Browns Point -Kalaloch–Kid and dog friendly hike on the wild Olympic Coast

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Beautiful and wild, yet so accessible!

Location: Olympic National Park coast

Land Agency: National Park Service

Roundtrip: 4.0 miles

Elevation gain: 50 feet

Contact: Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center

Green Trails Map: La Push, WA- No 163S

Notes: Dogs must be leashed; Browns Point can only be rounded during low tides

Good to Know: kid-friendly, dog-friendly, snow free winter hike; beach walking; exceptional wildlife viewing

Access: From Hoquiam, follow US 101 north for 70 miles to Kalaloch. (From Forks travel 34 miles south on US 101). Turn left into Kalaloch Campground and park in picnic day use area.

 

The wide sandy beaches of Kalaloch make for the perfect introduction to the wild Olympic Coast. Although the highway is never far, towering bluffs, and hidden coves give this area a feeling of remoteness. Perfect for children and dogs too (they are allowed on these beaches but they must be leashed), you can spend days exploring this area’s extensive tide pools and headlands. The hike to Browns Point, a jumbled collection of rock islands and surf-splashed cliffs, makes a fine half day objective.

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Children will love hiking through the natural arch.

            From the picnic area bluff descend 25 feet, hopping over a tangled pile of drift logs to reach the beach. Now head north on a wide and smooth expanse of sandy shoreline. On clear days you can see all the way to Hoh Head on the northern horizon. Destruction Island, a sixty-acre barren outpost over three miles from shore can also be seen when the skies are clear. Uninhabited, it’s one the Pacific Coast’s most important seabird colonies.

In one mile, high grassy bluffs rising to your right create a feeling of remoteness. In 1.6 miles a series of ledges and cliffs encroaches upon the surf. If the tide is high, this is as far as you can safely go. Turn around and enjoy the beaches south of the Kalaloch Campground. But if the tide is low, work your way, over, around and even through (there’s a small arch, look for it) the rocks and ledges making up Browns Point. Explore tidal pools and cliffside caves. Admire orange and purple starfishes tightly cemented to barnacle-clad rocks. Peer down at spongy urchins and other sea critters in nature’s little saltwater baths. But remember, the inter-tidal zone is a fragile ecosystem. Please don’t remove or disturb its inhabitants. That’s the job for raucous oystercatchers in search of tasty morsels.

 

For more information (including maps and trip planning) on this hike and other Olympic Coast hikes, consult my best-selling Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula and Backpacking Washington books (Mountaineers Books).

For more information on things to do and places to stay and eat along the Washington Coast consult Northwest TripFinder.

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