As you head south on US 101, your first sight of the Pacific is at Ruby Beach. To reach the shore, you’ll have to climb over a tangled jam of logs, which have floated onto the beach. Make a note of your entry point, so that you can find the parking area when you’re ready to leave. There are no signs to help you, and the logs all look the same.
The shoreline at Ruby Beach has it all: sand, pebbles, rounded stones, driftwood, and sea stacks.
Take off your shoes and wade in the water, while walking past the rocky sea stacks that jut upward all along the beach. You’ll notice plenty of sea birds taking refuge on the larger rocks.
One of many sea stacks stands in the foreground, with Abbey Island rising up behind it.
This is as far north as I ventured along Ruby Beach. Time forced me to turn around, even though I could have spent the entire day here.
As I headed up the beach, I waded in the surf. For the trip back, I put my shoes on, and climbed on the piles of driftwood that line the shore.
It seems each log has its own character… almost ugly, but still beautiful.
Another view of the sea stacks, as fog started to roll in.
To reach Ruby Beach, you’ll have to hike a short distance through the woods. US 101 comes close to the coast for the next dozen miles, but you’ll only catch an occasional glimpse from the highway.
Heading south from Ruby Beach, you’ll pass six numbered beaches (Starting with Beach 6, ending with Beach 1). They’re poorly marked, so just stop whenever you see a parking area at the side of the road. I stopped for a moment at Beach 4, but didn’t make the hike down to the water, since the scenery was similar to what I had just seen at Ruby Beach.
Another view of Beach 4.
You may be getting hungry at this point. Fortunately, there is a park-run lodge, restaurant, and gas station between beaches 2 and 3. Kalaloch Lodge didn’t have the world’s best food or service, but the view from the dining room helped make up for it.
After that stop, continue heading south, past Beaches 2, 1, and South Beach, the final Pacific access point before US 101 turns inland.
Note: This trip was first published in 2004.