Brinnon who was the first Euro-American settler. This part of the Hood Canal is a regular camping ground for local tribal members, who have permanent homes along Juan...

Learn more about Brinnon

Mile: 308

A concrete, through tied, ribbed arch was constructed on Highway 101 over the Duckabush River in 1934 by the West Coast Construction Company. The 168-foot bridge consists of a 110 foot concrete arch and two concrete girder spans. Unlike the flat truss or girder, the arch exerts a horizontal thrust on the skewbacks. In most arches, massive abutments and foundations are necessary to resist the horizontal thrust. However, in the...

Learn more about Duckabush River Bridge

Mile: 307

The name is for the Native American people who once lived there, the Quil-ceed-a-bish. In 1841, the Wilkes Expedition charted the place as Kwil-sid. Other spellings that have been used are Kol-sids, Col-cene, Col-see-ed, and Cul-ah-seen. The tribal name means saltwater people. The town centers along the river flats and straggles down to the water's edge. The lowlands where the town now stands were settled in the late 1860s, when...

Learn more about Quilcene
Points of Interest
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Quilcene Ranger Station

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Oatman House

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Hamilton-Worthington House

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Quilcene Bay

Mile: 295

The tour turns from the water and runs through a scattering of small farms, dairy and chicken ranches, patches of stump lands, and stands of timber. Numerous small streams make their way down the wooded slopes and through open glades. Leland is a small community on Lake Hooker. Residents chose the name Lealand for the first post office. The first 3 letters were the initials of Laura E. Andrews. Postal...

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Mile: 290

The Uncas (Discovery Bay School) is significant because it represents a significant trend, consolidation of the educational system. Consolidation of one room schools and numerous school districts occurred throughout eastern Jefferson County during this period. Also, high school courses began being offered for the first time, including the Discovery Bay School. The mill at Port Discovery had been closed for same time but numerous settlers remained in the valley and...

Learn more about Uncas School

Mile: 283

It served as a minor shipping point for lumber and logs and home port for a few small fishing craft. It was in this bay that Vancouver anchored his vessels in 1792, when he set out in his cutter, pinnace, and long boat, on the foggy morning of May 7, to explore the shoreline to the eastward. The area lying between the bay and Port Townsend Bay to the east...

Learn more about Discovery Bay
Points of Interest
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Vancouver’s Landing

A community on the west shore of Port Discovery Bay south of its entrance. The name is for Herbert B. Gardner, who founded the community in 1911, and logged about 4,000 acres of timber on the Olympic Peninsula. When a post office was established in 1916, Mrs. Gardner had the “I” inserted in the name, as the family name had originally been Gardiner.

Learn more about Gardiner

Mile: 276

Located at the tip of picturesque Sequim Bay. Old buildings nestle at the base of a cliff. Newer construction along the road marks the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center, including a community center building, art gallery, and viewpoint that points north to Sequim Bay. Once an important logging center at the southwest end of Sequim Bay. It was named for Capt. Marshall Blyn, an early government land inspector who lived nearby....

Learn more about Blyn

Mile: 271

A natural park, with towering trees and native shrubbery. Roads wind through the forest to secluded retreats for camping and picnicking. The park offers camping, swimming, fishing, and clamming. First opened in 1923 as a community project it was acquired by the state beginning in 1936. There are 26 campsites with “hook ups” 60 regular campsites, an environmental learning center, a residence, kitchen shelters and some hiking trails. During World...

Learn more about Sequim Bay State Park

Mile: 269

It has a dry, sunny climate, with low precipitation and irrigated farms being in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The name is a Clallam Native American word meaning quiet waters, pronounced “Skwim.” Sequim’s growth can be attributed to the relatively arid, sunny climate—in the 1990s and early 2000s, the area witnessed residential development, especially north, towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Each summer, Sequim attracts thousands of...

Learn more about Sequim
Points of Interest
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Sequim Town Hall

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