Loop around Fort Lewis (~50 miles)
Using the Olympia Farmers’ Market as the start and end point, riders should make their way south on Capital Way to 14th Ave then follow it until it turns into Henderson Boulevard. Follow Henderson to the Brigg’s YMCA. Here you’ll head left (east) on the Yelm Highway for just under 17 miles. Make sure to turn right when the Yelm Highway and 510 merge. Once in Yelm, turn right (southwest) on 1st Street/507 and follow it to Rainier. In Rainier, turn right (north) on Minnesota St/Rainier Hwy SE. Follow the Rainier Highway back to the Yelm Highway. Here you may choose to do another loop or head back into town. A one loop ride is 48 miles. Each additional loop adds approximately 30 miles.
An easy modification of this route is to continue on through Rainier on 507 all the way to Tenino, then turn right (north) on Old Hwy 99 and ride it all the way to where it turns into Capital Blvd. This will turn the 48 mile single loop ride into a full 50+ mile course.
Loop around the Capital Forest (~70 miles)
Starting at the Capital Mall, riders can experience a 70 mile ride without having to repeat any roads. This route involves riding on heavily trafficked Highways 101 and 8, but cyclists are permitted in the sections we have listed, and there is a wide shoulder.
Start by heading west on Harrison Ave until it turns into Mud Bay Road. Continue on to Highway 101 then head north on 101 toward Highway 8. Follow Highway 8 until you reach Elma, then take the ramp toward 3rd Street/Satsop Development Park/Airport. Cross back over the Highway 8 and follow Highway 12 all the way to Rochester. In Rochester turn left onto Littlerock Rd SW and follow it to the light at Trosper Road (near Fred Meyer) in Tumwater. Turn left onto Trosper and follow it through some name changes at Lambert’s Corner until it meets Black Lake where you’ll turn right. Follow Black Lake back to the mall.
Grand Tour of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater (~70 miles)
Starting once again at the Olympia Farmers’ Market, get to East Bay Drive then head north until reaching Boston Harbor. Taking a right on 73rd Ave, riders will make the quick jump over to Zangle Road. There they will take a left (north) toward 81st Ave where they will turn right (east). At Libby Road, riders will head left (north) then complete the entire Fishtrap Loop in a clockwise direction until it reconnects with Libby. Continue south on Libby until it meets Woodard Bay Rd. Here the ride moves into Lacey.
When Woodard Bay meets Shincke Rd, head right (south) all the way to Southbay Rd. Here a sharp left turn leads northeast to Johnson Point Rd. Follow Johnson Point to 63rd and turn right (east) and continue to Puget Beach Road. Puget Beach will make a 90 degree turn into 56th then will meet Marvin Road. Take a right on Marvin and south over I-5 all the way to Pacific Ave (Hwy 510). After making a left on Pacific, follow 510 to the Yelm Highway then turn right (west). The Yelm Highway will lead you back to Olympia and then Tumwater.
At Henderson Blvd (the Briggs YMCA), make a left (south) hand turn and continue on until you reach Tumwater Blvd. Take a right (west) on Tumwater then when it reaches Capital Blvd (Olympia Regional Airport) turn right (north). Follow Capital all the way to E street (across from the Valley Athletic Center) make a left turn then jump on to the Deschutes Parkway for a quick ride down town. You’ll have to cross the 5th Avenue bridge then do a quick 180 degree turnaround back across the 4th Avenue bridge then west on Harrison Ave.
Follow Harrison until it turns into Mud Bay. It will eventually connect with Delphi Road on the left. Follow Delphi south until it connects with 62nd. Take the left at 62nd then another left on Black Lake. At the north end of the lake itself is a road called Black Lake – Belmore. Take a right here and follow it to the T at Sapp Rd. Take a left (east) on Sapp and continue on until it meets Linwood Ave. Follow Linwood back out under I-5 to Capital Blvd then take a left (north) on Capital and follow it all the way back to the Farmers’ Market.
Other Riding Opportunities
If you are looking for like minded people to ride with, Thurston Talk recommends connecting with the Capital Bike Club. They offer multiple opportunities for group rides at every level, including young riders. Group mountain bike rides in the Capital Forest are also offered. Membership is required for participation but is only $15 a year for an individual or $25 for a family.
For experienced riders looking for more of a challenge, the racing arm of the club is the Olympia Orthopaedic Associates/CBC Racing. Members compete in all cycling disciplines.
For younger riders aged 10-18, Revel Consulting/Rad Racing NW is a junior development team based in Olympia. Riders compete in road, track, cyclocross and mountain biking.
Links of Interest: