06/26/16 - Second Beach at Low Tide

We took advantage of the lovely, sunny day and the -0.3 foot low tide at La Push to get out and explore Second Beach. The forest was alive with green light filtering through the trees, and there was an array of driftwood to clamber over to get to the beach, but the beach was broad and beautiful. Even better, the tide looked enough for us to get out to one of the usually isolated sea stacks.

We made our way along the beach and started our approach. There was a spit of sand jutting out towards the sea stack, but it ended a bit short. There was still a channel to cross, so we took off our shoes and laid them on what passed for high ground. Then we waded out. The water came over our knees, but only for a few steps. Then we were approaching the caves at the base of the sea stack.

We made our way around to the tide pools, and there we saw them - starfish. There was a starfish plague a year or two ago, and it wiped out just about every starfish in the Pacific northwest, even the ones in aquariums. But, here in the tide pools at the base of this inaccessible sea stack, there were starfish, dozens of them. They were clutching the rocks by the pools full of anemones. It was really good to see them.

We only spent so long at the sea stack. The tide was already rising, and our shoes were in imminent danger. We reclaimed them and walked south along beach revealed only when the tide was this low. We made our way to the little sea cave at the southern end of the beach, braving the clouds of sea mist that swirled along the beach. Out at sea we could see the Pacific mist condensing into purplish clouds out past the line of sea stacks.

All told it was an amazing visit. Even when the tide is negative, the isolated sea stack is often still unreachable. We had only made our way out there once before, so getting back out there again was a real treat.

This sea stack is only accessible when the tide is extremely low and the sand available permits.

The caves at the base of the sea stack

A view out to sea


More starfish

Starfish and anemones

The other seastacks

The beach looking south

Sea stacks at the southern end of the beach

The sea cave and lots of sea weed

Another view

Keywords: la push, second beach

07/12/12 - Second Beach

Second Beach is just south of La Push, and it's one of our favorite beaches. We took the 3/4 mile walk through the rain forest down to the beach. The trail was a bit muddy and the air still. As we approached the beach the air freshened, and we were greeted by the driftwood wall. There was a fair bit of driftwood, but a lot less than on our last visit. We had to climb, but a lot of the really big logs were washed back out to sea.

The beach was easy walking, just a broad sand plain. There seemed to be more sand than usual, and some of the rocks we'd see along the shore appeared to be more deeply buried than we remembered. This was particularly noticeable on narrow section of beach towards the sea cave with many familiar rocks less visible and a deeply cut stream channel running through the sand.

In contrast, the entrance to the sea cave was rocky. All of the sand there had washed out. The tide was low, but not a real low low tide, so we didn't visit the hidden beaches past the cave, though we could see a lot more rocks and a lot less sand.

We had a nice picnic lunch on the beach, and made our way home through the forest, pausing to admire the Treasure Tree which was sporting a variety of pretty stones, bright red berries and feathers. We're not sure who contributes, but they've done a great job. Unlike Rialto Beach nearby, Second Beach is a hidden beach, not visible from the road and a special treasure because of this.

Seastacks across the driftwood

Seastacks and the hole in the wall

Tide pools and lots of sand

Approach to the sea cave

A stream makes a deep cut in the sand.

The rocky sea cave entrance and more seastacks

View from the sea cave entrance

Staircase home

The Treasure Tree with feathers, berries, stones

More of the Treasure Tree, the main stash

The big candelabrum tree - impressive, even with one arm broken

Keywords: beaches, la push, second beach

07/26/07 - Driving Time and Distance Map of the North Olympic Peninsula

We get a number of questions from people trying to plan trips to the North Olympic Peninsula and not sure of how far it is from one attraction to another. Olympic National Park is a big park comprising the central part of the peninsula and much of the Pacific Coast. There are no roads through the middle of the park, and there is no long coastal road to follow. This makes planning a trip a bit tricky. Even getting from La Push to Rialto Beach, a distance of perhaps a mile or two along the coast requires driving inland to the bridge at Mora, so the total drive is perhaps 11 miles and takes about 25 minutes. Hurricane Ridge is not very far from the Hoh Ranger Station as the raven flies, but it is several hours drive.

To help the many visitors to the park and surrounding areas, we offer this Kaleberg Driving Time and Distance Map of the North Olympic Peninsula. It is based on the distances as computed by Google Maps, but we have used our own estimated driving times rather than the Google estimates. Google has some peculiar ideas on how fast one can drive on various park roads, and they still have the Hurricane Hill Trail from Whiskey Bend to Hurricane Hill as an automobile road! We're sure that was a trail, even before Google was founded. We've also taken some liberties in defining certain intermediate locations which do not appear on any map. In general, things like Elwha Turnoff and Hoh River Crossing are not marked as such on any other map you might find, but are useful junction points linking roads and turnoffs, just what you want for planning your drive.

Driving Distance Time Map for the North Olympic Peninsula

Keywords: maps, science, port angeles, hurricane ridge, hurricane hill, hoh rain forest, elwha, la push, lake crescent, obstruction point, rialto beach, la push, spruce railroad, kale

04/10/06 - New Tide Tables for Hikers

We've updated the tide tables for Cape Alava, La Push (Mora and Third Beach) and for the Dungeness Spit. We're trying out a new display format with less irrelevant cruft, and the good hiking days marked out in green.


Keywords: tides, cape alava, la push, dungeness spit, dungeness, third beach

The Cave at Second Beach

07/01/05 - Solstice Tides

Thanks to the solstice, there have been some very low tides out at the West End beaches. This includes our favorite beach, Second Beach. At the south end of the beach there is a small cave that you usually cannot even get to at high tide. At low tide, the entrance is accessible from the beach. We went on a day with a particularly low tide, as you can see on the left, with only 0.8 feet of water. (If you want to plan your own low tide visit, check out our Tide Finder program, or our tide table for La Push).

Aside from being able to explore various caves, the low tide also brought up a lot of starfish. You can see them bunched up near the waterline on a mussel rock. We have never seen so many starfish stacked together like plastic toys. We could also see a lot more anemones, and not just the dull sand covered ones, but lovely blue-green ones, in the shallow tidal water. We only saw one eagle, but we were quite impressed with Second Beach nevertheless.
Seastacks at Second BeachHuge Number of StarfishBlue Anemones

Keywords: tides, second beach, beaches, la push, software, eagle

01/05/05 - Sunset at Second Beach

Do we have great sunsets around here or what?

We were out at Second Beach near La Push and couldn't help noticing a rather pretty sunset. The sea stacks, in silhouette, were pretty neat too.
Second Beach Sunset

Keywords: second beach, beaches, atmosphere, la push