Sea-to-Sky: Washington's Boundary Country Cycling Tour
Assembly Point: Seattle/Sekiu
|Tour Cost: $3,150
(includes all lodging, all breakfasts and dinners, van shuttles from Seattle to Sekiu prior to tour and from Newport to Spokane and Seattle following tour, van support, park entrance fees, leaders, tour maps & narratives)
Washington 20 is the most beautiful, cycling-friendly, continuous highway in America. It is the absolute best!
We’ll assemble in Sekiu, almost at land’s end on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and we’ll provide a van shuttle from the Seattle airport late-morning of Assembly Day. In 2010, at the beginning of our 58-day Sea-to-Shining-Sea ride, we had to dip our wheels in the Pacific as we launched our ride across the continent. So, we’ll van shuttle early morning of Day 1 to Neah Bay, tribal center of the Makah Nation for breakfast and begin to ride from the Pacific shoreline. We’ll skirt the southern shore of the Strait of Juan De Fuca, with its views of Vancouver Island to the north and the peaks of the Olympic Range within Olympic National Park to the south. We’ll spend our first of two overnights at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on this biking trip.
Day 2 is a layover day, but not to be mistaken for a rest day. Our rendition of a “layover day” includes one of North America’s greatest alpine cycling ascents—Hurricane Ridge—into the heart of Olympic National Park, a mere 5,200-feet of elevation gain, but nicely spread over 17 miles. We’ll bike to Hurricane Hill from the Ridge and then descend back to Port Angeles.
We’ll roll out of bed on Day 3, have breakfast, and then join the paved off-road American Discovery Bike Trail as we continue along the Straits to Port Townsend. We’ll board the ferry to Whidbey Island, cross beautiful Deception Pass to Fidalgo Island and our overnight in the charming village of La Conner. An extraordinary rural ride through the fertile Skagit River Valley enables us to bypass busy Burlington and Sedro Wooley on Day 4. Once beyond Mt. Vernon, we’ll cycle along the southern banks of the Skagit River on our way to Marblemount and an overnight at Clark’s Skagit River Resort.
Another of North America’s great rides is ours on Day 5, as we head east into the heart of the North Cascades and North Cascades National Park on the North Cascades Scenic Byway. We’ll climb gently at first from Marblemount to Newhalem, and then noticeably less gently as we head toward Rainy Pass, though in increments, as we pass Gorge Dam and Lake, Diablo Dam and Ross Lake. We’ll ultimately crest at Rainy Pass (4,875'), descend briefly and then launch into our final assault on Washington Pass (5,477'). From Washington’s summit, the descent begins in earnest to Mazama and Winthrop, where we’ll spend the evening at the Winthrop Inn.
Were it not for Loup Loup Pass (4,020'), Day 6, with its skimpy 42 miles would feel like a rest day. Loup Loup, though, will give the day substance, but from its summit, it’s almost a coaster through the orchards of the Okanagan Valley to Omak. Day 7, we’ll ride along the Okanagan River to Tonasket and then turn east into the beautiful high country of the Colville National Forest. Yes, you know there is another pass to climb—this one is called Wauconda (4,310')—but you also know that it’s followed by another awesome descent into Republic. We’ll overnight at the Great Northern Inn and then, wouldn’t you know it, we’re headed for Washington’s highest paved pass on Day 8—Sherman at 5,575'). Today’s descent takes us to the banks of the mighty Columbia River and on to Colville.
For some reason, no one got around to naming the climb out of Colville on our final morning, though you’ll likely wonder why. A truly beautiful ride, though, is ours on this final day, with an awesome descent into the Pend Oreille River Valley and along the river to Newport, where this epic cycling tour concludes. We’ll van shuttle to the Spokane Airport from Newport.
|Day 1||Neah Bay — Pacific Ocean — Port Angeles; overnight at Red Lion||74 miles|
|Day 2||Port Angeles — layover day — Hurricane Ridge/Olympic National Park — Port Angeles; overnight at Red Lion||36 miles|
|Day 3||Port Angeles — American Discovery Bike Trail — Port Townsend — Ferry — Whidby Island Deception Pass — Fidalgo Island — La Conner; overnight at La Conner Country Inn||90 miles|
|Day 4||La Conner — Mt. Vernon — Skagit River — Marblemount; overnight at Clark’s Skagit River Resort||62 miles|
|Day 5||Marblemount — Newhalem — North Cascades National Park — Rainey Pass (4,875’) — Washington Pass (5,477’) — Mazama — Winthrop||89 miles|
|Day 6||Winthrop — Loup Loup Pass (4,020’) — Okanagan — Omak||42 miles|
|Day 7||Omak — Columbia River Valley — Wauconda Summit (4,310’) — Republic; overnight at Northern Inn||68 miles|
|Day 8||Republic — Sherman Pass (5,575’) — Columbia River — Kettle Falls — Colville||55 miles|
|Day 9||Colville — Pend O’reille River — Newport; van shuttle to Spokane Airport||82 miles|
Total mileage – 598