Explore Kalaloch in Washington's Olympic National Park | Everything You Need to Know

Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Six years ago I had never heard of the Olympic Peninsula, much less Kalaloch. We were newlyweds who had just moved to Seattle and were eager for new experiences when we found our way to the Washington coast that spring day in 2017. REI had just had one of their big annual sales and we had finally splurged on a tent. Granted, it wasn't anything fancy but it was watertight and just cozy enough for the two of us.

We loaded up our ten year old Toyota Prius and hit the road to a new-to-us destination: the Olympic Peninsula. We had planned to spend a long weekend driving around this corner of Washington, camping along the way. Kalaloch was our first stop and we were lucky enough to snag a first-come-first-serve spot. We spent the night wandering the beaches and falling in love with a whole new side of our beloved Evergreen State. Kalaloch was the first PNW beach we ever visited and it has become our most visited beach in the USA.

Whenever we find ourselves on the Peninsula we dip into the campground and try to snag a spot for a night or two. Surprisingly, we've always managed to get a spot! As I'm sitting here typing I'm currently in our beachfront spot with million dollar views of the Pacific Ocean. If you're hoping to plan a trip to Olympic National Park, Kalaloch should be on your list. This is everything you need to know to plan your own trip to Washington's best beach.

Kalaloch Beach and the Pacific Ocean at sunset, Washington

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Where is Kalaloch?

Kalaloch is a beautiful coastal area located in the Olympic National Park, in the state of Washington, United States. It's positioned on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, south of the mouth of the Hoh River. Characterized by its stunning, rugged coastline and pristine, sandy beaches, Kalaloch is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Man and dog sitting on log at Kalaloch Beach, Washington

How to get to there

To reach Kalaloch, one can take multiple routes, depending on their starting point. For travelers originating from Seattle, you have two options. The most common route is to head south on I-5, then west on Highway 12, and finally north on Highway 101. This route travels through Olympia and Aberdeen before reaching the coast. An alternate route for those looking for a scenic drive is to take a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, drive through the quaint towns of Poulsbo and Port Angeles, and finally connect to Highway 101.

For those coming from Portland, you can head north on I-5, then west on Highway 6, and continue north on Highway 101. This route will take you through Chehalis and Hoquiam before arriving at the coast. Whether you're traveling from Seattle or Portland, your journey will be blessed with beautiful views of the Pacific Northwest landscapes. Be sure to plan your trip allowing for several stops along the way to truly soak in the region's natural beauty.

Portland, OR to Kalaloch: 3 hr 42 min | 212 miles | Google Maps

Seattle, WA to Kalaloch (via I-5 and Highway 12): 3 hr 5 min | 177 miles | Google Maps

Seattle, WA to Kalaloch (via Bainbridge ferry): 4 hr 23 min | 173 miles | Google Maps

Land Cruiser camper camping at Kalaloch Beach at sunset

Best time of year to visit the Washington coast

Each season in Kalaloch has its own distinct charm. The biggest thing to remember is that with the different seasons come different amounts of daylight. Winter days in Washington are very short, whereas summer in Washington features long days of sunshine.


Spring at Kalaloch welcomes the rebirth of nature. As the dense winter fog lifts, you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the rugged coastline under clear skies. It's the perfect time for bird watching, as migratory species make their stop in this verdant environment. The temperature hovers around a comfortable 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for beach walks and picnics. However, this is the Pacific Northwest, so always be prepared for the occasional rain shower. But don't let that deter you, as the rain adds a unique charm, creating dramatic seascapes and lush, green foliage in the surrounding forest.


Summer at Kalaloch is a season of sunshine, blue skies, and warm temperatures typically hovering around the 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit range (with some days in the 80s). The inviting weather draws in both locals and tourists to the beach, making it a bustling spot for sunbathing, camping, and beach-combing. Long daylight hours provide ample time to explore the myriad of hiking trails in the nearby forest or take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, looking for washed-up treasures. Don't miss the stunning sunsets that paint the sky in an array of colors, a perfect backdrop for an evening campfire. It's also the ideal time to spot marine wildlife, so keep an eye out for seals, otters, and a variety of seabirds. However, summer is a popular season, so make sure to book your campsite or lodge room in advance.


Autumn in Kalaloch is a spectacle of nature’s grandeur, as the landscape transforms into a palette of rich, warm colors. The verdant greens of the forest turn into hues of orange, red, and yellow, providing a stark contrast to the constant, crashing blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. Temperatures gradually drop, ranging from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, giving the air a crisp, refreshing feel. This makes it an excellent time for beach walks, where you can enjoy the solitude of the less crowded beaches, or for exploring the forest trails blanketed in colorful fall foliage. Wildlife sightings are common during this season as well, with many bird species passing through Kalaloch on their migration route. Be sure to pack your rain gear as showers are more frequent, but the occasional drizzle only adds to the charm and tranquility of this coastal haven.


Winter at Kalaloch is a season of tranquility and stark, raw beauty. The landscape is often cloaked in a soft blanket of fog, giving the coastline a mystic and ethereal vibe. Temperatures can drop to lows of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but daytime averages stay around a cool 50 degrees. It's an ideal time for those desiring solitude and quiet reflection, as the beaches are less crowded and there's a serene calm that pervades the area. Storm watching is a popular activity during this season, with the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the rugged shoreline offering a dramatic spectacle. Wildlife enthusiasts may be rewarded with sightings of bald eagles and other winter birds. While the days are shorter, they're filled with a unique beauty that's just as compelling as other seasons. Just remember to dress warmly and be prepared for frequent rainfall.

