Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

light shafts ruby beach
Light shafts coming through natural rock arches.

Summary


Difficulty - Very Easy
Length - 1.0 Miles
Crowds - Busy
Fees - Free
Best Season(s) - Summer, Spring

Getting There:
- Pull off Hwy 101 at Ruby Beach Sign - Proceed >1mi down unpaved road to parking lot

Rock columns scattered along ruby beach stand isolated like scupltures. Indeed “scuptured” is the single word I would use to describe Ruby Beach. Perhaps the most easily accessible and one of the most beautiful beaches on the Olympic Coast.

To be honest our decision to visit the beach was totally on impulse. Almost as we passed the turnoff to reach the trailhead I yanked the wheel suddenly as Beylah braced herself with her arms while the car turned sharply. After a very short dirt road, perhaps only a couple hundred feet, we reached the trailhead. “I’ve heard this beach is nice, trust me, it will be worth it”, I promised her.

ruby beach columns
Destict Rock Structures are strewn about Ruby Beach.

Indeed before we even reached the beach we could both tell it would be stunning. We caught glipses of the columns of rock and the tree covered islands off the coast through the forest we hiked through to reach the beach.

Once we reached the open beach after the quarter mile trail down the bluffs and through the forest we found a small creek outlet which had to be crossed by climbing over driftwood before we could explore the beaches.

rock arches ruby beach
The ocean viewed through a rock arch.

muscles and barnacles
Muscles and Barnacles.

Several rock sculptures greeted us immediately once we were across. We studied them, each new angle we looked at them from revealed more. What at first appeared to be a column was really an arch, and what appeared to be solid rock contained tunnels lined with starfish, mussels and barnacles.

ruby beach headlands
The headlands north of Ruby Beach.

A classic spruce covered offshore island sat quietly in the background, waves from a tumultuous sea beating against it. The tide was not low when we arrived, so our exploration of the local tidepools was somewhat limited.

After exploring the rocks and discovering all manner of marine life we decided mutually it was time to get going. The sun was getting low and we still had to get up to Second Beach[LINK] near La Push by sundown.

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