Nov. 23, 2011
Olympic National Park Daytrip #2 - Kalaloch and Ruby Beach
Before we dive into this week's post on Olympic National Park day trips, we would like to congratulate and thank Cassie Lentz for sharing her Lake Quinault story. Send us an email and we'll get your $25 Mill 109 gift certificate in the mail! OK, now to the adventure! As the second of five of our favorite Olympic National Park daytrips, this week we are featuring Kalaloch and Ruby Beach. We start our trip at the Kalaloch (pronounced clay-lock) Lodge which is located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula and approximately a 60-mile drive from Pacific Beach, WA. The drive does not follow the coast line as there is no road through the Quinault Tribal reservation, but it will take you through beautiful areas on the peninsula and past Lake Quinault which we featured in our last Olympic National Park daytrip blog. Kalaloch is one of the most visited areas of the Olympic National Park and, as part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Kalaloch is a permanently protected home to puffins, sea otters, and the largest populations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. The Kalaloch Lodge is a perfect place to begin and end your adventure. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the lodge provides restrooms, a coffee shop, restaurant, gift shop, camp store, and a gas station. Read up on the Kalaloch Lodge and when you arrive, you can pick up a few snacks before heading to the trails. On Highway 101, before you reach the Lodge, you will see the signs for beach trails #1 and #2. There are a total of seven trails and each offers a unique viewpoint of this stunning Pacific coastline. Most of the trails are 500 to 1000 feet long but none are wheelchair accessible due to their steepness and the topography that they cover. The Kalaloch area also has a one-mile nature trial which is an easy loop through coastal forest. It has stairs and an elevation change of less than 40 feet, making it an easy hike for all ages. The National Park Service provides a map of the area, its trails, and lodge area on their Web site which we recommend printing off before you go. Also, be sure to pick up a tide chart at a ranger station or visitor center when hiking the coast as the tides can become very high, very quickly! By the way, if you have a pet that you would like to bring along, they are allowed on all of the Kalaloch area beaches, but they must be on a leash all times. Of all seven beach trails, "Beach Trail 4" is most definitely a favorite. It is a picturesque pebble beach with a meandering creek, drift logs, and dramatic sea stacks. Named "Ruby Beach" for its sometimes garnet-colored sand, a gold mining operation was located here in the early 1900's. At low tide, beach walkers can peek into tidepools to get an up-close look at tiny fish, scurrying crabs, creeping urchins and sea stars amid a crusty collection of clams, mussels and other sea life. It is also a popular place to dip for smelt (schools of small fish that spawn in the surf in warm, calm weather and can be caught with a large net). The shoreline of Ruby Beach offers scenic views of mountains, glaciers, rainforests, and lots of wilderness. When visiting the area, definitely put Ruby Beach on your agenda - it will be well worth it. Leave a comment below if you've ever visited the Kalaloch area or Ruby Beach! We'd love to hear your stories! Next week, stay tuned as we highlight the Hoh Rain Forest which is often considered one of the most majestic and unique parts of the Olympic National Park.