Some people bag peaks. We bag lighthouses. The New Dungeness Lighthouse off the coast of Sequim, WA, poses a unique challenge.
The light station sits in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the end of the Dungeness Spit – the longest sand spit in the United States. Lighthouse visitors must make the 10-mile round-trip trek at low tide or get swamped in a jagged thread of tumbled rocks and driftwood that crown the spit’s high water mark.
Dungeness Spit Trail (Aug. 25, 2022) – 10.2 miles
We began just after dawn. High tide had been receding for a couple of hours.
The hike was a bit of a serpentine as we sought just the right grit to water content underfoot. But two hours of partly sunny skies and light breeze later we reached the lighthouse threshold.
The light station has helped guide ships through the strait since 1857. It was automated decades ago, but members of the New Dungeness Light Station Association volunteer for a week at a time to live on the property and keep an eye on things.
We were greeted by three young sisters: One wielded the guest book and official stamp. Another provided a bit of history. The third greeted visitors at the top of the tower. Their parents hovered nearby. What a great family adventure!
We felt welcome but didn’t tarry. High tide at the Dungeness Spit waits for no one. After a bite of lunch on a bench we made our way back across the spit ahead of the tide. There’s nothing like hiking with a deadline to keep you moving.
We spent much of August 2022 exploring the Pacific Northwest, including a week on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.