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Shelton to Megler

  • Distance: 396 miles
  • Routes: SR 101, SR 112, SR 110, SR 109, SR 105, SR 103
  • Estimated Driving time: 8 hours

Tour Overview

Washington’s longest byway, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway encompasses the glacially sculpted peaks and immense forests of the Olympic Peninsula. The byway showcases diverse geography from sea stacks along the wild ocean beaches, to lush estuaries. Travelers are drawn to the old-growth forests, and unique plants and wildlife of Olympic National Park, the living tribal cultures or the lifestyle of contemporary forestry and fishing communities.

US 101, the Olympic Peninsula and Pacific Ocean Highway, or Olympic Loop Highway, begins just west of Olympia, at the point where it leads northward from Interstate 5, skirts the many-fingered upper reaches of Puget Sound, and then cuts across to Hood Canal, which it follows to Quimper Peninsula. Swinging in a westerly direction, the route roughly parallels Juan de Fuca Strait for nearly 100 miles and then turns to the south and zigzags to Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay and the lower Columbia River country. Practically encircled by the route is the wilderness of the Olympic National Forest and the Olympic National Park, a region of rugged, white-tipped peaks and alpine valleys, steep wooded foothills, glaciers and crystal lakes, and turbulent, icy streams fed by the melting snows of the high mountains. A profusion of wild flowers, fostered by the heavy precipitation of fall and winter months, adds to the charm and beauty of this nearly primitive area. Thousands of deer and large herds of Roosevelt elk feed in the high meadows and browse in wooded glades, fish abound in the lakes and streams, ptarmigan and grouse whir across the roads and trails, and bears feed on the tender shrubs and berries. Access to this wilderness is possible from various points along US 101, by means of stub roads that run for short distances into the forests; here, some are met by rigorous mountain trails that lead to high plateaus and mountain meadows, through somber forest aisles, along precipitous slopes, and up the narrow valleys of cascading streams. Several of these trails can be followed on horseback. Resorts, camps, and forest shelters occur at fairly frequent intervals.

But the mountains are only a part of this wilderness wonderland. Salt water is never far distant. Side roads dart down to idyllic beach camps, where time is marked only by the changing shadows of towering fir and cedar upon the mirror of some protected bay or inlet; or they lead to picturesque fishing towns, Indian villages, white-walled lighthouses, seaports, sawmill towns, and isolated trading hamlets. Occasionally branch roads, and even the main highway, swing down to the precipitous, surf-thrashed coast, or to points from which can be seen the sweep of rolling green breakers, as they crash white-tipped upon hard-packed sands or thunder against jagged cliffs.

South of Aberdeen, the main route winds through high hills, some covered with heavy stands of maturing second- and third-growth forests, others bare except for bleaching stumps and charred logs. At Raymond the highway again reaches salt water and, swinging southward, skirts the east shore of Willapa Bay. Branch roads lead across marshlands and cranberry bogs down to the Pacific Ocean. Scattered along this section of the route are tidewater hamlets and beach resorts, Indian reservations, lighthouses on lonely promontories, and miles of sandy beaches, broken by jutting rocks over which the breakers tumble in a swirl of green water and white spume. The route ends at Megler on the Columbia, where a bridge connects with Astoria, Oregon, and the southward extension of US 101.

Shelton to Sequim

This tour follows the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway along SR 101, leaving the well-settled industrial and agricultural region at the head of Puget Sound, heads northward through sparsely populated prairies and logged-off hills to Hood Canal, and then pursues a quiet way along the wooded western shore to Quimper Peninsula and Discovery Bay.

This leg of the tour has 23 waypoints and 6 side trip tours

Key Waypoints along Shelton to Sequim

Skokomish

The tour passes through the Skokomish Indian Tribe Reservation. Despite being established by treaty in 1855, the nearly 5,000-acre reservation... Visit

Hood Canal

The canal is really not a canal but an 80-mile-long, tide-washed channel from Admiralty Inlet. Gravelly beaches, stretches of sedge-covered... Visit

Sequim

It has a dry, sunny climate, with low precipitation and irrigated farms being in the rain shadow of the Olympic... Visit

Side trips along Shelton to Sequim

Squaxin Island Tribal Center

This 14 mile side trip leads out to the Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library and Research Center.

Lake Cushman

This 9 mile side trip travels up into the mountains abutting Hood Canal to Lake Cushman, created as part of the City of Tacoma’s hydroelectric power development.

