Stay overnight in a historic wilderness lodge on the Pacific Ocean.
Kalaloch Lodge has a spectacular location on a bluff overlooking the beach, in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. It's directly off Highway 101 in the Olympic National Park, 40 minutes south of Forks.
There are superb views from the lodge across the mouth of Kalaloch Creek to the Pacific Ocean, with gigantic stacks of driftwood piled up along the beach. During summertime this long stretch of sandy beach is popular for walks, kite-flying and picnics, and the temperature is often well above 70 degrees.
Visitors can either stay at rooms inside the Kalaloch Lodge, bluff-top cabins, or the adjacent Kalaloch campground. There's also a restaurant, gift shop, general store, gas station, and ranger station.
10 best things to do at Kalaloch Lodge
1. Stay overnight at Kalaloch Lodge.
The original Kalaloch Lodge was built in the 1920s by enterpreneur Charles Becker Sr, using driftwood from washed up off-cuts from the local mill. The highway wasn't completed until 1931, and so guests were faced with a challenging journey to this remote corner of the world. Eventually the old lodge was replaced by the current Kalaloch Lodge built in 1953, and sold to the National Park Service in 1978.
There are 3 types of rooms at the Kalaloch Lodge:
a. Main Lodge (standard rooms): The main lodge rooms at the Kalaloch Lodge resemble a studio hotel room, with one or two queen beds. They face either the ocean or the highway, have no WIFI or TV, and no pets are permitted.
b. Main Lodge (suites): If you'd prefer a more spacious suite, then book the Kalaloch Suite or Becker's Suite inside the main lodge, with ocean views, an open sitting area, mini-fridge and microwave, and satellite TV (this is the only lodging at Kalaloch with a TV). The Kalaloch Suite also has a soaking tub. No pets are permitted.
c. Seacrest House: There's also a condo-style building just south of the lodge known as Seacrest Lodge, with 1 or 2 bedrooms, a common area, and mini-fridge. The suites have a brick fireplace with complimentary firewood each day, and private patios and decks, but only the second floor units have views of the ocean. There's no WIFI or TV, and no pets are permitted.
2. Enjoy a cosy bluff-top cabin.
Choose from 40 rustic cabins, directly south of Kalaloch Lodge. The first row of cabins has a magical setting on a bluff overlooking the ocean, with a second row of cabins setback from these. The log cabins are available in a studio, 1 bedroom and duplex, and have either a kitchen or kitchenette, and are dog friendly (unlike the main lodge).
This is the first row of cabins on the bluff, with ocean views. The cabins have no TV or WIFI access, but that shouldn't be a problem, because there's plenty of other things to do at Kalaloch. Take advantage of the free bundle of wood each day, to light a fire in the wood stove, or rent a Weber charcoal BBQ for a small fee each day. There's also lots of picnic tables just outside the cabins overlooking the beach, and you can stock up on lunch supplies at the general store.
The second row of cabins can be seen here, with Kalaloch Lodge in the background.
3. Savor beautiful water views from the restaurant at Kalaloch Lodge.
Stop by the Creekside Restaurant at Kalaloch Lodge for gorgeous water views (It's pictured bottom center below the patio. The room above it is the Kalaloch Suite). The Creekside Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with locally sourced ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. There's also an outdoor patio to enjoy during warmer months.
This is the stunning view from the restaurant at Kalaloch Lodge, where Kalaloch Creek meets the ocean.
4. Stroll along Kalaloch Beach and look out for Gray Whales.
Breathtaking Kalaloch Beach is directly outside the Kalaloch Lodge, and stretches for miles in either direction, with dramatic stacks of driftwood at the high tide line. The beach is too cold for swimming, but perfect for long walks, dog walking, and kite-flying. Take the path down to the beach from the gazebo at the top of the bluff.
This is the white gazebo at the start of the path to the beach.
