Older Entries

08/01/21 - Second Beach at Extreme Low Tide

There have been some extremely low tides out at Second Beach this summer. The beach only recently reopened to the public, so we took advantage of the reopening and a recent low tide to see the beach at its widest and head out to the sea stack that is usually an unreachable island.

We expected big crowds, but the trail and beach were relatively quiet. The Third Beach trailhead parking lot, in contrast, was overflowing. We hiked through the forest and descended to the beach. There is usually a driftwood barrier to clamber over, but the beach was clear this time. The driftwood had drifted elsewhere.

We made our way to the sea stack dry shod. It was great to see so many starfish. With the plague wiping out so many of them some years back and recent stories of sea creatures being cooked in their shells we expected the worst. There were starfish and a good many of them. It was far from the years before the plague, but they were not hard to find.

We explored the sea stack, its caves and its seaward side. Then we headed down the beach into the light mist. With an extreme negative tide like this, there was lots of beach and it was easy going. There were more starfish down near the cave at the end of the beach and anemones galore. We spent some time exploring here and then made our way back to the return forest trail.


The trail to Second Beach

No driftwood blocking the way

The hole in the wall towards La Push

The sea stack off shore

A welcome sight

More starfish

Even more starfish

Anemones

A starfish pool

Faint mist

More sea stacks

Pelicans or pterodactyls?

More pelicans

The beach

More starfish and friends

Tide pools

Even more starfish

Saying good bye to the sea stack

The trail back

Keywords: second beach, summer, third beach, tides


06/17/21 - Dungeness Spit

It is hard to walk the Dungeness Spit in the winter. The mid-day low tide is usually almost as high as its surrounding high tides, and the what there is of the beach lacks sand so progress is hard going. We're in the season of good tides now. Check the left hand side of this web page or our tide tables to find a good tide. Note that the lighthouse is closed for the duration, so no bathroom or running water. Still, this is the best time of year for the ten mile round trip hike.

The forest walk to the spit

The sea and clouds

Take off!

More sea and clouds

An eagle on the driftwood - Check inland now and then.

The view back to land, again mainly sea, sand and sky

A view from the climb out

The forest trail again

and again

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, summer


02/14/20 - Dungeness Spit, Now With Sand

We went back to Dungeness Spit again, and this time there was lots of beach. It was easy walking. Of course, this time the tides were with us with a tide under two feet at around two o'clock. There will be good hiking tides at the Dungeness Spit every two weeks or so, so consider the days around February 29th or March 11th if you want to get out to the lighthouse or just have a good walk out into the strait.

A nice broad beach

Farther out, still lots of easy going sand

A common sight on the spit

Signs of spring

The Dungeness Spit

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


02/02/20 - Winter Tides at Dungeness Spit

In January, we had take a walk at the Dungeness Spit with the tide nominally at five feet. We usually recommend hiking the beaches of the North Olympic Peninsula when the tide is down around three feet or so, but it was a mild day, and we found lots of sand on the beach and easy going. Not so on our most recent five foot tide visit. The tide tables told us the same tide height, but the tides begged too differ. Recent rains, storm winds and evil gremlins gave us a lot more wild sea and a lot less walkable sand.

There will be some better tides later in February. We'll aim for three foot tides and report back.


A local salamander to brighten our day

Not much to walk on

That's the 1/2 mile stake.

Another view of the spit and rollers

The wintry sea

Keywords: beaches, dungeness spit, tides


01/20/20 - Dungeness Spit

The autumn tides make it hard to take long walks on Dungeness Spit, but in January they start to get better. We went out with the tide at five feet and falling. The beach was broad and sandy which made for easy going. There was even a rainbow to make things even nicer.

The rainbow and rollers

The spit with lots of sand

Salt water

Lots of broad beach

Driftwood

More driftwood

Still more driftwood

A natural sculpture

Looking down at the spit

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides


07/24/19 - Dungeness Spit Lighthouse

There have been some good low tides lately, so we headed out on Dungeness Spit, and, somewhat to our surprise, made our way all the way out to the lighthouse in what was a record time for us. There was good footing and a bit of cloud in the sky that made the walk all that much easier. It's a fascinating walk, almost five miles out on a narrow spit jutting into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Even when one is walking it, there is a feeling that it is something strange and wonderful. The lighthouse makes it even better. It's a haven with fresh water and a clean bathroom. Thank you lighthouse volunteers.

The broad low tide beach

One often sees interesting ships on the strait

First glimpse of the lighthouse

The haven

Mount Baker

Rock art

The way back with mountains

The way out, a path into the sea

Driftwood lines the way

We call this Ribsy even though most of the ribs are gone.

There was a lot of pink seaweed on the beach.

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


07/12/19 - Second Beach - Low Tide

There have been some really low tides at the West End beaches, but road work at Lake Crescent has made it difficult to get out there except on weekends. This time, however, time and tide did wait for us, so we made our way out to Second Beach at an extreme low tide. According to the GPS, most of our walk was underwater, though with the low tide we were always on dry sand. We made our way out to the big seastack that is usually cut off by water and explored. This time, we didn't even have to wade, and we were able to make our way almost all the way around the seastack.

The big news was starfish everywhere, but more on that in another post. For this post, the big news was a journey out to a usually inaccessible sea stack and getting a chance to explore its caves, beaches and tide pools.


GPS map showing us walking on water

Stairs to the beach

The seastack at extreme low tide

At the seastack

Hidden cave on the far side

One of the sea birds

Exploring the far side

Another view from the far side

The seastack via land bridge

Barnicles on the rocks

Exploring the seastack, misty skies

The near side of the seastack

Mysterious caves

The main seastack is on the right.

