The Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park is a very unique and beautiful part of Olympic Peninsula. Here you can find pacific coast beaches and incredible tidepools where you can see intertidal life such as gooseneck barnacles, anemones, and starfish.
This guide gives all the information you need to visit the Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park.
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*****Everything in this article is my personal opinion and experiences. Check your own resources and choose to do anything I discuss at your own risk. Some of the things in this post may be dangerous and not recommended for every body.
About Kalaloch at Olympic National Park
Kalaloch area is popular area of Olympic National Park as it is easily accessible and has many beautiful things to see. It is more “developed” than other areas along the Washington coast. There are very few facilities in the Kalaloch area, but you don’t have to hike a long hike to even reach the beach like other areas of beaches on the Washington coast.
The beaches at Kalaloch area showcase the beauty of the Pacific Coast and the nature that lives there.
Unlike other parts of Olympic National Park, the Kalaloch area and the pacific coast in general are pretty temperate and can be a decent temperature, even in the middle of winter.
Where to Stay at (or near) Kalaloch
The Kalaloch Lodge is a national park lodge at Kalaloch. The lodge has rooms within the lodge, but also oceanfront cabins (which also face towards the sunset!). The Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round. It can be completely booked up and more expensive in the summer. I recommend visiting in the winter if you have the chance!
There is a small general store at the Kalaloch Lodge that has foods and supplies if you are needing anything while in the area.
For more information on staying at Kalaloch Lodge, visit their website.
The Kalaloch Campground is a beach campground located on a beachside cliff. It is very close to the tree of life and has beach access from the campground. It is a very popular campground and books up often very immediately after the campsites are open. The campsites are released on a period basis with portions of sites opened intervals of 6 months in advance, then 2 weeks, and lastly 4 days.
Town north of Kalaloch that has lodging is Forks, Washington. It is about 40 minutes away from Kalaloch.
Towns South of Kalaloch
Towns south of Kalaloch that have lodging are Hoquiam, Quinault, or Ocean Shores. There is another national park lodge located at Quinault.
Near Kalaloch there are several options for home rentals on sites like Airbnb or VRBO.
Things to Do at Kalaloch
Tree of Life
One of the attractions that the Kalaloch area is most known for is the “Tree of Life.” The Tree of Life is a tree that is suspended between two small sandy cliffs, but appears that it is suspended in the air. The roots of the tree grab onto the two cliffs, allowing it to suspend in the air. Many people come to this area of the park to visit this particular tree.
To see the tree, park in the day use area of the campground. On the main road, follow the signs for the campground, and when you turn in, pull straight ahead into the day use parking area. At the end of the parking lot there is a trail that leads to steps down to the beach. Walk on the beach until the tree is to your right. If you visit during the day, especially in the summer, there will likely be other people around.
Over the years the tree has began slipping lower and lower and is suspended less in the air. Part of this is due to erosion, but also due to tourists climbing and stepping on the tree. Please refrain from climbing on the tree to prevent expedited slipping.
Fourth Beach is another popular beach in the Kalaloch area. This beach is great for looking at tidepools. There is a small walk down to the beach from the parking area. Once you get to the beach, you will need to cross a driftwood beach and climb down the rocks to the beach. Once on the beach, I recommend walking to your right (north) as this is where you will find the best places for tidepools. In addition to tidepools, there are many birds hanging out around the tidepools.
Ruby Beach is a super popular area near Kalaloch, that is notable for great tidepooling and unique sea stacks. At low tide you can walk up close to huge rocks that are covered in sea life including gooseneck barnacles, starfish, and many other sea creatures.
I recommend coming at low tide so that you can fully explore the beach and the unique tidepools. It is easier to walk on the beach at low tide also since at high tide, the water comes up on the beach to all of the driftwood and you have to climb over the driftwood to walk down the beach.
When the tide is low, you can explore the tidepools, but also walk south along the beach for a while. There area some small sea caves as you walk south from the main part of Ruby Beach. Out of all the beaches we visited near Kalaloch, Ruby Beach was definitely the busiest and most crowded.
If you are not paying attention, you will likely miss the sign for Big Cedar. Big Cedar is one other very small attraction in the area of Kalaloch. Between Beach 4 and Ruby Beach, there is a small gravel road inland that leads to Big Cedar tree. There is small trail, around 200 meters long, that takes you to Big Cedar tree and back. The tree is estimated to be around 1000 years old.
Tips for visiting the Kalaloch Area of Olympic National Park
Make sure you have adequate supplies
On the Olympic Coast around Kalaloch, there are very few facilities. To the north, there is the town of Forks. Forks is around 40 minutes away from Kalaloch. To the south, the closest main town (with grocery stores, gas, etc) is Hoquiam, which is around one hour and fifteen minutes south. There is a small general store beside the Kalaloch Lodge that has some supplies, ice cream, and coffee, however don’t plan on doing your whole shopping here. Make sure that you load up on groceries and gas prior to coming to Kalaloch.
Check the tides before your visit
Before visiting Kalaloch, I recommend checking the tides and knowing when low tide versus high tide is. Tide pooling is only an option when the tides are lower. At higher tides, walking on the beach is more difficult and sometimes even impossible. Make sure that you plan you beach adventures when the tides are lower! The ranger station usually has the tides posted. You can also find the tides online.
Things to bring with you to Kalaloch
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Thanks for reading!