Gray whale sightings are also common as they make their annual migration up north in April and May quite close to the shore, and down south to warmer waters in October and November, but at a further distance from the shore.
These are the piles of bleached driftwood at the high tide line on Kalaloch Beach, with the cabins in the background.
5. Search for wildlife near Kalaloch Creek.
Stunning Kalaloch Creek is teeming with wildlife, like river otters. You can also see bald eagles and kingfishers, elk and deer.
The shoreline along the creek is a fun place to explore, or to hang out with a bucket and spade and build sandcastles.
This is where the Kalaloch Creek empties into the ocean.
6. Marvel at the Tree of Life.
The incredible Tree of Life is just north of Kalaloch Lodge, and can be reached by taking a down a pathway to the beach from the campground. The tree's root system is completely exposed as it clings to either side of a cliff's edge over a cave. It's difficult to understand how this sitka spruce has survived all these years, especially with the exposure to brutal winter storms that pound the coast.
7. Take the Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail (0.8 miles)
If you're looking for an easy trail near the Kalaloch Lodge, take the 0.8 mile loop around the Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail, accessed across Highway 101 from the Kalaloch Campground. The trail loops around lush forest, resplendent with skunk cabbage, salmonberry and ferns. The dirt trail has a few steps and boardwalks, and a viewing platform overlooking Kalaloch Creek. It can get a little muddy in sections on rainy days, so don't forget to wear sturdy, waterproof boots. Keep an eye out for wildlife spottings, like Roosevelt Elk or Black Tailed Deer.
8. Explore other beaches within a few minutes of Kalaloch Lodge.
Kalaloch Lodge is fantastic jumping off point to explore seven beaches, along a 15-mile stretch of Highway 101 between the Queets River and Hoh River. From north to south these beaches along Highway 101 are:
- Ruby Beach: Walk 5 minutes down a trail to see magnificent Ruby Beach, with surreal seastacks and the cathedral-like Abbey Island.
- Beach 4: Don't miss the popular tide-pools at Beach 4, full of sea anemones and starfish. The 0.5 mile trail descends steeply to the beach, with lots of steps along the way, and a footbridge crossing.
- Beach 3: Follow a steep trail down to a beach with tide-pools.
- Kalaloch Beach: This log strewn beach can be accessed down a super short and easy trail from the Kalaloch Campground near the lodge, and features the Tree of Life.
- Beach 2: Take a short walk to the beach through a Sitka spruce forest, with a stream emptying out into the ocean.
- Beach 1: Hike a short trail to the beach, through a coastal forest with unusual, bulbous spruce burls on a grove of Sitka spruce trees.
- South Beach: Access the broad expanse of South Beach from the blufftop South Beach Campground (seasonal only).
The most popular beaches are Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Beach and Beach 4. Beaches 1, 2 and 3 have only limited parking on roadside pullouts, whereas there are larger parking lots at South Beach Campground, Kalaloch Beach Lodge, Beach 4 and Ruby Beach.
9. Visit the Kalaloch Ranger Station and sign up for a walk.
The Kalaloch Ranger Station is just across the road from Kalaloch Lodge (closed fall and winter). If visiting during summertime, make sure you sign up for a ranger guided walk to learn about the unique history, geology and wildlife in this area. There's also a great selection of books and maps, and you can get your Passport to the National Parks stamped here.
10. Find other key attractions near Kalaloch Lodge.
Kalaloch Lodge is a fantastic base to explore the 10 BEST ATTRACTIONS in the Olympic National Park, like:
- Ruby Beach (10 minutes north)
- Lake Quinault & Lake Quinault Lodge (40 minutes SE)
- Hoh Rainforest (1 hour NE)
- La Push (1 hour 20 minutes north)
- Second Beach at La Push (1 hour 15 minutes north)
- Rialto Beach (1 hour 15 minutes north)
- Lake Crescent & Lake Crescent Lodge (1 hour 20 minutes NE)