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04/05/24 - Dungeness Highlands with Hummingbirds

There are two great worlds to explore at the Dungeness Spit. There's the amazing spit itself and the coastal forest leading to it, and there are the highlands which follow the coast and run inland. We explore the highlands. You can walk the whole loop in about 50 minutes, but we like to go longer, so we head out for about 40 minutes to an overlook and then head back the long way.

The old grass is now pale straw, but the new green grass is growing taller. There were currants and strawberries in bloom and chervil growing wild along the trail. We also saw two hummingbirds perched high as if claiming the bush they perched on as their own.

Spring color

To our surprise, a trillium

Distant mountains

Mountains and clouds

More clouds and mountains

The vista

Mahonia, Oregon grape in bloom

One of the hummingbirds

Across the field

Another view of the field

The trail, still early spring

More fields, clouds and mountains

The trail again

Another hummingbird

Strawberry flowers

Red and gold

More strawberry flowers

Some currant flowers

Trees still bare

Looking south

A bit of forest

A fascinating ground cover

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, spring

03/31/24 - Dungeness Spit at a Low Tide

There was a low tide at the Dungeness Spit. Rather than take the usual paved trail from the entry kiosk to the spit, we took the alternative, slightly longer, primitive trail. Everything was lush and green, and even better, we spotted a woodpecker and a fair number of trilliums.

The spit itself was wide at low tide. There was less driftwood than some years, and most of the walking was on wet sand with some rocky areas here and there. We walked about about a mile and a half, all the while enjoying the ocean view on this magical spit of sand that juts out into the strait. We could see the mountains and clouds behind us as we headed out.

The primitive trail to the Dungeness Spit

Along the trail

Spring greenery

More along the trail

Can you guess?

A woodpecker

A closer view

Down on the spit proper

The view out to sea

Sand and sky

More along the spit

More clouds and driftwood

Two ducks


The mountains behind

More of those mountains

The Olympic Mountains again

Driftwood below

Back in the forest

A trillium

More forest

Another trillium

More trilliums

Keywords: dungeness spit, trillium

06/20/23 - A Shooting Star

We saw this flower at the entry station for the Dungeness Spit. We usually see this up in the high country, but with the lodge fire closing the road, we haven't been climbing mountains lately.

Keywords: dungeness, dungeness spit, high country

06/09/23 - Dungeness Highlands

When the tides are against us at Dungeness Spit, we'll head inland and stick to the highlands. That's an out and back hike we take along the bluffs, then inland to a viewing point. It's a short walk from there to the parking lot, so we turn around and retrace our steps. There are grasslands, forests, thickets and some wonderful mountain views.

Along the bluffs

Sunny trail

Distant mountains and nearby roses

More sunny trail

More distant mountains

Seen along the way

Heading north

More open country

Another vista

Yet another

Another thicket - They're popular.

Another look at the Olympic Mountains

And another

A tree full of birds

A close up

Back through the thicket

A floral collage

Keywords: dungeness, dungeness spit, tides

Keywords: dungeness, dungeness spit, tides

05/25/23 - Dungeness Highlands

We took our usual walk at the Dungeness Spit. We start at the main parking lot and head south along the bluffs then head east across the access road. There are views of the strait from the bluffs and views of the mountains from along the trail. It's a nice trail with a lot of variety, grasslands, forest, brush and salt water.

First mountain view


Mountain view



An arty view of the mountains

Catkins or fluff

A forest peep

Open area

Forest tunnel


A miscellaneous bird

The strait

A tunnel along the bluffs

More of the tunnel

Yet more tunnel with a view of the strait to the left

A miscellaneous squirrel

Keywords: dungeness, dungeness spit

05/04/23 - Bright Sunny Day

It was a bright sunny day just south of the Dungeness Spit. We wandered the highlands and soaked in the sun and mountain views. It even looks a bit like parts of California here, especially when the sun is out.

A flat part of the trail

More of the trail, out in the sun

An eagle

A mountain

More spring green

The vegetation thickens

Bright flowers

An easy walk

A thicket

The view from the picnic table

The Olympic Mountains

More mountain views

A forest tunnel

An old orchard

A shadier bit of trail

A hummingbird

Fields and mountains

Returning along the trail

A very peaceful trail

Some variety

More forest

Keywords: dungeness spit

04/11/23 - Trilliums at Dungeness Spit

There was a good low tide, so we took a short walk along the Dungeness Spit. Walking the spit itself was rough with pebbles, rocks and soft sand. We didn't get very far, but we enjoyed the sea, the sand, the driftwood and the sense of heading out to sea while still dryshod.

