We built this route specifically to hit the major urban centers of the South Puget Sound. We don’t recommend this ride for enjoyment, but if needing to get from Seattle to Olympia we found this route worked well.
We started near Capitol Hill in Seattle and visited the PCC Co-op to fuel up for our first day. We snaked along the West Seattle cycling bridge to west Seattle towards the Vashon Island ferry. Crossing the sound by ferry cuts off a decent chunk of the ride and getting to see Vashon Island was an interesting introduction to the islands of the Seattle area. We rode the west side of the island stopping only for a quick hike along the Shinglemill Creek Trail (and multiple stops for the abundant blackberries in summertime).
At the south tip of Vashon you can cross the ferry into Tacoma. We didn’t find much of a route in Tacoma, but did stop at the newly established Central Co-op to grab our supplies for the next day.
The road from Tacoma to Olympia can be treacherous if you don’t know about the secret cycling route. Normal map routing software will probably tell you that you have to do a short segment of interstate 5, but there is another secret route that is open to cyclists. You can follow our graphhopper route to a gap in a fence at the end of a fancy suburban road. On the other side you’ll find a road through a good course and back around toward Olympia.
Once you arrive in Olympia, be sure to eat at the fantastic New Moon Cafe. This worker-owned restaurant’s vegetable dishes are delicious and their tempeh is some of the best we’ve ever had.
If you need gear before the next segment of your trip, you can check out Olympia Gear Exchange, a business dedicated to sustainable reuse of outdoor gear. Sadly during our time in Olympia we had our rear panniers stolen off of our bicycle (the first items stolen during 2 months of touring) which caused us to very much need the gear exchange as we replaced our tent. We wish better luck for you if you visit Olympia.