Ruby Beach: Best Place to Stop Off U.S. Highway 101 in Washington
Sea stacks at Ruby Beach. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
Back in November 2011, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the state of Washington. At that time, neither of us had ever visited Washington and really didn’t know where we’d go or know much about the state, except that Seattle is there, Mount Rainier is there, and it’s a state named after the first president of the United States.
We had flown into Seattle on a Saturday night, in plans for my wife to run the Seattle Marathon the next morning on Sunday. Prior to our trip to Washington, we’d both been reading the Twilight series of books and were on the last book of the series together by the time of our arrival. We had figured that since we’d be in Washington, that we were obliged to take a road trip during our visit to see the towns mentioned in the novel series.
Perspective of Space Needle in Seattle. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
We of course saw Seattle and the beautiful city it is, but we are adventurers and love to travel the road, so we decided that once she had finished her marathon and had relaxed the rest of the day on Sunday, we’d head out on our Twilight themed road trip early in the morning Monday and take our rental car for a drive on the countryside for the day.
We visited places like Port Angeles, the lush green Olympia National Park, the small village of Forks and the windy coastal town of La Push. We loved the opportunity to visit the actual towns mentioned in the book series we had been reading over the weeks prior to our arrival. It was a great way to immerse ourselves into the story we’d been reading. You can read all about our Washington travels in our blog series entitled “That Time We Found a Magical Place”. There’s even video to go along with each part of the series so that you may ride along in our journey as you read. It’s also recommended to check out our blog post entitled “Themed Road Trips” to see how you may want to make your next road trip adventure a themed one unique to your interests.
Washington was a beautiful state to visit and we thoroughly enjoyed our road trip there. Each town visited was quite quaint and really had a pacific northwestern village kind of aura to each. As I said, seeing each of the towns in the Twilight novel series was a fantastic way to spend our day driving around Washington, but one place that was completely found by accident on our trip was the most spectacular location we had ever seen at that time. An almost otherworldly place named Ruby Beach.
About Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is the northernmost of the southern beaches in the coastal section of Olympic National Park in the U.S. state of Washington. It is located on Highway 101, in Jefferson County, 27 miles (43 km) south of the town of Forks. Like virtually all beaches on the northern coast, Ruby Beach has a tremendous amount of driftwood. It is notable for the number of sea stacks there. The beach is so called because of the ruby-like crystals in the beach sand.
End of Trail to Ruby Beach. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
In Part 4 of our blog series entitled “That Time We Found a Magical Place”, I mention in detail of what it was like to see such a magnificent place. “I couldn't believe it. We reached the end of the trail and what I observed at the time was so new to me, a sight I had never experienced and I was absolutely mesmerized. I remember speaking to Jenny in excitement as if I were a little boy again, excited about finding this magical place.”
How to get to Ruby Beach?
If you’re traveling from Forks, you’ll need to travel southbound on US 101 for 27 miles and turn right following signage for Ruby Beach just past mile marker 165.
If you’re traveling from Kalaloch or for northbound travelers, follow US 101 north and turn left following signage for Ruby Beach just past mile marker 164.
Trail to Ruby Beach. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
The parking lot has space for approximately two dozen cars, with overflow parking along the road leading to the lot. There are two vault toilets available near the trailhead. This is where I talk about in Part 2 of our blog series “That Time We Found a Magical Place”, how my wife and I barely caught a glimpse of this place from road. As I had mentioned, we weren’t even aware of this place, we just saw that there were some bathrooms there and needed to stop.
More on Ruby Beach
Here’s what the Washington Trails Association says about this spectacular place: “Beginning at the parking lot trailhead, follow the trail down to the beach for approximately a quarter of a mile and navigate over driftwood to reach the beach. Near the bottom of this trail, Cedar Creek empties into a large pool ideal for play for children and families.
From here, choose your own adventure along the beach. To the north, walk about three miles past several large sea stacks and cliff faces until you reach the waters of the mighty Hoh River, which begins 56 miles away, cascading from the eastern side of Mount Olympus. To the south, it may be possible to hike about three miles to Steamboat Creek during low tide, with views of Destruction Island and its lighthouse to the west.
When you're finished exploring the beach, return to the trail over the driftwood and walk a quarter-mile to the trailhead.”
If you’ve read Parts 3-4 of our blog series entitled “That Time We Found a Magical Place”, you hear of our experience walking down this same trail and what we saw. It was like walking on another world for us. It was truly an unforgettable experience. After we had reached the end of the trail and were on the beach I speak of the sea stacks we saw there; “They were enormous, giants of the beach; beautiful dark colored rock that jetted out of the ground as if pushed out by some colossal event that occurred many millennia ago.”If you’re ever in that area of the country and are able to take a drive to see that beautiful Pacific Coast beauty, we highly recommend you try and visit Ruby Beach. It’s like what I said at the end of Part 4 of our blog series “That Time We Found a Magical Place”, “unless you go, you'll never see a diamond like we did. It was a spectacular sight, a truly magical place, indeed.”