The real treat was the Primitive Trail from the entry station to the descent to the spit. It is early spring, and it is finally starting to look it. Even better, there were trilliums. They're our big sign of spring, and there were lots of them along the trail.

Early spring


Along the Primitive Trail

Another trillium

Yet another

A lush trail after a too long winter

A glimpse of the Spit

Along the Spit

Another look

Driftwood horizon

Out to sea

Back to the bluffs

A stony stretch

A look back along the Spit

Back along the Primitive Trail

A hidden trillium we missed on our way out

More spring green

Green, green, at long last green

More trilliums lurking

A trillium in a sea of green

You can tell we're excited about seeing trilliums.

We're also relieved to see so much green.

A closer

Keywords: dungeness spit

01/11/22 - Dungeness Spit Near High Tide

We usually avoid Dungeness Spit at high tide, but, in January, just about every low tide suitable for hiking is at night. This will be the situation until February. We recently took advantage of a falling tide during the day and walked down to the spit. The tide was high, and the beach was full of driftwood. There were large logs which can be dangerous, but they were all securely anchored on land. With the tide going out, they were unlikely to cause problems.

The going was rough. We didn't have to clamber over any logs. Usually, we could time the waves breaking on the rough winter sand and scoot around them. As we neared the stake at the one half mile mark, there was less driftwood but the beach was rough and rocky. It was beautiful with the wild gray skies and the breakers crashing into the spit. There were few birds on the water.

We didn't get all that far, maybe a mile out all told, but what we saw was wonderful. On the way back, there were the mountain views. We still prefer hiking the spit at low tide, but it's nice to know it is passable even in less than perfect conditions.

The spit

The view from the ground, rather daunting

Driftwood and salt water

Some more driftwood blocking our path

A chunk of a big log

Some artistic driftwood

Our hiking trail, not as bad as it looks

The half mile stake in the distance, to the left of the spit

Another view of the spit

The view back

Another view out

Strait meets sand

Another look back

Just a bit past the half mile stake

Another mountain view taken while balancing on a driftwood log

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, tides, winter

06/17/21 - Dungeness Spit

It is hard to walk the Dungeness Spit in the winter. The mid-day low tide is usually almost as high as its surrounding high tides, and the what there is of the beach lacks sand so progress is hard going. We're in the season of good tides now. Check the left hand side of this web page or our tide tables to find a good tide. Note that the lighthouse is closed for the duration, so no bathroom or running water. Still, this is the best time of year for the ten mile round trip hike.

The forest walk to the spit

The sea and clouds

Take off!

More sea and clouds

An eagle on the driftwood - Check inland now and then.

The view back to land, again mainly sea, sand and sky

A view from the climb out

The forest trail again

and again

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, summer

02/14/20 - Dungeness Spit, Now With Sand

We went back to Dungeness Spit again, and this time there was lots of beach. It was easy walking. Of course, this time the tides were with us with a tide under two feet at around two o'clock. There will be good hiking tides at the Dungeness Spit every two weeks or so, so consider the days around February 29th or March 11th if you want to get out to the lighthouse or just have a good walk out into the strait.

A nice broad beach

Farther out, still lots of easy going sand

A common sight on the spit

Signs of spring

The Dungeness Spit

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

02/02/20 - Winter Tides at Dungeness Spit

In January, we had take a walk at the Dungeness Spit with the tide nominally at five feet. We usually recommend hiking the beaches of the North Olympic Peninsula when the tide is down around three feet or so, but it was a mild day, and we found lots of sand on the beach and easy going. Not so on our most recent five foot tide visit. The tide tables told us the same tide height, but the tides begged too differ. Recent rains, storm winds and evil gremlins gave us a lot more wild sea and a lot less walkable sand.

There will be some better tides later in February. We'll aim for three foot tides and report back.

A local salamander to brighten our day

Not much to walk on

That's the 1/2 mile stake.

Another view of the spit and rollers

The wintry sea

Keywords: beaches, dungeness spit, tides

01/20/20 - Dungeness Spit

The autumn tides make it hard to take long walks on Dungeness Spit, but in January they start to get better. We went out with the tide at five feet and falling. The beach was broad and sandy which made for easy going. There was even a rainbow to make things even nicer.

