Three Lighthouses around the Olympic Peninsula Coast: Cape Flattery, Slip Point, and Destruction Island

Ruby Beach Olympic Coast

I consider myself a pharologist – one who has an interest in lighthouses. In fact, during many travels, I incorporate visiting lighthouses into some itineraries. When my husband and I spent three beautiful days on the Olympic Peninsula Coast of Washington State, it was no different, as on our third day we went to go see three lighthouses around the Olympic Peninsula Coast. Although in this case, one of the lighthouses no longer exists, except for the Keeper’s Quarters. And the other two lighthouses need to be observed from afar. But that didn’t matter because the forest and beach walks made seeing these three lighthouses worthwhile.

Ruby Beach Olympic Coast

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At the farthest northwesternmost corner of the continental United States, my husband and I enjoyed a one-and-a-half mile walk (round trip), mostly on a boardwalk, through the forest of Cape Flattery, where we reached an observation deck which looks out at views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Tatoosh Island. On this 20-acre island is the Cape Flattery Lighthouse.

Cape Flattery Lighthouse Neah Bay

The tower of the Cape Flattery Lighthouse is 66 feet tall, and is surrounded by the keeper’s dwelling. Originally holding a first-order Fresnel lens which was illuminated in 1857, today the automated lighthouse, the island, Cape Flattery, and Neah Bay (the town in this area) are all owned by the Makah Tribe. If you visit this area, please note that a Makah Recreation Pass is required to park at the trailhead of the Cape Flattery Trail.

Cape Flattery Lighthouse Olympic Coast

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A one mile walk (round trip) on the beach of Clallum Bay Spit County Park, also along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, brought me and my husband to the location where Slip Point Lighthouse used to exist. Today, only the Keeper’s Quarters still stands. The original lighthouse was actually a lens-lantern that was first lit in 1905, but was replaced with a light tower in 1916 with a fourth-order Fresnel lens. This was dismantled in 1951, replaced with a beacon and fog signal on a 50-foot white tower, and then fully automated in 1977.

Slip Point Lighthouse Clallum Bay

Today the Keeper’s Quarters is shared by the Clallam Bay County Sheriff’s Department and Coast Guard personnel, and my guess is it was built by the same builders as the Burrows Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Quarters, a place that my husband and I helped out on its restoration for a few weekends a couple of summers ago. As you will notice, the two Keeper’s Quarters look almost identical.

Slip Point Lighthouse Keepers Quarters

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A late evening and a sunset brought my husband and me to Ruby Beach, where we could see in the far off distance views of Destruction Island and its lighthouse. This 33-acre tabletop island has a 92-foot brick lighthouse tower which was built in 1891, with a first-order Fresnel lens, placed in operation on January 1, 1892. Four keepers and their families typically lived on the island, which thus created a small community that “held its own school for the younger children, and raised chickens, cows, and vegetables to supplement the lighthouse rations delivered to the island.”

Destruction Island Lighthouse Ruby Beach

Automated in 1968, the original Fresnel lens of the Destruction Island Lighthouse is on display at the Westport Maritime Museum. My husband and I saw this museum and the lens when we visited Grays Harbor Lighthouse on a different trip along another part of the coast of Washington State. The lens is displayed in a large room, and can be turned on so that it rotates around and lights up the room. In fact, “a skylight above the lens lets natural sunlight dance on the prisms, while the lens slowly rotates, casting its twenty-four spotlights around the room.” A picture I took of this is in the Grays Harbor blog I linked to above.

Destruction Island Lighthouse Ruby Beach

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Aside from our day in search of the three lighthouses around the Olympic Peninsula Coast, our other two beautiful days were spent renewing my love of walking near the ocean by strolling on Rialto Beach to “Hole in the Wall,” and Second Beach, and wandering on Shi Shi Beach to “Point of the Arches” so that my husband could check that off his bucket list.

Ruby Beach Olympic Coast

Sweet Travels!

