Clallam County WA, including most of the North Olympic Peninsula (2023)

Clallam County WA is the north Olympic Peninsula. Here are town descriptions, aerial views, photos, many attractions, eatery and lodging tips, and links to all the details, especially of the sparsely populated "West End."

State Highway 112 runs along the north Olympic Peninsula coast between Port Angeles and Neah Bay. The beautiful area boasts all kinds of restful spots where you can pull over and hang out for as long as you need or want to.

Take the time to walk on any of many little beaches, gather driftwood, have a picnic and watch the birds, wildlife, and marine life, including bald eagles, orca whales and humpbacks.

In July, fireweed blooms profusely along Highway 112 west of Joyce, Washington.

Clallam County WA

Clallam County WA Towns and Villages

Clallam County is shaped like an elongated rectangle. A large chunk of the population resides in the east half of the county, inPort Angeles,Sequim, and the surrounding areas. Port Angeles is also the seat ofClallam County government.

The Clallam County WA population in 2017 was 75,474; populations of Port Angeles and Sequim total a little less than 28,000, which doesn't include the many folks living nearby but outside the city limits.

That leaves the entire west end of Clallam County (logically known as the "West End") with a number of very small population centers.

The rest of this page is devoted to the West End.

I love visiting these little towns!

  • Joyce
  • Clallam Bay
  • Sekiu
  • Neah Bay
  • La Push
  • Forks

West End Clallam County WA Attractions

There is almost NOTHING along Highway 112 west of Port Angeles. Well, almost nothing, if it is New York City you're comparing it to.

What you WILL find are

  • 2 museums: the Joyce Depot Museum and the world-class Makah Indian Museum
  • Spectacular Nature at its very finest
  • Multiple recreational activities and opportunities amidst God's creation
  • Small communities happy to provide food and lodging for their visitors

About that food and lodging, you may need to plan ahead a bit. Because there really aren't many modern amenities around each next bend in the road.

Olympic Peninsula Camping lists campgrounds throughout the Olympic Peninsula.

View of the Clallam County WA shoreline along the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the vantage point of a recently logged hill.

(Video) Clallam County History 1792 - 1910 The Story of New Dungeness, Washington

Notable Towns and Attractions in Clallam County WA's West End...

Freshwater Bay

Freshwater Bay is just 10 miles to the west of Port Angeles, WA. On its shore is the 21-acre Clallam County WA Park known as Freshwater Bay. Calm and protected, it's a great spot for whale watching, kayaking, and also has a boat ramp for small boats.

Freshwater Bay County Park Website

Getting there: From Hwy 112, turn right onto Freshwater Bay Road. The Park is located at the far end of Freshwater Bay Road, 2.3 miles (3.7 km) from Hwy 112.

Freshwater Bay is also a stop on the Whale Trail. It's not uncommon to see orcas and other marine mammals here. Enjoy a picnic at the tidelands, comb the beaches, and enjoy hiking, fishing, crabbing, bird and wildlife watching.

Beware the tides for boat launching as Freshwater Bay is relatively shallow and the ramp can be completely exposed at low tide.

East side of Freshwater Bay: If your only intent is walking, rock-hounding, or picnicking, you can also access the shores of Freshwater Bay east of the park by turning north from Hwy 112 onto Place Road and taking the road toward the shore. Turn right on Elwha Dike Road, go a little farther, and then pull over and park. You get to do the last quarter mile (0.4 km) on foot. It's a lovely walk, and the beach is refreshing. We saw bald eagles up close the last time we picnicked at Freshwater Bay.

Salt Creek Recreation Area

Salt Creek Recreation Area
3506 Camp Hayden Road, Port Angeles, WA 98363-8702

Tripadvisor Reviews of Salt Creek Recreation Area, Port Angeles WA

You'll find the Salt Creek Recreation Area 16 miles west of downtown Port Angeles, WA. You can drive the distance in approximately 23 minutes.

Salt Creek is a Clallam County recreation area encompassing 196 acres. It is open all year. Formerly a World War II camp known as Camp Hayden, it still features two large casements and other explorable military structures. The adjoining campground contains almost 100 campsites; some of them have killer views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Recreation opportunities include baseball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, hiking, swimming, kayak tours, and more, with views of Vancouver Island, BC, Crescent Bay, and the rocky coastline and sandy beaches. If the tide is out, there are tidepools that will provide a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike.

As for the shore itself, the grade is so gradual that the shallow water becomes quite warm in summertime, thanks to the summer sun. Not until the bottom begins dropping does the water become Pacific-Northwest-chilly.

Salt Creek Recreation Area in Clallam County WA. The people in the distance are still only knee-deep.

The Village of Joyce WA

Joyce General Store, Post Office, and gas station in Joyce Washington.

