The trail head for this starts about a mile from my house and its downhill most of the way, so that is a plus. The trail is abut 5 miles long and goes through Olympia and Lacey Washington. Its on an old railway bed, so it is gently sloping and paved the entire way. It is really two trails, through Olympia, it is in a park-like forest setting and through Lacey, a very urban environment.
At the Olympia trail head they have a nice restroom facility, parking, and water fountains. From there it is slightly uphill for about 3 miles, but the grade is gentle (less that 2.2 degrees). Along the way you can access the I-5 trail, this takes you along the freeway and provide access to the northern route of the Western/Chehalis Trail, out to Woodward Bay. The Olympia section crosses very few streets and is a very nice peaceful setting. You can access the southern segment of the Western/Chehalis Trail from this segment. After about 3 miles you cross into the Lacey setting. This section of the trail crosses numerous streets, many very busy intersections, but has crossing lights a the majority of them. It is an urban setting and parallels some industrial areas. But its highlights are 2 coffee shops right next to the trail, the Coffee Bean and Cutters, about a mile from the Woodlawn Park turn around. There is also a local bicycle shop (lbs), Joy Ride Cycle, about a block off the trail, if you need assistance.
The turn around point for me is Woodlawn Park in Lacey. This park is part of the Lacey Community Center and contains a large parking lot, playground, children’s fishing lake and the Community Center building.
On my return, I take the I-5 Trail junction and come back to my house via city streets (with bike lanes). This allows me to miss one of the steepest hills in the area, right in front of my house. I can come down it, instead of up it, makes a huge difference in the ride, but only takes off .3 miles. The round trip is 10.3 miles and is my normal daily ride.
From the Olympia/Woodlawn – Western/Chehalis Trail system, I have access to over 35 miles (one-way) of paved, former rail trails, to choose from. Round trip rides in access of 75 miles are possible on any day, all without endangering my life by being on surface street or roads.
So if your coming to the Olympia Washington area, please bring your bike and give the trails a try.