Following the general path taken by Capt. William Clark and his men during their initial 1805 visit to the beach, Discovery Trail links the towns of Long Beach, Seaview and Ilwaco.

The trail connects all the way from the northern city limits of Long Beach to Beards Hollow in Cape Disappointment State Park. From Beards Hollow, an unpaved portion of the trail extends through the hills to Ilwaco, ending at the port.

This is the best ocean-bordering biking and hiking path on the West Coast.

A recent round trip of almost eight miles took about an hour and 15 minutes with a generous stop at Lewis and Clark's tree in north Long Beach. A sculpture of a whale skeleton similar to the one Lewis and Clark found more than 200 years ago, a monolith with an explorer standing nearby, and dozens of informative signs add interest to the trail. A small wooden bridge, numerous twists and turns and the gently rolling dunes make for an interesting and comfortable ride.

One suggestion is to head into the wind to start your trip and let the breeze push you along on the return trip. If eight miles and riding for over an hour is not in your plans, you may begin at either the Seaview or Long Beach approaches and cut your ride in half or in a third.

The unpaved portion of the trail, from Beards Hollow to Ilwaco, includes some steep hills but is otherwise fine for fit walkers or mountain bikers. A wooden causeway leads over a pristine marsh just as the trail leaves the hollow.

No motor vehicles are allowed on Discovery Trail. A mid-week ride on an amazing pathway with sun and surf to the west and having the experience almost exclusively to yourself just can't be topped.

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