Located within the Olympic National Park off highway 101, Ruby Beach is – understandably – one of the most popular travel destinations for coastal visitors. With its wild shores, majestic sea stacks, tidepools, sunset views and red-colored minerals found in the sand, Ruby Beach is a gem of natural wonder. This small coastal slice of Olympic National Park welcomes nearly 225,000 nature lovers each year, from locals who bring their families to international travelers who consider Ruby Beach a bucket list destination. After a three-month closure to the public, the parking facilities at Ruby Beach reopened in September of 2022 with improvements that create better accessibility and provide increased safety. Plan a visit and discover what makes Ruby Beach an inviting stop along the Olympic Peninsula loop.
The Beautiful Ruby Beach Welcomes Visitors
As a long-time resident of the area whose family had a nearby homestead and resort back in the 1930s, Josh Fletcher has been enjoying the natural playground of Ruby Beach since his youth. He recommends visiting at low tide for the best opportunity to see the sea life within the tide pools. Low tide is also the best opportunity to observe the reddish-colored sand that gives Ruby Beach its glamorous name. While skipping rocks along Cedar Creek that flow from the Olympic’s lush forest to the sea, Fletcher shared, “It’s a beautiful place, and I’ve been fortunate to grow up here. Make sure to look for one of the local favorites, a towering boulder on the beach that looks like a giant gorilla.”
From the parking lot, the paved trail to the beach is .25 miles long. Gnarled and sun-bleached driftwood is scattered among the river rocks at the entrance of the beach area. To the north, the iconic sea stacks look dramatic next to the steep cliff face that rises up from the shore. Although there are miles available for walking and exploring, make sure to check the local tides before venturing too far. The opportunity for tide pooling is dependent on low tide as well as the safety of walking certain stretches of the Kalaloch beaches, including Ruby Beach.
Speaking of other beaches, Ruby Beach is not the only gem on the Puget Sound coast worth exploring, especially if you find the Ruby Beach parking lot full. While there, be sure to check out the other beaches near Ruby Beach.
Ruby Beach: Improved Safety and Accessibility
The facilities at Ruby Beach have been improved for greater accessibility. To help preserve the integrity of the bluff that marks the beginning of the trailhead, a new drainage system was installed. The parking lot has been expanded along with new signage and pavement markings. Thanks to the remodel, drivers will have an easier time navigating their arrival. The beach access has been improved for safety with graded and paved roads, curbs, sidewalks, crosswalks and steps. A wheelchair-accessible ramp leads to a spacious overlook for a stunning view of the famous beach. The bathrooms were also repaired and painted during the closure.
For more information on planning a west coast adventure throughout the Olympic National Park, including where to stay, visit the Enjoy Olympic Peninsula website.