(Video) Cape Flattery. Clallam County, Washington.

Eighteen miles (29 km) west of Port Angeles along Highway 112 is the village of Joyce WA.

Short path to Crescent Beach

The road doesn't widen, and there are no stop signs. You'll find a gas station and country store (pictured above), the Joyce Depot Museum (interesting!), a fire station, and the Family Restaurant (pretty good). The population of Joyce are scattered into the surrounding countryside.

The first Saturday in August is when Joyce, Washington comes alive. The town hosts Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival, a nearly all-day festival featuring fresh homemade blackberry pies, a parade down main street, booths filled with artisanal goods for sale, live music and dancing, and games and competitions.

Joyce is also where you catch the road to nearby Crescent Beach and RV Park, owned by Weyerhauser. Pull up and spend the night in your RV, or hang out as long as you care to for the day. A day use fee applies.

Clallam County WA, including most of the North Olympic Peninsula (6)Crescent Beach

Sister Villages of Clallam Bay and Sekiu WA

The (small) villages of Sekiu and Clallam Bay are located about 50 miles (80.46 km) west of Port Angeles, which will still take you 1 1/4 hours to drive by car. The two towns hug opposite ends of the sandy crescent beach surrounding the body of water known as Clallam Bay.

Clallam Bay is the working man's town, being right on Highway 112, while Sekiu is almost entirely about fishing. If you haven't come for the stellar fishing, the area is still lovely for picnics, beach combing, hiking, biking, bird watching, scuba diving, and kayaking.

Pictured at right: Not far from Sekiu, and close to the road, is this dramatic sea stack like a needle with full-grown trees perched atop.

Click the links for lots more information about Clallam Bay Washington and sister village Sekiu WA.

Neah Bay

Highway 112 and the North Olympic Peninsula both end at the town of Neah Bay, within the Makah Indian Reservation. Makah is pronounced MahKAW.

The most northwesterly corner of the lower 48 states is here at Cape Flattery and Tatoosh Island. The trail to Cape Flattery will take you 20 - 30 minutes on varying terrain or boardwalk. The hike is well worth the effort. Tatoosh Island is clearly visible from Cape Flattery. You are also likely to see whales, seals, and many species of sea birds depending on the season of your visit.

For much more information on Neah Bay Washington, visit this page.

Clallam County WA, including most of the North Olympic Peninsula (9)Neah Bay Harbor, on the Makah Indian Reservation. Clallam County WA, and the lower 48 states, end here, though the Makah will tell you this is where it all begins.

More Clallam County WA Photos of the North Olympic Peninsula

Cliffs at Cape Flattery, Neah Bay WA

(Video) Port Angeles History 1889 -1894 "It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times"

In the summer, Entire logged hillsides might light up with fireweed. This hillside is along Hwy 112 in Clallam County WA. (The trees have been growing since this photo was taken; I'll have to find fireweed on another hillside next time I travel along Hwy 112.)

Chito Beach near Neah Bay, Washington

Clallam County WA, including most of the North Olympic Peninsula (13)Sunset where the beach meets Hwy 112 west of Joyce, WA

Clallam County WA, Then and Now

The area along the north coast of Washington state through which Highway 112 now runs was traditionally home to the Klallam and Makah peoples.

As Europeans began to filter into the area, most communication and travel were done via steamboats which regularly served the north Olympic Peninsula communities, bringing homesteaders, lumbermen, explorers and other hardy individuals.

As more people arrived, roads were built which were little more than wide hilly trails skirting the rugged coastline and occasionally dipping inland. Over the course of a couple hundred years, the meager foot trails and wagon roads gave way to train tracks hauling lumber from newly-built lumber mills.

The main road connected the small towns such as Port Crescent, Gettysburg, Twin and Pysht, which were thriving villages during the early years. These towns have now receded into very small communities or become ghost towns. Many have earned a mention in the area's historic literature.

Highway 112 is still a two-lane road that wends its way along the contours of the land, several times following hair pin turns to the very shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Today, the logging industry moves by truck.

You may find that some log-truck drivers seem to be in an all-fired hurry. Which is just fine, of course. When one is on vacation, one sometimes forgets that others are still hard at work; so please don't hold it against them. Simply pull over and let these hard-working drivers go about their business. Then you can keep right on sight-seeing at whatever pace is ideal for you. Because the sights are definitely worth seeing!

The continuing wild remoteness of the west end of Clallam County WA in the North Olympic Peninsula means that you can still revel in its nearly pristine wildness.