Man walks down path to get to Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park

Camping at Kalaloch

Camping at Kalaloch offers an unforgettable experience with the soothing sound of waves as your nightly lullaby. The campground boasts over 170 sites, accommodating both tent campers and RV enthusiasts. While there are no hookups available for RVs, a dump station and potable water are conveniently located within the campground for your disposal needs. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and a fire pit, perfect for evening gatherings or marshmallow roasting sessions. Restroom facilities with running water and flush toilets are spread throughout the campground, ensuring comfort during your stay. Please note that while the sites don't offer much privacy due to the lack of vegetation between them, the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean from some of the spots more than compensate for this minor drawback. (Note: Not every campsite has a view of the ocean. To ensure you are on the ocean, be sure to checkout the campground map when reserving your spot.) As this is a popular camping spot, especially during the summer months, advance reservations are highly recommended.


Bath house at Kalaloch Campground
Kalaloch Campground welcome sign, Olympic National Park

Staying at Kalaloch Lodge

For those who prefer a bit more comfort and conveniences, Kalaloch Lodge offers a wonderful alternative to camping. A stay at this historic lodge, located right on the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, provides guests with stunning, unobstructed views of the expansive ocean and breathtaking sunsets. The lodge offers a range of accommodations to suit every need, from cozy rooms in the main lodge to spacious cabins and comfortable suites. Each room is tastefully decorated, capturing the rustic charm of the Pacific Northwest, and equipped with modern amenities for a comfortable stay. You can expect features like comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and in some cases, kitchenettes.

Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation and the season, but it's safe to say that the lodge offers a good balance between comfort and affordability. The on-site Creekside Restaurant offers delicious local cuisine, and the lodge's location gives easy access to all the park activities. Remember, just like the campground, the lodge can fill up fast, especially during the summer months, so make sure to book your stay well in advance.


Driftwood on Kalaloch Beach, Washington
Sunlight coming through marine layer at Kalaloch

Are dogs allowed at Kalaloch Beach?

Yes, dogs are allowed at Kalaloch Beach, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Olympic National Park is a haven for wildlife, and wildlife regulations are in place to ensure these animals can live and thrive without human interference. Please remember to clean up after your pet and respect all posted signage regarding restricted areas.

Man and dog on Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park
Dog digging on Kalaloch Beach, Washington

See the famous "Tree of Life"

The "Tree of Life" is an iconic feature of Kalaloch Beach and is easily accessible to visitors. From the Kalaloch Lodge, head north towards the Kalaloch campground. There's a well-trodden path leading you directly to the tree from the campground. The tree is unmistakable: its root system is fully exposed due to soil erosion, yet it continues to thrive, with its top lush and green. It's a testament to nature's resilience and makes for a great photo opportunity. However, please remember to admire it from a safe distance and avoid climbing on it to prevent any damage to this natural wonder.

Chris and Sara sit on a log under Tree of Life at Kalaloch, Olympic National Park, Washington

Other things to see and do near Kalaloch

  1. Explore the Hoh Rain Forest: Located in the heart of Olympic National Park, this is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. The lush, green canopy and moss-draped trees provide a unique and unforgettable hiking experience.
  2. Visit Ruby Beach: Just a short drive north of Kalaloch, Ruby Beach offers stunning views, tide pools teeming with marine life, and dramatic sea stacks. It's a perfect place for photography, picnicking, and beachcombing.
  3. Discover Quinault Rainforest: This temperate rainforest surrounds Lake Quinault and offers several trails that wind through old-growth forest, past beautiful waterfalls, and along the serene lake.
  4. Check out the Quileute Reservation: The Quileute Reservation, located in La Push, offers a unique cultural experience. Visit the beaches of First, Second, and Third Beach for breathtaking views of sea stacks and incredible sunsets.
  5. Hike to Sol Duc Falls: This relatively short trail leads to one of the most photographed waterfalls in Olympic National Park. The stunning three-pronged waterfall is absolutely worth the hike.
  6. Go fishing in the Sol Duc River: Known for its salmon runs, the Sol Duc River offers excellent fishing opportunities. Be sure to check on the local regulations and seasons.
  7. Take a dip in the Sol Duc Hot Springs: Relax and rejuvenate in these naturally heated mineral pools. Surrounded by forest, it's an idyllic setting for unwinding after a day of hiking.

Remember to respect the natural environment in all these areas, adhering to Leave No Trace principles and park rules.

Driftwood wall at Kalaloch

Final thoughts

Kalaloch is an amazing Northwest destination worth visiting any time of year - especially if you’re looking for jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches, lush Pacific coastal forests, and countless opportunities to explore the natural landscapes. Whether you choose to camp on the beach or stay at the famous Kalaloch Lodge, you can find something for everyone during your visit. Plus, don’t forget to include seeing the famous "Tree of Life" in your plans and take full advantage of all the other things Kalaloch has to offer. Make sure a trip to Washington's scenic coast includes a stop at Kalaloch – after all memories are made on great vacations! Visit Kalaloch, Washington today for a truly unforgettable experience and start making those treasured apprehensions!

Like this post? Checkout some of our other Washington and national parks travel guides.

Explore Kalaloch in Washington's Olympic National Park | Everything You Need to Know

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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