Join NSWA Board member Starre Vartan for a hike of this unusual Olympic Peninsula landmark and national wildlife refuge! Shorebirds and views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the left, the calm waters of Dungeness Bay to the right, this unique hike will take us along the sand of the United States’ longest (and growing) natural sand spit!
When: May 28th (Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend)
Where: End of Dungeness Spit Parking Lot at Trailhead, 11:45 to meet, noon sharp to begin hike.
We will be carpooling (if you’d like to carpool, you can indicate that in the form below):
After a short hike through native trees down to the beach, it’s 5 miles out to the lighthouse and 5 miles back, with a chance to enjoy sun, sand, and surf—and lots of great shorebird watching. This is all exposed (no canopy cover), so skin protection is important, and we have another nearby alternate hike if it’s going to be stormy. Meet at 11:45 for a noon start to the hike.
The New Dungeness Lighthouse, located at the end of Dungeness Spit which is next to the city of Sequim. Via Wikimedia/Creative Commons.
What to expect:
Depending on where you park, it’s about 3/4 of a mile to a mile relatively flat through the forest down to the shore, and then 5 miles out to the tip of the spit and the lighthouse, and 5 miles back (plus the mile back to where you parked). It should take at least 5 hours and so it’s a longish hike but not particularly arduous.
What to bring:
Sun coverage as there is no cover during this hike except at the very start and very end. Though mostly flat, be sure to wear shoes or sandals that provide grip (flipflops wouldn’t be helpful), as there will be trail and beach-walking, and some of the beach-walking might be in dry, squishy sand. Of course bring plenty of water. Binoculars for shore-bird or marine mammal viewing.
Bring enough food for 5-6 hours of hiking; we will probably stop in Sequim or somewhere nearby to eat afterwards, which is optional.
Fun Facts via Wikipedia:
Dungeness Spit is a sand spit jutting out approximately 5 miles (8 km) from the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula in northeastern Clallam County, Washington into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. The spit is growing in length by about 15 feet (4.6 m) per year. The body of water it encloses is called Dungeness Bay.
The spit was first recorded by Europeans during the Spanish 1790 Quimper expedition. British explorer George Vancouver named the landform in 1792, writing “The low sandy point of land, which from its great resemblance to Dungeness in the British Channel, I called New Dungeness.” He named it after the Dungeness headland in England.
In December 2001 a heavy winter storm forced water over the spit. The next morning the spit was split in three places, and vehicles supplying the lighthouse were not able to traverse the spit for about a month.