One of the best ways to get immediately up close and personal with the dramatic west coast of the Olympic Peninsula is by visiting Kalaloch. The beaches here: 1,2, 3, and 4 all offer a front row seat to the pounding surf and wild waves of the Pacific Ocean. Plus, it only takes a few steps from your car to enjoy most of them.
The main Kalaloch access point is from the campground just north of Kalaloch Lodge on Highway 101. Turn left into the day use parking area and find a spot. From your car, head to the driftwood fence lining the sidewalk, and descend a short asphalt path to a set of large stairs that descend to the beach.
The stairs are large and crumbly, filled with beach gravel and slumping in places. But it’s just a hop and skip down them to get onto the pebbled beach. At high tide, this beach isn’t for the faint of heart (or really anyone at all), since the sea comes right up to the staircase, but at low tide, you’ve got plenty of coastline to wander. Just keep an eye on the tide.
Any crowds that may be at Kalaloch disperse along the shoreline. Many visitors here embark to Browns Point, a location just a bit north of Beach 4 that passes bluffs high overhead, giving a feeling of isolation to the area. Explore as far north as you can get, but avoid rounding the headlands to the north since the tide can catch you here.
Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, head back the way you came. If there’s time, it’s worth checking out the 0.8 mile Kalaloch Nature Trail. Improved annually by WTA volunteers, it’s a charming walk through the massive old growth forest, where skunk cabbages glow at the base of trees hundreds of years old.
WTA Pro Tip: You can also visit Beaches 1, 2, 3 and 4, nearby, or head three miles north on Highway 101 to another WTA-maintained loaction, the Big Cedar Tree trail.