Cruising Washington's Discovery Trail

Posted Jul 17th 2013 04:00 PMUpdated Aug 8th 2013 11:24 AM


Bike ride on cloudy day in Washington state's Long Beach Peninsula

A thin veil of mist seeps in from the ocean, blanketing the dunes and making the serpentine Discovery Trail ahead of me appear as though it winds up into the clouds. As I spin my beach cruiser through a gentle watercolor landscape, I breathe in the salt-tinged air. The cry of gulls punctuates the sound of the Pacific Ocean waves sighing onto the sand, and a breeze keeps me cool.

I'm visiting Long Beach Peninsula in the southwest corner of Washington state, a 28-mile-long finger of land that separates the Pacific Ocean from wildlife-rich Willapa Bay. Just over two centuries ago, in October 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first laid eyes on the Pacific "Ocian" here, at the end of their perilous overland journey.

I'm on my own journey of discovery. I've rented a fat-tired cruiser bike from Skookum Surf Co. and am cycling the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail from north to south. My route promises seaside sculptures that pay homage to Lewis and Clark's visit; fun shops and tourist magnets in downtown Long Beach; an interpretive center dedicated to the exploring duo; a 19th-century lighthouse; and a fishing-boat harbor.

Along the way, the blustery winds noted in Clark's journal offer freewheeling rides to a profusion of kites that seem alive as they dart and dip alongside the trail. Follow my route in the slideshow below.

Filed Under: Beach