Across the beach

Sea, sand and seastacks

Algae on the rocks

Plovers

The candelabrum tree, a happy mutant, with three branches again

Keywords: beaches, birds, lake crescent, second beach, tides


09/26/18 - Dungeness Spit to the Lighthouse

We are getting into the autumn tides which make it hard to get out to the Dungeness Spit. The walk takes from three to four hours, and when the tide is above three feet, it can be rough going. We managed to catch a good tide in late September and, much to our surprise, made it all the way out to the lighthouse for a ten mile round trip walk.

As usual, the spit was hypnotic. It's a long narrow strip of beach that just heads out to sea. On one side of the path is Strait of San Juan de Fuca and on the other side there is a low rise decorated with driftwood and beach shrubs. The best walking is down towards the water. Above there is sand, rocks and pebbles.


An overview of Dungeness Spit

A hypnotic walk

More of the spit

Beach life

The bay protected by the spit

The lighthouse in the distance

The lighthouse as we approached

The spit on our return walk

Ribsy - one of our landmarks, about a mile out

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides


03/14/18 - Dungeness Spit at Low Tide

Every two weeks or so, there are some great tides at the Dungeness Spit. We recommend planning any long walks on the spit when the low tide gets down to three feet, but lately, the daytime low tide has been getting down below one foot. That means lots of broad beach, and there is lots of sand for easy walking. The light house is only five miles out. What are you waiting for?

For our Dungeness Spit tide tables . Good, low, daylight tides are marked in green.


Wide, sandy beach

An eagle on the driftwood

The orange cap marks "my spot"

Good, easy walking

A view from above

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle, tides


03/31/17 - Dungeness Spit Low Tides

There have been some pretty impressive low tides at the Dungeness Spit lately. Every two weeks or so the low tides are mid-day, so there is a lot of beach for walking. We've been taking advantage of it. (Check out our tide tables here.)

One of the newts on the trail

A big broad beach

A look back at the mountains

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


05/10/16 - Really Low Tides at Dungeness Spit

There have been some really low tides at Dungeness Spit lately. They’re great for hiking. In general, if the low tide is above three feet, it will be rough going if one heads out to the lighthouse. The sand will be softer, and there will be lots of rocks. When the tide is lower, there is often a band of wet sand that makes for much easier walking. We’ve had some really low tides lately, as low as negative two feet at the mid-day low tide. This made for great walking, though we haven’t made it out to the lighthouse yet. As always along the coast, check the tide tables. A low tide can make your walk much easier.

The broad beach

The view south towards the mountains

A view from above

Mount Baker and its reflection

Green forest

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


02/13/16 - Good Sand and Good Tides

A few posts back we noted that the good winter tides have returned at Dungeness Spit. Now the good sand is coming back. There are still a few rocky stretches but a lot more sand has been deposited which makes the spit a lot easier for walking. There are some good mid-day tides coming up on the 25th, 26th and 27th, so if you’ve been meaning to get out to the lighthouse, this may be good time to start planning.

The view out on a wintry day

The view back - Click for a better view of the mountains.

The view from above on the walkway down to the spit

Some driftwood

An eagle perched

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle, tides, winter


01/14/16 - The Good Tides Return

The tides in the fall are not all that good for low tide hiking, but starting in January there are more and more daytime low tides. We took advantage of one such low tide to wander out on Dungeness Spit. The light, as usual on the spit, was spectacular. The clouds even had a touch of pink in them. The water was fairly calm and the beach surprisingly walkable.

One problem with walking the Dungeness Spit in the winter is that the beach has often lost all of its sand, so one has to scramble through fields of ocean smoothed rocks. There were plenty of rocks, but there were also lots of long, smooth sandy stretches. We'd clamber and clatter for a bit, then, usually just as we were about to call it quits, we'd reach a long easy going stretch of beach, so we went a lot farther than we had expected.

The beach changes from day to day with sand and stones washing in and out. The driftwood sojourns and departs, but it looks like the good tides and some good beach have returned for 2016.


The view heading out

A view of the water - Click to zoom and see if you can see a touch of pink in the clouds.

The view back with a low winter sun behind the mountains

Another view back with the low sun playing with the cloud shadows

Another view out

Waves and water

Some stones and some clear beach and some amazing place to be

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, winter


07/27/15 - To the Lighthouse

We walked out to the lighthouse near the end of the Dungeness Spit. There are good tides for taking this hike roughly every two weeks. You can walk out to the lighthouse, a ten mile round trip, at high tide, but that means walking on soft sand and clambering over driftwood. At low tide, there is lots of smooth, relatively firm beach, four and a half miles of it. (You'll see the next good tides for this hike if you scan the column to the left, you can look at our tide tables, or you can download Tidefinder.)

It was a particularly nice walk because of the good sand conditions, the low tide and the clouds. Walking on the spit is a strange experience, like walking out to sea dry shod. The spit is narrow, so one has a sense of being at sea, especially when one looks back at the mainland, miles away. There was lots of driftwood, including a few collections of logs still held together by straps for shipping, even as the wood has already started graying and weathering.

Dungeness Spit is worth a visit, even if you just take the half mile walk from the parking lot to the start of the spit or, perhaps, stroll another half mile to the marker stake. For the full experience though, wait for a low tide and take the long walk out to the lighthouse.


The lighthouse - visitors welcome

Our first glimpse of the lighthouse - Click to zoom in and scan the horizon towards the right.

Driftwood

Miles of wild beach

Gentle waves

A lost bale of timber

Another lost shipment

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


04/27/15 - Dungeness Spit

There have been some good low hiking tides at Dungeness Spit. There isn't much else to say.

Lots of sand means easy walking.

That load of lumber is still on the beach.

A view of the mountains.

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides


   Older Entries