The paved Westport Light Trail is an excellent way to see the dunes and grasses of the southwest Washington coast, take in an historic lighthouse, and enjoy the sea and sun without getting sand in your shoes!
From the large parking area off Ocean Avenue, set off north on the paved trail. The pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean is audible, but not always visible as you walk along the ADA-accessible trail. Three viewpoints are dotted along the way, complete with interpretive panels describing the nearby flora and fauna.
The trail was designed by the Westport Public Works Department and completed thanks to help from the City of Westport, the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, and Washington State Parks. Thanks are also due to Alex Gallagher, who created original works of art that adorn this trail’s length, adding to the overall experience.
The trail crosses over into Westhaven State Park at about the halfway point. At the north end, you’ll find another parking area, and a gravel service road leading a further mile and a quarter into the city of Westport. It’s more scenic to go back the way you came, so do so.
On your return trip, you may notice a lighthouse visible through the trees. This is 107-foot tall Grays Harbor Lighthouse. The tallest lighthouse in Washington, it was deemed necessary to help mariners navigate their vessels through the ever-shifting sands of the mouth of Grays Harbor. Its somewhat unusual location has an interesting story. When it was built in 1897, the lighthouse stood just 400 feet away from the tideline, and was useful for ships coming in and out of Grays Harbor. But a jetty system, built by locals to aid in commerce, trapped some of the ever-shifting sands, causing accretion, or the gradual building up of land. Over time, accretion added nearly 2600 feet of land in front of the lighthouse, effectively “pushing it back” from the high tideline, to its current position.
The lighthouse makes a great add-on if you have time. Simply walk east on Ocean Avenue 0.2 miles from the parking lot and turn left to visit. Tours are conducted regularly by the Westport-South Beach Historical Society.
WTA Pro Tip: Make it a 5-mile round trip and return to Float 14 for daily spring whale-watching tours on the Ranger out of Ocean Sportfishing Charters. Excellent seafood dinners can be had at the Fish Shack and the Blue Buoy.