The Lonely Washington Coast

Perhaps our favorite place in the World, the northwestern corner of Washington State between the Pacific Ocean and Olympic National Park. Highway 101 from Sequim (pronounced “Squim”) to Queets, WA is, perhaps, the most beautiful stretch of road I’ve traveled. From the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the north (pictured below) where we watched maritime traffic safely guided home courtesy the New Dungeness Lighthouse, to picturesque Ruby Beach in the west where we watched harbor seals in the surf and whales out in deeper water, this trip is absolutely amazing. Along the way we stopped at the historic Lake Crescent Lodge, built in 1915 and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt agreed to the establishment of Olympic National Park, paving the way for the many who come here to hike and boat during the short summer months.

We just can’t say enough good things about this trip, it’s the very heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest. But this is a trip report and review and it’s time to give you the beta. Kalaloch Campground (pronounced “Klalock” with a long ‘a’ sound) is 73 miles north of Aberdeen, WA on a narrow strip of bluff between Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean. It’s maintained well by the National Park Service and, for the lucky, has about 20 sites for smaller campers or RVS that are situated right on top of the bluff, overlooking the ocean with unobstructed views. I'm not kidding here, these are the best camp sites I’ve ever seen, anywhere. We were lucky and happened upon one of these on our visit; a site on the southwest quarter of the Kalaloch Campground Road A. This road runs in a loop around the southern sites and is the larger than the northern loop. The interior sites are dark because the forest here is thick! But we walked the campground several times (checkin’ out peoples rigs ;) and the sites are nicely spaced and the dense trees and shrubs provide privacy. The biggest problems we foresaw were water... lots of water... and short parking spaces (see below). Several sites were open but essentially unusable because of large pools of standing water. It is a rainforest after all. Regardless of where you park it, all sites have access to the beach via four, semi-primitive, walkways. None, regrettably, are accessible to folks that require mobility assistance. Once on the beach, you'll feel like you’ve stepped into a beach vacation advertisement! I’ve never walked a beach that was so large, both in terms of length and depth, and so desolate. We shared the beach with the other visitors here but we felt alone. It’s so big with so much to explore, in the surf and on the shore, that you will never feel crowded; it’s not the Jersey Shore (no disrespect intended to my friends in the Garden State!). If you'd like a taste of civilization during your stay, Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park is just a mile or so south and features a nice restaurant and bar but this is your only option for many miles in either direction.

The Details: Kalaloch Campground has 161 sites ranging in length from 13 to 50 but there are very few of longer sites (less than 10); most are in the 24’ – 34’ range. They’re all paved and 110 are back-ins while only 51 are pull-throughs and these range in length from 13’ to 31’; there are no hookups in any of them. $22/night, maximum seven day stay. Water is available at the shared restrooms and one dump station serves everyone for an additional $10 fee.  Pets are welcome and you can bring up to eight people per site. Previously, reservations were not accepted through Recreation.Gov but recently all but 22 sites in the E and F loops have been made available for advance reservation; good news! Overall, Kalaloch Campground gets a B+ from us primarily for the natural beauty and solitude of the area. The amenities are few and with only one dump station, you can expect to wait for a turn.

wa coast.JPG