Get a taste of the area by watching this 4-minute video tour presented by

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(Video) Olympic Peninsula to the North Cascades of Washington State

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More Pages You Might Enjoy

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    Aberdeen WA: Southern gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park and Washington State beaches. Details about amenities and recreation, photos

  • Sequim Washington, on the north Olympic Peninsula

    Sequim Washington. Relax in the rainshadow of the Olympic Peninsula or enjoy the local activities and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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What area is considered the Olympic Peninsula? ›

The Olympic Peninsula is a large arm of land in western Washington that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle, and contains Olympic National Park. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the east by Hood Canal.

What is Clallam County known for? ›

Encompassing part of the Olympic Peninsula, the county includes 1,738 square miles of mostly forested and mountainous land. Clallam County is full of natural wonders and many tourists and locals visit the Olympic National Park, which attracted over 2.7 million visitors in 2021.

What county is the Olympic Peninsula? ›

For the purposes of this article, the Olympic Peninsula region consists of Clallam, Jefferson, western Mason, and Grays Harbor counties.

What city is on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula? ›

The city is situated on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Port Angeles features a long and narrow glacial moraine named Ediz Hook that projects northeasterly nearly three miles into the Strait.

What town is called the Olympic capital of the world? ›

The IOC was originally based in Paris, until Pierre de Coubertin moved it to Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva in 1915. In 1994, to coincide with the centenary of the IOC, Lausanne was officially designated the Olympic Capital.

What is the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Port Angeles is the largest city in the Olympic Peninsula region of Washington, dubbed as the "Center of it All" for the specific part of the state. It is the county seat of Clallam County.

What is the best county to live in Washington? ›

The study ranked King County as No. 1 county in the Evergreen State! King is also home to Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and plenty of emerging cities and suburbs.

What is the number one attraction in Washington state? ›

1: Olympic National Park

It encompasses almost a million acres and several ecosystems. One of the most popular attractions, Mt. Olympus, is home to some of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the state. Visitors can also venture through Hoh Rainforest and its massive 500 year-old trees.

Is Sequim Washington worth visiting? ›

Ultimately, Sequim is the gateway to the Olympic Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula, filled with picturesque sunset views, majestic mountain ranges, and thriving wildlife. This city of 6,606 people is part of Clallam County in Washington and is easily accessed through the inter-state freeways in Oregon and California.

Is Port Townsend in Clallam County? ›

Port Townsend, the only incorporated city in Jefferson County, is the county seat. Jefferson County was established in 1852 at which time it covered all of the Olympic Peninsula. In 1854, Clallam County was carved out of the northwestern part of Jefferson County.

Why is it called the Olympic Peninsula? ›

When English explorer Captain John Meares saw majestic Mount Olympus for the first time he felt sure this was a home fit for gods. He therefore named it after Mount Olympus in Greece. This king of the Olympics is the tallest mountain on the peninsula, stretching 7,980 feet into the sky.

Where is the tree of life on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Tree of Life (aka Tree Root Cave) Some people call it the Tree of Life. With its amazingly viewable roots seemingly supplying the tree with life despite having no soil, it seems to be immortal. Located just north of Kalaloch Lodge, near the Kalaloch Campground, "Tree Root Cave" features a tree like no other.

Are there bears on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Black bears are common to the Olympic Peninsula. They are widespread in the Olympic National Park and are often seen in the Olympic National Forest, primarily in the Wildernesses.

How long does it take to drive around the Olympic Peninsula? ›

If you want to start your Olympic loop road trip on the south side of the Peninsula, you'll get off at I-5 in Olympia and take US-101 N from there. If you're wondering how long it takes to drive around the Olympic Peninsula, the answer is about 12 hours.

Where is Hurricane Ridge WA? ›

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year. Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles on Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road.

What is the only city to host the winter and Summer Olympics? ›

Next week, Beijing will become the first city in Olympic history to have ever hosted both the Summer and Winter Games.

Where was the first Olympic Village was built? ›

Angeles Games featured the first Olympic Village, which was located in Baldwin Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, and covered 321 acres (130 hectares). The male athletes were housed in more than 500 bungalows and had access to a hospital, a library, a post office, and 40 kitchens serving a…

Who was the first Olympic Village built? ›

Helsinki 1952: The first Olympic Village, Olympiakylä, was constructed in the Käpylä district of Helsinki for the planned 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II. Another Olympic Village, Kisakylä, was built nearby for the 1952 Olympics.

Can you live on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Voted one of the top 10 best small towns to live in, Port Angeles, Washington is the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula with a population hovering around the 20,000 mark. Not too far from the hum of the Seattle, Port Angeles is a world-away for when it comes to accessible outdoor recreation.

What is it like to live in Sequim WA? ›

Living in Sequim offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Sequim there are a lot of coffee shops and parks. Many retirees live in Sequim and residents tend to lean conservative.

What is the smallest city to host the Olympics? ›

Helsinki is the smallest city ever to have had the privilege of hosting the Summer Olympics. The buildings that were constructed in Helsinki for the 1952 Summer Olympics have been well preserved and are internationally renowned for their cohesive and minimalistic architecture.

