The West Central quarter of ODT runs from Port Angeles across the Elwha River, along the coastal lowlands and Lake Crescent, to end on Hwy 101 at the top of Fairholm Hill. It is 31.7 miles long.
West of Port Angeles the trail crosses the Elwha River on a spectacular suspended bridge. Long a source of hydropower and water for mills, the Elwha dams were removed in September 2011, and the largest river flowing out of the Olympics returned to breeding all 5 salmon species, including the giant 100 pound Chinook salmon of earlier years.
Beyond the river, the route parallels the Strait of Juan de Fuca coastline with side roads to beaches and resorts. At the town of Joyce, the trail cuts south over coastal hills to Lake Crescent, a large, deep (600 ft+) glacial lake nestled between towering mountain ridges. The trail hugs the lake’s north shore on 8 miles of former railroad grade, bypassing 2 tunnels, then rises into a heavily forested plateau that continues through the next section.