The rainbow and rollers

The spit with lots of sand

Salt water

Lots of broad beach


More driftwood

Still more driftwood

A natural sculpture

Looking down at the spit

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides

07/24/19 - Dungeness Spit Lighthouse

There have been some good low tides lately, so we headed out on Dungeness Spit, and, somewhat to our surprise, made our way all the way out to the lighthouse in what was a record time for us. There was good footing and a bit of cloud in the sky that made the walk all that much easier. It's a fascinating walk, almost five miles out on a narrow spit jutting into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Even when one is walking it, there is a feeling that it is something strange and wonderful. The lighthouse makes it even better. It's a haven with fresh water and a clean bathroom. Thank you lighthouse volunteers.

The broad low tide beach

One often sees interesting ships on the strait

First glimpse of the lighthouse

The haven

Mount Baker

Rock art

The way back with mountains

The way out, a path into the sea

Driftwood lines the way

We call this Ribsy even though most of the ribs are gone.

There was a lot of pink seaweed on the beach.

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

04/09/19 - First Trillium of the Season

It has been a long hard winter. The signs of spring have been late in coming, but yesterday, while walking down to the Dungeness Spit, we saw our first trillium of the year. It may be coming slowly, but spring is on its way.

Keywords: dungeness spit, spring, trillium

03/12/19 - Various March Birds

This hasn't been a good year for hiking, but it has been a good year for bird watching. The eagles are easy to spot from the Dungeness Dike, and we saw a hummingbird in a bush right near the trail. There was a woodpecker on the forested part of the walk to Dungeness Spit, and a big hawk in a tree as we headed west from the Morse Creek parking lot.

A red tail hawk

Just some trees, unless you look closely

They're full of eagles.

A hummingbird at rest

A hummingbird in motion

The sea and sky off Dungeness Spit

A woodpecker at work on the trail

Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, eagle, morse creek

02/28/19 - Dungeness Spit

In case you are wondering what happened to us in February, we were sick. We caught some kind of monster cold, possibly in Bhutan, more likely in Bangkok on the way home, but possibly even back home in Port Angeles. We have been recovering, and even took a short walk on the Dungeness Spit. It was a nice low tide and the walking conditions were excellent with lots of sand. The spit can be rough going in the winter offering a choice of slippery rocks or too soft sand. This year the walking was just right.

Exceptionally clear air - Mount Baker and the Dungeness Light

Good walking conditions on the spit

Ribsy, or what is left of it

Heading south, into the sun

The spit from above

Keywords: dungeness spit, winter

09/26/18 - Dungeness Spit to the Lighthouse

We are getting into the autumn tides which make it hard to get out to the Dungeness Spit. The walk takes from three to four hours, and when the tide is above three feet, it can be rough going. We managed to catch a good tide in late September and, much to our surprise, made it all the way out to the lighthouse for a ten mile round trip walk.

As usual, the spit was hypnotic. It's a long narrow strip of beach that just heads out to sea. On one side of the path is Strait of San Juan de Fuca and on the other side there is a low rise decorated with driftwood and beach shrubs. The best walking is down towards the water. Above there is sand, rocks and pebbles.

An overview of Dungeness Spit

A hypnotic walk

More of the spit

Beach life

The bay protected by the spit

The lighthouse in the distance

The lighthouse as we approached

The spit on our return walk

Ribsy - one of our landmarks, about a mile out

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides

03/14/18 - Dungeness Spit at Low Tide

Every two weeks or so, there are some great tides at the Dungeness Spit. We recommend planning any long walks on the spit when the low tide gets down to three feet, but lately, the daytime low tide has been getting down below one foot. That means lots of broad beach, and there is lots of sand for easy walking. The light house is only five miles out. What are you waiting for?

For our Dungeness Spit tide tables . Good, low, daylight tides are marked in green.

Wide, sandy beach

An eagle on the driftwood

The orange cap marks "my spot"

Good, easy walking

A view from above

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle, tides

03/31/17 - Dungeness Spit Low Tides

There have been some pretty impressive low tides at the Dungeness Spit lately. Every two weeks or so the low tides are mid-day, so there is a lot of beach for walking. We've been taking advantage of it. (Check out our tide tables here.)

One of the newts on the trail

A big broad beach

A look back at the mountains

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

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