The Olympic Peninsula’s majestic landscapes draw visitors year-round. Fortunately, the Olympic National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round. One highly recommended location for getting a taste of the Olympic Coast is the Park’s Ruby Beach.
The National Parks Service sets the scene for potential Ruby Beach visitors on its website. You can expect to encounter (or find, if you’re looking) thousands of marine species. The area is strongly protected: three national wildlife refuges and the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary all overlap here. The islands visible along the coast – 135 miles of coast, so that’s quite a stretch – are also managed and protected. It’s not uncommon to see huge colonies of common murres and tufted puffins nesting in the region.
Ruby Beach is a landscape photographer’s dream, a hiker’s delight, and a breathtaking encounter with nature for anyone who ventures there.
Hiking at Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is an excellent place to get a taste of the pristine Olympic Coast. As the Washington Trails Association explains, the hike to Ruby Beach is short and manageable, but incredible. The first quarter mile winds through maritime forest and is an easy hike for just about anybody, including non-hikers. Once you hit Ruby Beach and the Pacific, you can head south to Beach 6 or north to the Hoh River – it’s another 3 miles before getting there. But once you’re at the Hoh River, it will have been well worth the additional hike. Just be sure to time your hike with the low tide.
If you choose to hike onward from Ruby Beach, you’ll have opportunities for angling and you’ll likely see bald eagles swooping overhead.
Once you reach the mouth of the Hoh, you’ll be within the Hoh Indian Reservation. The WTA suggests using Abbey Island, visible from both locations, as a beacon. It’s said that early settlers in the area thought the island looked like a cathedral so they named it “Abbey Island.”
Before You Go
As both websites stress, checking the tides and weather conditions are key to enjoying your Ruby Beach trek.
Click here to check weather conditions.
Click here to check tides.
Olympic National Park Information
The park entrance fee is $20 for a private, non-commercial vehicle, $10 for individuals entering on a motorcycle, or $7 for individuals entering on foot or bicycle. Entrance fees are good for seven consecutive days. The fees you pay when visiting Olympic National Park are used to fund projects to improve visitor services- keeping the park pristine yet accessible. The support of visitors, both financial and through respecting the sacred land, contributes to the continued protection of this incredible region.
No matter your motivation for an Olympic Coast visit, consider staying at nearby George Washington Inn. As a luxury Port Angeles inn fit for a president, enjoy our waterfront panorama and breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, all in a rural setting similar to Mount Vernon. Visit our website to view our rooms and check availability and to download our free area Vacation Guide.
We look forward to making your Olympic Coast visit the trip of a lifetime!