Mount Walker

This short side trip wraps up to a notable viewpoint for stunning views of the surrounding area and Hood Canal.

Port Townsend

The 45 mile side trip explores the communities and rich history of Quimper Peninsula.

Dungeness

This 10 mile side trip explores the maritime and farming communities that developed along Dungeness River and New Dungeness Bay.

Key Waypoints along Sequim to Forks

Sequim

It has a dry, sunny climate, with low precipitation and irrigated farms being in the rain shadow of the Olympic... Visit

Port Angeles

The largest city in and the seat of Clallam County, it is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca across... Visit

Forks

A thriving little logging town near the forks of three rivers, the Calawah, the Bogachiel, and the Soleduck. In marked... Visit

Side trips along Sequim to Forks

Hurricane Ridge

This 40 mile side trip travels high up into the Olympic Mountains affording a spectacular introduction to the National Park.

Neah Bay

This 78 mile side trip follows the Strait of Juan de Fuca out to Neah Bay and the Makah Nation passing through several maritime communities and enjoying spectacular scenery.

Glines Canyon

This 20 mile side trip follows the path of the Elwha River to the former dam site at Glines Canyon before continuing further into the mountains to the Olympic Hot Springs.

Sol Duc

The 24 mile side trip extends up the Sol Duc river valley below the Olympic Mountains.

La Push

This side 38 mile trip extends out to the Quillayute Native American Reservation. It was designated in the Quinault River Treaty of July 1, 1855, and was established by an executive order dated February 19, 1889.

Side trips along Sequim to Forks

There are no side trips along this tour leg.

Key Waypoints along Forks to Hoquiam

Forks

A thriving little logging town near the forks of three rivers, the Calawah, the Bogachiel, and the Soleduck. In marked... Visit

Moclips

At the mouth of the Moclips River, it was once a center of cedar shingle and shake manufacturing. The name... Visit

Pacific Beach

The descriptive name was given when the first hotel was built in the 1890s. A plat was filed May 26,... Visit

Hoquiam

Hoquiam is situated on deep water at the mouth of the Hoquiam River, 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean, facing... Visit

Side trips along Forks to Hoquiam

Hoh Valley

This 36 mile side trip passes through a vast area that drains the western slopes of Mount Olympus. Roughly paralleling the winding course of the Hoh River, the side road enters sections of the Olympic National Forest.

Hoh Indian Reservation

This 22 mile side trip leads out to the Pacific Ocean.

Lake Quinault

This 38 mile side trip travels along the south bank of Lake Quinault, continuing up the Quinault River.

Humptulips

This 32 mile side trip follows the West Fork of the Hoquiam River passing through small logging communities.

Side trips along Forks to Hoquiam

There are no side trips along this tour leg.

Key Waypoints along Hoquiam to Megler

Hoquiam

Hoquiam is situated on deep water at the mouth of the Hoquiam River, 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean, facing... Visit

Aberdeen

Aberdeen lies at the confluence of the Chehalis and the Wishkah Rivers, facing Grays Harbor. The larger of the cities... Visit

Raymond

A lively and independent little town on the estuary of the Willapa River. It derives its prosperity from lumber manufacture,... Visit

Johnson’s Landing

A crossroads of SR 4 and SR 101, with views of Long Island, seven miles long, sprawls lazily across the... Visit

Ilwaco

At one time it was a southern terminus of a narrow-gauge railroad which extended north to Nahcotta. The town was... Visit

Side trips along Hoquiam to Megler

Cosmopolis

This 16 mile side trip extends out to Cosmopolis, one of the first sawmill centers established in the area.

Westport

The 8 mile side trip provides access to excellent beaches, fresh fish from Westport harbor, and a bustling maritime center.

Tokeland

This 6 mile side trip extends out to a community on a narrow spit at the north entrance to Willapa Harbor.

Bay Center

This 6 mile side trip leads out to Bay Center.

Long Beach

This 40 mile side trip follows follows the pacific coast shore and then the bay shore along a slightly crested upland, a region of dairy farms, patches of woodland, cultivated cranberry land, and several small lakes, the joy of bass...

Fort Canby

This 5 mile side trip loops out through Fort Canby.

This tour has 4 legs, 77 waypoints, 21 side trips, and covers 396 miles.