Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
A narrow finger of land with sand and gravel beaches, a protected bay and tide flats rich in marine life, 5.5mi-long Dungeness Spit, (encompassed by the wildlife refuge) ranks as one of the longest natural sand hooks in the world. Originally established to protect the Pacific black brant (a small, migrating sea goose), the refuge is also home to harbor seals and 250 different species of seabirds and shorebirds. An easy .5mi path from the parking lot takes visitors through a fragrant patch of evergreen coastal forest to a blufftop overlook. From here you can observe the spit extending into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and notice how it was formed by the outpouring and tidal reshaping of sand and sediment from the Dungeness River. Graveyard Spit, its southern appendage, was named for a group of Tshimhian Indians killed by a raiding party of S'Klallams in 1868. From the overlook, you can continue down to the spit and walk 4.5mi down the wave-lapped, driftwood-strewn beach to New Dungeness Lighthouse (visit by guided tour only). When it was completed in 1857 the lighthouse sat at the very end of the spit; since that time an additional .5mi of sand has accumulated beyond it. The spit continues to grow by about 30ft a year. The area beyond the lighthouse, along with the entire inner shoreline (including Graveyard Spit) is closed to the public to protect wildlife.