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Port Angeles Washington Fall 2016

Drive to Dungeness river bridge park, Sequim, Washington - part A

Our Crazy Post Retirement Wanderings Hiking and Triking

Drive to Dungeness river bridge park, Sequim, Washington - part A

We went to the park one day, and came back another to ride our trikes to Sequim. Note: Much of the following information was quoted or derived from various websites about the park and the center.

The Dungeness River Audubon Center is located at the site of the historic railroad trestle that crosses the river north of Highway 101. The trestle has been converted to a planked section of the North Olympic Discovery Trail.

The Center promotes the enjoyment and understanding of this unique watershed and river. Territorial views of woodlands, river vistas, local wildlife and native flora beckon from the nature trails.

The Audibon Center in the park offers interpretive programs, summer science day camps and river talks and classes in the River Center building, as well as exhibits, displays and specimens.

The Dungeness River Audubon Center was the first Audubon center in Washington State. It is the only Audubon center with a Native American tribe as partner and the only center located by a salmon-spawning river. The River Center hosts spectacular exhibits of local birds and wildlife and provides on-site environmental programs for adults and children. The River Center is also host to events all year long, including the annual Bird Festival in April, River Festival in September, and weekly bird walks every Wednesday morning.

According to information on websites about the park, The Railroad Bridge Park, at the heart of the Olympic Discovery Trail, showcases the Railroad Bridge built in 1915 by the Milwaukee Road.

From 1915 to 1980, the Milwaukee Road operated the rail line, which transported passengers and timber from Port Townsend to Port Angeles and west to connect with several logging railroads. The line was abandoned in 1985. Today the truss and trestle represent the longest bridge over the Dungeness River.

This 5.9-mile segment of Olympic Discovery Trail ( ODT ) is an entirely separated, paved trail with the exception of the first mile, temporarily on city streets. From Carrie Blake Park the trail route is on-street for about 1 mile as the trail passes through residential areas.

Follow Fir St for 0.7 miles to N. Sequim Ave (4 blocks north of the Sequim city center). At N. Sequim Ave turn right (north) for 2 blocks to W. Hendrickson Rd.

A left turn on Hendrickson Rd reveals a separated, paved trail going west along the north side of the street. Continue on this trail west, past the Sequim city limits at Kendall Rd, to Priest Rd where the trail jogs south a block, then continues west on the old railroad grade into Railroad Bridge Park. As you turn west onto the trail, look up to your right where a pair eagles are often seen surveying their territory from the top of the tallest tree.

Eagles resting near trail to the river One of the most beautiful sections of this part of the trail is the historic trestle bridge at Railroad Bridge Park, crossing the Dungeness River - one of the major rivers of the Olympic Mountain range - in its raging descent from the Olympic Mountains to the Strain of Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Bridge is one of the few remaining wood truss railroad bridges, built from impressively large timbers. Many stop at one of the viewing areas on both sides of the bridge for a picture. The extended 750 foot long steel railroad trestle replaced its wooden predecessor after irreparable damage from a February 2015 rain storm.

This scenic area known as Railroad Bridge Park is also popular for bird watching, highlighted in The Audubon Center (on the right, just before the bridge) which has an outstanding display of local wildlife; well worth visiting. There are short river trails in the park, as well as restrooms, drinking water, picnic areas, and parking.

Going west from the park, the trail is on railroad grade as it passes farmland and the Sequim Valley Airport. There is an equestrian side path starting on the west side of the bridge and continuing west. This segment ends at the Kitchen-Dick Rd crossing, but the trail continues in segment ODT 7.

Kitchen-Dick Rd is also the starting point for a 3 mile side trip north to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, a 5.5 mile sand spit extending into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and to the Dungeness Recreation Area with camping facilities. There are several websites to visit which can provide additional and more detailed information.

There are many scenic views in all directions of the Olympic mountains.

Visiting the park is well worth the 10 minute drive west of Sequim, Washington. It's located just a few miles north off US101.

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