The 2023 Edition is now shipping. But there are some road closures and washouts that you'll need to know about.
The funding for the repairs caused by this extreme weather event have already been procured, and the Forest Service has already repaired two, and plans to have the remaining affected roads back open later this summer.
So let's get on with the special notes and last-minute updates to the Olympic Mountains Loop GPS Tour!
Route C has a nearly total washout on it on the West Twin River road, just a few hundred feet before waypoint RC22PI. However, there is a pretty good/easy trail that goes around it that should be doable by most anyone on most any bike. But walk it first to see how it looks to you, because you're the one who decides what's doable for you. If it's not, well, you'll have to backtrack out to highway 112, where you'll go left and continue to the junction with highway 113, where you'll turn left onto 113. Continue on to the junction with highway 101 in Sappho. At this point, I would load up Route D and head left to rejoin the route about 7.5 miles away. But I'm pretty certain you won't need to do that unless you're a beginner on a huge loaded up liter-plus bike all alone.
Route C has a partial washout on it where it climbs up the north side of the mountain toward the Kloshe Nanitch ridgeline. While it is blocked to keep vehicles from passing, there's plenty of road left for a motorcycle to get by easily. However, they've placed some really big rocks right at the washout to prevent easy passage for motos, as well as placed woody debris on either side of the approaches to it for several hundred feet. As of July 5th, the large rocks are sketchy obstacles for single riders on anything but a light bike. On big bikes, you'll need a couple friends to help one another get past safely. It's not a long way to backtrack to the bypass if you want to have a look and see what you think.
But if you would rather not bother, the bypass is pretty simple. When you arrive at waypoint RC25TL (same for 2021 Edition users), do not turn left, but instead continue straight on West Twin River road (also called FS RD 30) until you reach its end at highway 101, at which point you should load and activate Route D before turning left onto the highway. You'll join route D in approximately 3 miles, then just follow prompts to the next turn.
Route Z is currently closed due to a washout that is not passable. No news on when a repair will happen, but being a "mainline" road, it should get fixed eventually. However, you can still jump off of Route D onto Route Z, as suggested in the booklet, at waypoint RD11KR by turning left there instead of keeping to the right. This would be to shave off some miles if you're low on gas or time, or are just in a hurry to get to Forks ASAP. Before you do this, though, read the next entry below...
Route Z suffered another washout near its end last winter on a segment that runs along the Calawah drainage east of Forks. Since Route Z is impassable at an early stage, so the only way this washout will affect you is if you were trying to shave off time or miles by jumping off of Route D at waypoint RD11KR and onto Route Z as suggested in the book. So if you are truly limited in fuel range (and/or time), it may be wiser to just continue on Route D rather than risk having to turn back and waste even more fuel.
While the washout area is not open to vehicular traffic, there's plenty of road left for motorcycles to pass with ease. But on the downstream side of the washout, there are concrete barriers with barely enough room between them for a smaller bike with softbags to squeeze through--the biggest bikes would likely need to remove any luggage attached to its sides. However, please bear in mind that repairs are set to be made sometime this summer, and it's possible that it may not be passable once the crews start working on it. If you're turned back because of this, please let me know so I can alert others here of the situation. But bear this in mind: If other than the fact that machines are working, the area would otherwise clearly be passable on your bike, most times I've come across a crew working with heavy equipment, if I park back and approach on foot carefully, I've usually been able to talk to someone working there and let them know that I'm likely too low on fuel to turn back. This usually gets me permission to pass.
If that doesn't work because it just isn't passable at that point or you simply get no pity, you'll need to backtrack to waypoint RZ12TR, at which point you'll need to stop, load and activate Route D (again), and turn left to rejoin and continue to Forks the long way.
Route G is currently not passable where it goes up the east side of the East Fork Humptulips valley, about 2.4 miles past waypoint RG22TL. The road is blocked by a section of MANY downed trees, so it will likely be opened up as firewood seeking entrepreneurs tear into it, which hopefully doesn't take too long. It's not so far that you can't quickly run up and see if it's been cleared, and if it hasn't, you need only travel back to the pavement at waypoint RG22TL and follow the bypass instructions in the following paragraph.
