Emerging from the coastal forest, I was greeted by a sea of massive logs. Using all my focus to jump from log to log, it wasn’t until I cleared the pile that I was able to look around and take in my surroundings. And what a sight! Along the coast, Olympic National Park boasts several beaches that are pure gems. These beaches are one of the many things one can visit while exploring this diverse national park.
This beach was my introduction to the coastal landscape of Washington. And what an introduction! My excitement built as I got my first glimpse of the sea stacks from a bend in the road. Navigating my way to the beach through massive log piles (a staple at nearly every beach in the park), I was standing in the sand captivated by the massive sea stacks in front of me. In the distance, a fog bank was rolling in masking the tree lined shoreline. It was the perfect scene.
At Rialto Beach, you can either stroll along the beach, or, in high tide, there is a walk way above the rocks that leads to the end of the beach. Opposite the beach, there is a wonderful view of the Quillayute River. There are also several picnic benches and restrooms in the car park.
Located in town of La Push, First Beach gets you closer to the sea stacks seen at Rialto Beach in addition to several more sea stacks further out to sea. An ideal location for surfing or just relaxing in the sand, it is also slightly less crowded than its neighboring beaches. Unfortunately, due to the Quillayute River, it is impossible to directly access First Beach from Rialto.
I will admit, I’m slightly partial to this beach as this one was my favorite. And I am not alone in this thought. A popular spot for camping, even the overflow parking lot was overflowing with cars. To access the beach, it’s a short 0.7 mile trail through a moody coastal forest. The last part of the trail curves its way downhill to the beach. After making my own path over the piles of logs, my jaw dropped as I surveyed the scene. The drama and beauty of this beach make it one of the best (in my humble opinion) in the park. I am still marveling at how trees are still able to grow on the sea stacks in that harsh environment. You could not ask for a more perfect setting to take a seaside stroll.
Definitely more of your typical beach, Ruby Beach still holds charm and beauty, especially when viewed from above. More dramatic sea stacks await the visitor along with tide pools, when the tide is right. Crowds seem to stay right where the short trail meets the beach. So, a short walk down the beach earns you some solitary peace in an idyllic setting.
All beaches are located within Olympic National Park in Washington state. It is about a 4 hour drive from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport along US-101 to reach the beaches. It is well worth it to take time to explore the inland areas of the national park, too.