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Dungeness Spit day hike

No need to head all the way to the Pacific if it's a good beach hike you seek. One of Washington's best saltwater strolls is along its "north coast, "the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Actually, this hike heads directly into the strait on the longest coastal spit in the continental United States. A narrow strip of sand, dune, and beached logs, the Dungeness Spit protrudes over 5 miles straight into the strait. Prone to breaching during storms, the spit is also resilient and well-established-and well-hiked and loved by those who explore it.

The Dungeness Spit was formed by wind and water currents that forced river silt and glacial till to arch into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over the centuries the spit has grown to over 5 miles. You can hike all the way to the tip, where a lighthouse has been keeping guard since 1857. The extreme tip, however, like the Dungeness Bay side of the spit, is closed to public entry to protect important wildlife habitat. Because the spit is protected and managed as a wildlife refuge, many recreational activities are restricted. Please respect areas closed to public visitation.

Try to do this hike during low tide for easier walking. Lying within the Olympic rain shadow, the spit receives less than 20 inches of rainfall annually, making it a great winter destination when surrounding areas are socked in. Pack your binoculars too, as the bird-watching is supreme. Over 250 species have been recorded on the spit and in Dungeness Bay, including many that are endangered or threatened. Marbled murrelets, harlequin ducks, and snowy plovers frequent the area.

Follow the refuge trail 0.5 mile through cool maritime forest. Before descending to the beach, take in sweeping views of the spit from an overlook. Now drop 100 feet, emerging at the base of tall bluffs and at the start of the spit. It's a straightforward hike to the lighthouse. Pack plenty of water and sunscreen. If the 11-mile round trip seems daunting, any distance hiked along the spit will be rewarding.

Details:

• Trailhead GPS coordinates: [masked], [masked]

• Parking fee: $3 per family, which probably translates to $3 per car. The only passes that will work are "America the Beautiful", "Interagency Senior", or "Interagency Access"

• ETA at trailhead: 9:10 AM. That assumes that we leave the P&R at 7:15 AM.

• Chuck's car: Black Jeep

• Chuck's cell: [masked]

Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.
Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.

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  • Kathe

    A Great day for hiking on the beach, with an abundance of Sunshine!!! For all the trailsider's "Thank You" for sharing in the fun :~) .

    April 27, 2014

  • Chuck M.

    Excellent! The forecast is now only a 30% chance of showers. After night falls, the rain chance increases, but we should be long gone by that time!

    April 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anybody has a vacant spot on the car? thx!~

    April 25, 2014

  • Lisa A.

    David I hope you do this again this Summer. Sorry I am missing out on tomorrow's hike. Have a great time!

    April 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unexpected happenings. I won't be able to make it this time

    April 25, 2014

  • Renee M

    I'm not coming afterall. My heel just hasn't healed enough to do this hike. Maybe next time. Have a great time.

    April 25, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      That's a shame, especially since this is such a flat (i.e. easy) hike. Still, 11 miles is a long way to go when you are injured. We'll see you another time.

      April 25, 2014

  • Christine

    I'm on the waitlist, but if I get in to the hike I'd most likely want to meet you all at the trailhead since I live in Manchester.

    1 · April 21, 2014

    • Kathe

      Hi Christine.. looks like I made it on the list "YAY" . Could we carpool togather :~)

      April 24, 2014

    • Christine

      Yes, absolutely!

      1 · April 25, 2014

  • Kathe

    Hi Chuck .. in hopes of taking part in this event , as of now I'm on the waiting list.. I would meet you all at the Traihead as I will be coming from Manchester

    April 24, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Will see you at the trailhead. We should arrive at about 9:10 AM.

      April 24, 2014

    • Kathe

      "Thank You" Chuck, looking forward to a meeting you and other's for a great day!!!

      April 24, 2014

  • Renee M

    The park and ride is showing up as Tacoma way and NOT Pacific hwy. Which is correct?

    April 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      It is the same street. It goes by 2 different names.

      April 24, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Just look for the McDonalds. We will meet between the McDonalds and I-5 in the P&R.

      April 24, 2014

  • Lisa A.

    Hi Chuck, I have the Discover Pass and America the Beautiful. Can we use these for this hike? Never sure which ones are needed. Happy to drive.

    April 23, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      America the Beautiful pass: Yes. Discover or NW Forest passes: No.

      April 23, 2014

    • Lisa A.

      Sorry, something came up so I'm not able to go. Hope to catch this again with you guys. Have a great time!

      April 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi there, I would like to carpool if I can. Or I can drive with passengers. I can meet at the park and ride. Or pick up along the way. Thanks

    April 22, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      With this many people, we have to carpool. Just meet us at the p&r.

      April 22, 2014

  • Chuck M.

    As of Monday, the 21st, the weather forecast says that there is a chance of showers in Sequim. I'll follow up later, as we get closer to Saturday. In the meantime, here are two things to keep in mind:
    1) Sequim is in the Olympics' rain shadow, so we have a decent chance of seeing little or even no rain.
    2) I will not cancel the hike unless it is dangerous (tsunami, lightning, zombie apocalypse :), etc.).