To bypass this temporarily blocked section of the tour, continue straight up the paved road instead of turning left when you arrive at waypoint RG22TL (or if you are backtracking after confirming it's still blocked, turn left at the same waypoint). Continue on the same mainline road until you rejoin Route G about 5 miles up the road at waypoint RG28TL. But don't turn left at this waypoint (it's at a junction where the route would have come from). Instead, your turn is the next one, at another road just a few hundred yards beyond, at waypoint RG29TL. Turn left there and you're all good.
A portion of road on Route E has been permanently closed, but it's an easy workaround. Take note of what Edition (year) your tour was published and choose the workaround below:
For users of the 2021 or 2018 Editions of the tour, when you get to waypoint RE21TL do NOT turn left. Instead, just continue straight along the mainline road and you will rejoin the route in four miles at waypoint RE23KL, at which point you will continue straight on past (don't turn here either) to the next waypoint and you're all good again.
For users of the 2019 or 2020 Editions of the tour, when you get to waypoint RE20TL do NOT turn left. Instead, just continue straight along the mainline road and you will rejoin the route in four miles at waypoint RE22KL, at which point you will continue straight on past (don't turn here either) to the next waypoint and you're all good again.
A section of Route H beyond Brown Creek campground has also been closed. Here's what you need to do to deal with it, and it's pretty straightforward: When you reach waypoint RH35KL, you must now turn right here instead of left. Then just stay on this road until you rejoin the route again in a couple of miles at RH38KL, where you will continue to the right instead.
All waypoints in our tour have names with only 6 characters, so if you notice the aforementioned problem, there are two reasons this may have happened to you. The first possibility is that you did not delete all of the waypoints from a previous version of this tour (or our Baja GPS tour) that you had on your GPS. You cannot have two GripTwister GPS tours loaded onto a GPS at the same time. In fact, it's best to backup your GPS and then delete all of your waypoints before loading the tour. Then you can add back your essential waypoints like HOME and such if you still have room.
The second reason that can cause this to happen, is that you have waypoints from a previous version of this tour (or our Baja GPS tour) in your "Library" within BaseCamp. It's necessary to make sure that if you have other GripTwister GPS waypoints in any folder within the "My Collection" folder of the "Library" in BaseCamp, that you first delete those before importing or opening the GPX files from the CD into BaseCamp. If this is what happened, you will need to delete ALL the GripTwister waypoints from "My Library", including (and especially) the "Unlisted Data" folder near the bottom of "My Libray", and delete all the waypoints off of your GPS again and start clean. The proper method to delete the old files from BaseCamp is to right click on the "List" item in the "Library" that contains the other GripTwister GPS tour, and select "Remove and Delete Unique Content". Once that is done, you can import/open the GPX file for the tour in BaseCamp and download it to your GPS.
The reason is that the default setting for some GPS receivers and/or software is
to not have individual tracks automatically "Show on Map". It is a good idea to
check to see if they (the tracks) are all set to "Show on Map" after you download the
tour, and to manually change them if necessary. Different models do this
differently so check your instructions, but here's how to do it on the Garmin
Montana (and may be the same or similar on your model):
Select "Track Manager" from the menu screen.
Scroll down to the track that you would like to be displayed and select it.
Press "Show On Map". If "Hide on Map" is displayed, it is already set to show, so do nothing more.
Press the back button (curved line with arrow).
Repeat for the other tracks
It seems that the Forest Service has decided to close the river ford found at the end of Route G to vehicular traffic. This has made the approach steeper and the crossing a little rougher, due to the lack of four wheeled traffic wearing it in any longer, but it's still quite doable for an experienced rider on a lighter bike. You will need to look downstream a little ways from where the road meets the river for the best spot to ford now. Heavier than normal snowpack and recent rains can make it more difficult at certain times, and on the big bikes it's not easy to do at any time. Late summer is the easiest time due to low waters. If it looks like too much for you or you don't wish to risk getting your feet (or worse) wet, just take the bypass, which you'll find in your tour package. There are often people camped here on the river's edge where you'll be crossing, so be considerate and check it out on foot first and let them know of your desired intentions before riding through their camp.
Note that the section of road leading to this ford is slated to be decommissioned soon. If and when that happens, I will update this page and everyone will need to take the Water Xing Bypass after that.
Here's what to do to enjoy the trip in the off-season:
Follow the instructions in the tour booklet for avoiding the water crossing on Route G, which you will find on the "Route G--Quinault to Wynoochee" page.
When you arrive at the closed gate, turn around and activate Route H and
continue on. That's it! Now enjoy the tour any time of year,
weather conditions permitting.