Tag Archive | beaches at Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park: Ozette Triangle Hike

In early June, I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula to hike the Ozette Triangle hike. It is a 9.2 mile loop hike, that can be done either as a day hike or as a multi-day camping trip. I did a day hike, but there are two campgrounds, and one day I would like to go back and camp there.

The ferry to the Olympic Peninsula

The ferry to the Olympic Peninsula

 

Olympic National Park!

Olympic National Park!

From the starting point, you can choose either of two spurs – the one to Cape Alava (3.1 miles) or the one to Sand Point (3.0 miles). If you are camping, the spur you choose will probably depend on which campground you are planning to stay at – one allows campfires and the other does not. The hike is mostly flat, so there isn’t going to be much difference in elevation changes, although the Cape Alava spur has slightly more up and down.

The boardwalk on the spur trail to Sand Point

The boardwalk on the spur trail to Sand Point

The spur to the beach is mostly on raised wooden boardwalks through boggy forest, but I was surprised at the fact that there weren’t any mosquitoes. Perhaps they get worse later in the summer, and in the evenings. There were shady parts and sunny parts, depending on the number of trees in the immediate vicinity. It was very peaceful.

As I got closer to the beach, I started hearing the waves– I’m sure in the winter on a windy day, the sound would be very loud. I love the sound of waves on a shore, and the waves of the northern Washington Coast are wonderful.  To me, it is a truly peaceful sound…

The beach at Sand Point

The beach at Sand Point

I walked south on the beach a little ways, to find a beautiful sandy beach, with some driftwood at the tree line. I even found an intact sand dollar! The day was gorgeous, sunny, and hot! An absolutely perfect day!

Elwell and Piddles enjoying the view at Sand Point

Elwell and Piddles enjoying the view at Sand Point

The beach hike – 3.1 miles – is the hardest part of the hike. There is some hiking on packed or softer sand, but further north you are walking over rocks covered with kelp and barnacles, so you have to be careful. It can certainly be slippery.  Make sure to time this portion with a lower tide or else you’ll be doing a tougher hike through the forest above the tide line.

I love this wild beach!

I love this wild beach!

It was fun to poke around in the tide pools and find shells, and seeing the sea stacks in the distance was amazing. When the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can hear the sea lions on their offshore island perch. I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t brought my binoculars.

I love this wild beach!

I love this wild beach!

There are Native American petroglyphs visible on the rocks as you travel from north to south, but I did the hike in the opposite direction and ending up missing them. Oh well, just a reason to return!

A Bald Eagle feeding on a fish at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

A Bald Eagle feeding on a fish at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

After three miles on the beach, it was time to re-enter the woods on another set of raised boardwalks. These woods are home to lots of animals, including bears and cougars, but I didn’t see any during my midday hike. On the way back on the Cape Alava spur, I passed a boggy meadow, which once was a homesteader’s farm. He pastured sheep and cows in the meadow, but there isn’t much evidence of its history now.

The whole hike took about 5 hours at a leisurely pace, with a couple of stops for snacks and beach combing.  I loved it, and will certainly return!

 

Olympic National Park: Rialto Beach

After our trip to the Hoh Rain Forest, we decided to head over to Rialto Beach.  Rialto Beach is one of the coastal areas within Olympic National Park, near the town of La Push, Washington, and just north of the mouth of the Quillayute River.  The area is the ancestral home of the Quileute Tribe, who still live on a small reservation in La Push.

At the Mouth of the Quillayute River

At the Mouth of the Quillayute River

Rialto Beach is covered with driftwood, from small pieces all the way up to huge driftwood logs.  The waves crash onto the beach in this area, making it a perfect place to sit and listen to the sound of the rushing water.  It is the sound of a seashell held up to your ear.  There is something soothing about the sound of crashing waves, and I found all my worries drifting away as Jon and I sat on a driftwood log and just listened.

Trees Grow Right Up to the Edge of Rialto Beach

Trees Grow Right Up to the Edge of Rialto Beach

Piddles the Traveling Owl Relaxing at Rialto Beach

Piddles the Traveling Owl Relaxing at Rialto Beach

Someone Built a Driftwood Fort at Rialto Beach

Someone Built a Driftwood Fort at Rialto Beach

I love the little stack of rocks on this driftwood log - Rialto Beach

I love the little stack of rocks on this driftwood log – Rialto Beach

A Young Woman Enjoying the Beauty at Rialto Beach

A Young Woman Enjoying the Beauty at Rialto Beach

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and warm enough that I could take my jacket off!  The views are spectacular, from the seastacks in the distance to the driftwood right beneath your feet.  This was easily one of my favorite places on our Olympic National Park trip.