    April 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would love to go to this location on another future date

    April 20, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      I will not be able to host another hike there this year, because my schedule is full. Sorry.

      April 20, 2014

  • Alison L.

    I have unexpected guests coming so I will not be able to go. Hope the rest of you enjoy. It was an interesting walk.

    April 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have to be in a class all day. Sorry I'm going to miss this.

    April 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Does anyone want to carpool from Tumwater/Olympia? I can drive.

    March 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I suppose if the other group is leaving at 7, we could leave at 7:30?

      March 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I am sorry, I have to travel to Boston on this date. I will have to back out. Have fun you all.

      April 16, 2014

  • Cindy

    Unfortunately, now I can no longer go. An unexpected change in my schedule.

    April 6, 2014

  • Carolyn

    Is the $ amount based on if there's only one passenger and less if there's 2 or more passengers? Just curious.

    April 5, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      That's odd. I replied yesterday, and it disappeared. Oh well. One more time then...

      First, the dollar figure is just a suggestion. Drivers are free to ask for more or less.
      Second, I think that it was too high, so I lowered it to $15.

      I was using a formula based on time, but that is out of date, and doesn't handle today's lower gas prices. Here is the formula I will use from now on.

      Assumptions:
      One driver and two passengers
      Gas mileage: 15 MPG. Yes, I know that is low, but this will compensate for wear and tear on the car, not to mention the work that the driver has to do (driving for long periods is tiring).

      The formula:
      204 miles RT / 15 MPG * $3.50 per gallon = $47.60
      $47.60 / 3 (driver and 2 passengers) = $15.87.
      Rounding it down gives $15 per passenger.

      Hope this helps!

      April 6, 2014

  • Renee M

    Chuck, is it an issue that it will be high tide during the hike? I checked this site and found that on 4/26 high tide is at 2:45 pm (http://www.olypen.com/tidetables/2014_04_dungeness_sequim.html)

    April 4, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      There's not much we can do about the tide. We arrive just shortly after low tide, and I estimate that we'll get back to the cars about half an hour after high tide. I think that we'll be okay. Besides, the alternative is leaving Tacoma at least three hours earlier (4:15 AM). Yuck!

      April 4, 2014

  • Renee M

    Bummer, I just answered my own question about parking at the lighthouse. I looked online and found that you can only get to the lighthouse by walking the 5.5 miles. Thus, the 11 miles that Chuck mentions. I guess I'll have to turn around halfway instead of walking the entire spit. Oh well.

    April 4, 2014

  • Renee M

    I'm having problems with heel pain so won't be able to do entire 11 miles. I was wondering if an option might be to leave one or two cars at the lighthouse where we have lunch so that people who want to only do one way have that option. We'd need someone to follow us to the lighthouse in their car and then drive us back to the beginning of the hike. I'd be willing to be one of the drivers. My car will hold three other people beside my friend, Betty, and me. Do you think that could work? That would also get the people who do only the one-way hike back in Tacoma at an earlier time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Kelly

    What time do you anticipate being back in Tacoma?

    April 3, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Best case, about 5:30. Worst case: about 7 PM. Here's how I calculated it. It takes close to 2 hours to drive there. The hike is 11 miles round trip. Assuming that we walk at 2 MPH, that's 5.5 hours. Add 30 minutes for lunch. So, best case is 2 + 5.5 + .5 + 2 = 10 hours. Assuming that we leave at 7:15, we'll get back at 5:15. I doubt that we'll get back that early, because we might want to explore the lighthouse or stop for a meal, so I think that it'll be closer to 7 PM.

      April 3, 2014

    • Kelly

      Very helpful, thanks

      April 4, 2014

  • Tom G.

    I live on Fox Island, so I'd like to join the group in Gig Harbor, perhaps at the P&R where we've done this before. OK?

    March 28, 2014

    • Tom G.

      Thank you, Chuck, but I've now got a schedule conflict and will be unable to join you on the 26th. :-( I hope everyone has a good time!

      April 2, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Oh well. Another time, then.

      April 2, 2014

  • Cynthia F.

    Stephanie, I live in Olympia and could car pool with you from that area. Let me know if you're interested. I'd be willing to drive.

    March 29, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      It sounds like we have a sizable oly contingent. Maybe two cars worth. I'm sure if we all meet at Haggen @ 7:30 we can divide up in cars.

      March 29, 2014

  • Mark O

    I had to cancel I didn't realize I promised my son to take him somewhere else that day.

    March 29, 2014

  • Renee M

    Can I bring one friend? I invited her before you closed the event.

    March 28, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Sure. Experience has shown me that at least one person will cancel by the time of the event.

      March 28, 2014

  • Chuck M.

    Gad! 21 people already. I don't want the group to be too huge, so I've set the limit to that number.

    March 28, 2014

14 went

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