Discovery Trail Long Beach Washington Coast

Come Explore Miles of Coastal Dunes, Wetlands and Forests

Discovery Trail retraces the route taken by Lewis and Clarke Corp of Discovery and 1805. It is arguable the most scenic running, biking and hiking pathway in the Pacific Northwest Washington Coast. This 8.5-mile footpath has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, grassy dunes, pine forest groves, and the North Head Lighthouse. Discovery Trail is in our Top 15  Things to Do in Long Beach Washington, in our Top 20 Free Things to do on the Peninsula, and Fun for the Entire Family activities. See our hiking guide for more places to trek while at the beach.

Map of the Discover Trail

Map of the Trail

 

Discovery Trail is roughly 8.5 miles long, and the official trail begins in Ilwaco Washington, we recommend starting the trail at the end, in Long Beach off of 26th street near the breakers. Discovery Trail is listed on our Best Hiking Trails in Long Beach Washington.  The views heading south toward the North Head Lighthouse are spectacular. Also, the local bike shops are in Long Beach. 

Beachin' Bike Rental in Long Beach washington

Best Place to Rent Bikes

 

Bicycles are an excellent option for traveling the Discovery Trail and exploring the city of Long Beach. However, while some rentals have bicycles available to guests, not all do, and bringing your own can be a hassle. So if you're looking for a leisurely way to enjoy the Discovery Trail or peruse the town while avoiding traffic, check out Beachin' Bike Rentals or Long Beach Bicycles that offer various bicycles for rent, including; electric, pedal, and tandem bikes.

 

Discovery Trail Head in Long Beach WA

Trailhead

 

The trail begins at the Breakers off of 26th street in Long Beach, WA, about a mile North of the second stoplight. Cedar at the Sea, The Lighthouse, and Vacation Haven vacation rentals are all within one block of the start.  Discovery Trail ends in Ilwaco, Washington, and is 8.5 miles long, or 17 miles with a round trip loop. There are several opportunities to enter or exit the Discovery Trail in Long Beach, Seaview, and Ilwaco to do a bit more exploring in town.

Bronze Clark Statue in the Dunes

William Clark Bronze Statue

The bronze statue by Jim Demento of Battle Ground Washington depicts Clark with a ten-foot sturgeon he found on the beach at about that location on November 19th, 1805.  Along the Discovery Trail, you will find several other interpretive panels that give insight into the natural beauty and history of the area. The stations also showcase local artwork, Lewis and Clark artifacts, and even a whale skeleton from a whale the beached near downtown Long Beach, WA, years ago. To learn more about their journey, check out the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in our Best Museums at the Beach guide.

Woman running on the Long Beach Washington Boardwalk

Long Beach Boardwalk

 

Discovery Trail continues south through the dunes and past downtown Long Beach, WA.  Here the trail winds under alongside the Long Beach Boardwalk, a point of pride for the local community and voted one of the top 10 best boardwalks in the country by Smarter Travel.  Bikes are not allowed on the boardwalk. However, for walkers and hikers,  the passage affords outstanding views of the Pacific Ocean. Beachgoers will enjoy the surf and sand below.

Girl riding bike along Discovery Trail

 

Coastal Dunes

  The paved trail continues past the quaint town of Seaview Washington before turning eastward at about the 6-mile point,  near the North Head lighthouse. Unlike many other coastal bike trails, this one does not parallel a highway or traffic but slices right through the local landscape.  Hikers and bikers have spotted an abundance of birdlife such as bald eagles, vultures, shorebirds, grouse, deer, and the occasional early morning coyote or bear.    
Biking on the discovery trail

Wetlands through Beards H0llow

 

The name comes from Captain Beard, whose ship capsized in 1853 at the mouth of the Columbia. The crew was lost, and Beard’s body was found near the circular beach below. Since the Jetties have been built on the north and south sides of the Mouth of the Columbia River, the waves no longer slap against the cliffs as they once did. But now, instead, leave us a marsh and a beautiful beach with an erie name.

An elderly couiple make there way across the Bridge that spans the marsh at beards hollow

Bridge at Beards Hallow

Crossing the marshland at the top of beards hollow along the Discovery Trail, you eventually bridge the gap. Connecting both Beards Hollow scenic point parking lot with the beards hollow trail parking lot, a half-mile 3% decline hike joins the two. This bridge is a newer construction finished in the 1980s after the Washington State Parks Service took over management in 1982. 

 

A couple looks out over the Pacific Ocean at the Beards hollow Scenic overlook

Beards Hollow Overlook

 

The Beards Hollow overlook offers panoramic views of the surrounding coastal landscape. Bring your binoculars and camera as it's a great spot for scenic photography, viewing local wildlife, and enjoying beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. The Beards Hollow viewpoint can be accessed via the Discovery Trail or by car and is handicap accessible.