Neighboring Parks

Dungeness Sea Spit north of Olympic National Park

Walk on the longest natural sand spit in the United States near Sequim, Wash. Extending five miles into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, the sea spit has grown about 15 feet per year for the past 120 years.

Dungeness Spit
Photo by Eric Frommer/Flickr

What is a sand spit? A sea or sand spit is a ribbon of sand or shingle extending from the mainland out to sea. It occurs due to waves meeting the beach at an oblique angle, moving sediment down the beach in a zigzag pattern.

Grab your binoculars and strike out to explore the spit, looking for species like brant geese, harlequin ducks, cormorants, oystercatchers, sandpipers, and bald eagles. You might also spot harbor seals, orcas, and elephant seals among the waves.

Dungeness Spit sits in the Olympics’ rain shadow, making it a great hike in any season, and visitors can stroll all the way to a lighthouse on the tip of the spit.

Aerial view of the Dungeness Spit in Washington.
Aerial view of the Dungeness Spit in Washington. Photo by Nat Bocking via Wikimedia Commons

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

The Dungeness Sea Spit is entirely within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and home of the New Dungeness Lighthouse.

The 756 acre refuge was established in 1915 as a resting and wintering place for Black Brant and other birds. Over 250 species of birds have been noted here over the years. About 91 species nest in the refuge area, including Common Merganser, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Vaux’s Swift, Rufous hummingbird, and Willow Flycatcher.

The trail to the spit is is open daily from seven am to one half hour before sunset. After paying your $3.00 per family fee (exceptions apply) with exact cash or a check at the self-service station in the visitor plaza, hike the half-mile trail through a forest to arrive at the base of the spit. Stop at two overlooks before you descend to the sand. Be sure to bring solid shoes as walking on the sand and hurdling ocean-tossed logs is hard on bare feet.

New Dungeness Lighthouse
New Dungeness LighthouseUSFWS

If you make the five-mile hike to the lighthouse, take a tour, offered daily from 9 am to 5 pm by volunteers of the New Dungeness Light Station Association. Winter hours may vary.

For more information:

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
715 Holgerson Road, Sequim, WA 98362

New Dungeness Lighthouse