Some information on Cape Flattery Lighthouse obtained from:
Makah Tribe – Cape Flattery Trail
Lighthouse Friends – Cape Flattery

Some information on Slip Point Lighthouse obtained from:
Lighthouse Friends – Slip Point

Some information, including the quotes, on Destruction Island Lighthouse obtained from:
Lighthouse Friends – Destruction Island

For more of my blogs on lighthouses, please visit my Lighthouse Category.

Some other information obtained from the book, Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula by Craig Romano.

Walking on Shi Shi Beach Trail of the Olympic Peninsula Coast

Shi Shi Beach Olympic CoastOver 25 years ago visiting Shi Shi Beach was on my husband’s bucket list. Long before people made bucket lists. And long before my husband knew me.

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

25 years later, my husband was able to check walking on Shi Shi Beach Trail of the Olympic Peninsula Coast off his bucket list as he and his wife (me!) spent a day hiking the beach from the north end, walking southbound, to a place called Point of the Arches, and back. Being mindful of the tides of course.

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

Back in the 1980’s on a solo backpack trip, my husband was able to walk northbound from Ozette River almost to Point of the Arches, only to be turned back by the tides. That was the closest he got to Shi Shi Beach, and decided then that it would be on his bucket list.

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

Aside from the tides, the reason my husband was not able to get to Shi Shi beach over 25 years ago was that it was remote, and access getting to the beach from the north end was limited due to it being on the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay. Today, the Makah Tribe allows access from the north end via a 2 mile hike through a Sitka spruce forest before arriving at the breathtakingly beautiful beach.

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

My husband and I spent our 9 mile round trip day, sometimes with shoes off, filled with sand, sunshine, blue skies, crashing ocean waves, and playing sea birds. This was our second day of walking on the beaches of the Olympic Peninsula Coast of Washington.

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

I’m glad that my husband had to wait 25 years to walk on Shi Shi Beach so that we could fulfill something on his bucket list together!

Shi Shi Beach Olympic Coast

Sweet Travels!

Here is a link for more information on the Shi Shi Beach Trail.

Walking on the Beaches of the Olympic Peninsula Coast of Washington State

Olympic Coast Rialto BeachWhen I took three days to walk up the Atlantic Coast in Spain on the Camino Finisterre to Muxía last June, I fell in love. With walking next to the beaches and the ocean. With being able to take a break from walking by sitting on the beach. With being able to put my feet in the water. With smelling the fresh ocean air, hearing the crashing waves, and listening to the sea birds play.

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

Historically, I have been a mountain hiker and walker. I have always been in love with the trees, plants, wildflowers, animals, fresh mountain air, and the scenery of the mountains. But now I love both – the mountains and the ocean.

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

A few months after I got back from Spain, I wanted another experience of walking near the ocean and beaches. Fortunately, pretty much right in my own backyard, well, at least in the same state I live in, I discovered the Olympic Peninsula Coast of Washington State. Here though, instead of walking near the beaches, you can actually walk on them. For miles and miles and miles.

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

In fact, you can do backpacking for days along the Olympic Peninsula Coast. Being mindful of the tides of course. You can also camp on certain beaches. While this particular trip my husband and I did not do that, we did enjoy three days of day-walks along about a half dozen different beaches. Also being mindful of the tides. We stayed in a bed and breakfast located centrally to the beaches we walked on. I say that next time though we do a backpack trip with camping. Or at least some camping.

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

Olympic Coast Rialto Beach

The pictures in this blog are from our first day. A five mile round trip walk on Rialto Beach to “Hole in the Wall.” And a three mile round trip walk on Second Beach. Yes, that was our second beach of the day, but it is literally called Second Beach. In case you are wondering, there is a First Beach and a Third Beach, too.

Olympic Coast Second Beach

Olympic Coast Second Beach

I just loved spending hours upon hours upon hours of walking, sometimes in shoes, other times barefoot, on the sand, in the water, next to the crashing ocean waves, with the fresh ocean air, and the playing sea birds.

Olympic Coast Second Beach

Sweet Travels!

PS. We have also done a driving trip with many beaches and lighthouses along the Oregon Coast.