Many who are interested in geotourism or have traveled the Olympic Peninsula Loop are familiar with the majestic Ruby Beach. Not only is the name glamorous, but the towering sea stacks and red-colored minerals in the sand make this stop a true gem to experience while visiting the Washington Coast. For nature lovers who seek quiet reverence without crowds, visit the other Kalaloch beaches near Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula, which are jewels in their own right.
Where To Hike While Visiting the Olympic Peninsula
The Kalaloch beaches, named simply Beach 1,2,3 and 4, each offer a unique opportunity for wild immersion without an excess of people. The trail to Beach 1 is lined with bulbous spruce burls that give an “Alice in Wonderland” feel to the area. Cross a wooden bridge to find long stretches of coastline that is less frequented by tourists.
Beach 2 begins with a vibrant forest walk, which winds down to a wide and sandy beach below. Here, explorers can observe the driftwood forts that are decorated with cairns made from the abundance of river stones.
Beach 3 offers extraordinary beauty and tranquil solitude with uniquely curved boulders, views of the iconic coastline and intertidal life to explore.
Beach 4 is a hidden gem of the Olympic Peninsula, which offers a parking lot and bathrooms upon arrival. The interpretive trail, which is excellent for bird watching, winds down an invigorating path to a charming driftwood bridge. Make sure to check Washington tides before visiting, as the high tide will cover this beach completely. Beach 4 is one of the best locations to observe the tide pools and is part of the Marine Wildlife Preserve, which is protected by the National Park and part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
North of Beach 4, make sure to turn east off highway 101 onto Big Cedar Road to walk the short and accessible Big Cedar Tree – Kalaloch Trail. This quick drive on a bumpy, gravel road ends at a cul-de-sac where visitors can park. Walk a short distance on the well-managed trail and take in the extraordinary view of a massive cedar that is believed to be nearly 1,000 years old.
Journey Into the Temperate Coastal Rainforest of the Washington Coast
Erin and Ben Braudrick visit the Washington coast annually and stay in a private Bluff Cabin at the Kalaloch Lodge, located in the Olympic National Park. “Each day is a little different,” explains Erin. “We enjoy walking our dog Dottie at Beach 2, which is more secluded than the popular Ruby Beach.”
“Our favorite adventure is a day trip into the temperate rainforest without all the hullabaloo,” adds Ben. “We recommend vacationing in the off-season during the winter months, and feel that the South Fork of the Hoh is a reviving, best of the pacific northwest kind of encounter that will make a hot shower and warm beverage by the fire so rewarding at the end of the day.”
Based on Ben’s recommendation, consider planning a sensory adventure into the complex ecosystem of the rainforest through the South Fork Hoh River – Big Flat Trail. Hikers will enter the Olympic National Park, surrounded by a canopy of towering old-growth beauty, but without the crowds of the popular Hoh Rain Forest.
Although Beaches 1 through 4 were not given catchy names, the invitation is to discover for yourself what makes each Kalaloch beach special. The Washington Coast is an all-season vacation destination for all ages.
For more information and ideas to plan a unique travel experience that celebrates profound nature-scapes, history, agritourism and front-country adventure, visit Enjoy the Olympic Peninsula.