Top 20 Washington State Trips

Kalaloch Beach

Kalaloch Beach

Kalaloch Beach is located along Highway 101, in the Olympic National Park, and is one of Washington State's most picturesque beaches.

It has an enchanting setting, with gigantic logs at the high tide line, and the picture perfect Kalaloch Creek flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Kalaloch Beach can be accessed from either the parking lot at the historic Kalaloch Lodge, or the day use area at the Kalaloch Campground directly north of the lodge.

It's one of seven beaches in the Olympic National Park that can be accessed along a 15-mile stretch of Highway 101, from Queets River up to the Hoh River.

10 best things to do at Kalaloch Beach

1. Stroll along the wide expanse of breathtaking Kalaloch Beach.

Spend a few hours hiking along Kalaloch Beach. The beach is too cold for swimming, but you can fly a kite, enjoy a picnic, or make sandcastles.  It gets perishingly cold in winter, but during summer months the temperature reaches above 70 degrees. 

Kalaloch Beach is easily accessed from the grounds of the Kalaloch Lodge.  Just look for the white gazebo at the top of the bluff, then follow the short path down to the beach. During the summer months, there are often interpretative exhibits at the gazebo, with fascinating information on the local area.

This is a photo of the short pathway down to the beach from the blufftop gazebo.

The best views of Kalaloch Beach are along the pathway to the beach, where you can look north and see Hoh Head jutting out into the ocean in the distance.  On a clear day, visitors can also look northwest off the coast towards Destruction Island, located 3.5 miles out to sea.  The Destruction Island Lighthouse was decommisioned in 2008, and is a protected wildlife refuge not open to the public. However it has a fascinating history, and once had a thriving community complete with 4 lighthouse keepers and even a schoolhouse for their kids!

Visitors are intrigued by the ghostly form of whitewashed logs that line Kalaloch Beach.

Check out the incredible sea of logs!!

2. Take a photo of the famous Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life is a wonder of nature, hanging precariously above a cave on a cliff face on Kalaloch Beach, with its roots fully exposed. No one can quite explain how this Sitka Spruce tree continues to survive, despite being battered by winter storms.  To get to the Tree of Life, park at the day use area at the Kalaloch Campground, then take the path down to Kalaloch Beach.

3. Visit one of the best whalewatching beaches in America.

Kalaloch Beach gives you a front row seat to the annual migration of grey whales.  The best time to visit is either April or May when the gray whales travel north in spring up to the rich feeding grounds in Alaska.  You can also see the whales in October or November when they make the return trip down to warmer waters of the Baja Peninsula, but the whales tend to be further out in the ocean in fall, than in spring.

4. Build sandcastles or search for wildlife at the creek.

The Kalaloch Creek is popular with visitors, providing a calmer setting away from the turbulent ocean at Kalaloch Beach. Kids can build a sandcastle on the sandy banks of the creek, or search for wildlife like the playful river otters.  Look up in the sky for bald eagles and kingfishers, or peek inside the lush interior of the forest for elk or deer.

5.  Stay overnight at historic Kalaloch Lodge.

Kalaloch Lodge sits on the blufftop overlooking Kalaloch Beach, and has rooms, cabins and a campground, and amenities including a restaurant, general store, gift shop and gas pump. The original lodge was built in the 1920s, but replaced by the current lodge that was constructed in 1953.

These are your lodging options:

  • Kalaloch Lodge (studio rooms): The hotel style studio rooms inside the lodge have ocean or highway views, but no TV, WIFI or pets.
  • Kalaloch Lodge (suites): If you're looking for more of a spacious suite with a sitting area, TV, and ocean views, then book the Kalaloch Suite or Becker's Suite.
  • Seacrest House (1 or 2 bedrooms): Seacrest House is a separate two story building behind the cabins, with 1 or 2 bedrooms, a sitting area, and mini-fridge. Each room has a private patio or deck, but only the second floor has ocean views. Each room also has a fireplace, with a bundle of firewood provided each day.  There's no WIFI, TV or pets.

6.  Book a stay at a rustic cabin at Kalaloch Lodge.

You can also stay at the adjacent blufftop cabins at Kalaloch Beach, laid out in two rows, with the front row enjoying incredible ocean views. Choose from a studio, 1 bedroom or duplex. 

There's lots of amenities at the cabins, including a kitchen or kitchenette for cooking hearty meals, a wood stove with firewood delivered each day, picnic tables outside overlooking Kalaloch Beach, and Weber BBQs available for rent.  Pet lovers can also bring their dogs!  However, no TV or WIFI.

7.  Eat at the restaurant at the Kalaloch Lodge.

The Creekside Restaurant at the Kalaloch Lodge is open to everyone, even if you're not staying at the lodge.  Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner made from locally sourced Pacific Northwest fare. There's also patio dining in warmer months (pictured on the left).

The restaurant also has gorgeous views over Kalaloch Creek towards Kalaloch Beach and the ocean (pictured above). 

8. Take the forest loop around the Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail.

The easy Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail is a 0.8 mile loop through dense coastal forest, with wildlife spottings like Roosevelt Elk or Black Tailed Deer. This stunning path is lined with salmonberry, ferns, and skunk cabbage, and has a viewing platform overlooking Kalaloch Creek (although no direct creek access). There are a few steps and boardwalks, and the path can get muddy in rainy months, so wear waterproof shoes.  The path is accessed directly across the highway from the Kalaloch Campground.

9. Stop by the Ranger Station to sign up for a nature walk.

The Kalaloch Ranger Station (closed winter and fall) is conveniently located across the highway from the Kalaloch Lodge. Stop by the Ranger Station to sign up for an informative nature walk to learn more about the geology and habitat of Kalaloch Beach.  You can also pick up maps or books, or get your National Park passport stamped here.

10. Visit other beaches near Kalaloch Beach.

Kalaloch Beach is along a 15 mile stretch of Highway 101 from Queets River to Hoh River, that includes access points to seven beaches. 

If traveling north to south along Highway 101, start at Ruby Beach to see the incredible seastacks and imposing form of Abbey Island.  Next up is Beach 4, with a 0.5 mile trail with steps and a bridge crossing, leading to popular tidepools teeming with starfish and sea anemones. Further south is Beach 3, where visitors follow a steep trail down to the ocean, with plenty of tide-pools on hand.  Continue south to Kalaloch Beach, the site of the Kalaloch Lodge and Tree of Life.  The less popular Beach 2 is further down Highway 101, with a short walk through a coastal forest to a beach where a stream empties out into the Pacific Ocean.  Curious visitors will then enjoy Beach 1, lined with surreal groves of bulbous spruce burls along the trail to the beach.  The 15-mile drive then ends at the South Beach Campground, where visitors can access the long expanse of South Beach from the blufftop campground.

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