Where is the cheapest and safest place to live in Washington? ›

Quincy. Arguably the cheapest place to live in Washington, the town of Quincy boasts low home prices as well as affordable rent costs. The median home cost in Quincy is $306,000. Renters make up 37.9% of the population.

What city in Washington state has the best year round weather? ›

Tacoma, WA

Despite the Pacific Northwest's reputation for rain, Tacoma has some of the best weather in the U.S.—it actually receives less rainfall each year on average than other major U.S. cities like Houston and New York!

What is the prettiest National Park in Washington? ›

1. Mount Rainier National Park. Standing 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier is the most iconic peak in the state of Washington. And the national park surrounding this active volcano is one of the most scenic in the nation.

What is Washington most famous food? ›

Washington state is known for its fresh coastal seafood, eastern vineyards and, of course, abundant coffee shops. But it's also home to a diverse community of farmers and foragers that grow and harvest ingredients like lavender, asparagus, mushrooms and peated barley.

Is Sequim sunnier than Port Angeles? ›

Sequim's main claim to fame is that, because of the rain shadow created by the Olympic Mountains to the south, it is the sunniest place in Western Washington, receiving much less rain than even nearby Port Angeles.

Is Sequim sunnier than Seattle? ›

Total mostly sunny days were close to equivalent in Sequim and Seattle, at 43 and 44 respectively. Still, even in the dry months, there were some stormy periods, especially in July and September, and the rain shadow produced 13 rain shadow days during this period.

Is Port Angeles as sunny as Sequim? ›

Clearly Port Angeles is dramatically brighter than Seattle and on an annual basis has nearly the same sunny days as Sequim.

Which is nicer Port Angeles or Port Townsend? ›

Looking for the place that has the most to offer. Lodging, food, activities, ect. I would say that as a general rule Port Townsend has better lodging and restaurants, but Port Angeles is better located for exploring Olympic National Park (Pt Townsend is too far east IMO to be a good base for that).

Is Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Located on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is steeped in maritime history and Victorian era appeal—one of only three Victorian seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.

Is Sequim bigger than Port Angeles? ›

Port Angeles is far larger, and as you might expect it has more lodging and restaurants than Sequim.

Are there mountain lions on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Cougars are common to the Olympic Peninsula. They are widespread in the Olympic National Park and also exist in the Olympic National Forest, primarily in the rugged mountain terrain of the Forest's five Wildernesses. Cougars are large, elusive and solitary animals.

Why is Olympic Peninsula so Rainy? ›

Olympic has a reputation for rain—and true, parts of the peninsula receive 12 feet of rain every year. Moist air from the Pacific moves east and collides with the Olympic Mountains, dropping its precipitation on the central peninsula. But summer brings warm, dry weather. Generally, Olympic has a mild, maritime climate.

Are there wolves in the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Wolves are a native species to the Olympic Peninsula, this can't be denied. There is ample evidence — from the presence of a word for wolves in numerous area tribal languages to Makah wolf dances and handcrafted wolf masks long used in tribal ceremonies.

What tree was Adam and Eve not to eat from? ›

The story of the Book of Genesis places the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden where they may eat the fruit of many trees, but are forbidden by God to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Does the Olympic Peninsula have wolves? ›

The Olympic Peninsula was home to the subspecies Canis lupus fuscus that ranged from Northern California to Southeastern Alaska. Today, this species is only found in western coastal British Columbia.

Are there rattlesnakes in the Olympic Peninsula? ›

There are no venomous snakes on the Olympic Peninsula.

Are there mosquitoes on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

The risk for mosquito activity is low.

Should you carry bear spray in Washington? ›

Most experts recommend carrying bear spray when recreating in areas where bears or other potentially dangerous wildlife may be present.

How cold does it get in the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Winter days rarely get below freezing at sea level and summer daytime temperatures are usually between 60-70° F (15-21° C). Even high up in the mountains, winter low temperatures are seldom below 0° F (-18° C). The ocean is also the source of most of the Olympic Peninsula's weather systems.

Does the Olympic Peninsula get snow? ›

Lower-elevation snow is possible, but you likely won't see more than 6 to 10 inches at most. The heavy accumulation is higher up. Hurricane Ridge averages a whopping 400 inches of snowfall each year.

Can you swim in the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Visitors can kayak, sail, swim or enjoy the lake's beauty from numerous picnic areas and scenic viewpoints. Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

Is Hurricane Ridge worth the drive? ›

Is Visiting Hurricane Ridge Worth It? Yes, it is! The road itself is beautiful, even before you get to see the view of the Olympic Mountains from the top. Along with the Hoh Rainforest and Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular places to visit in Olympic National Park.

Can you see sunset at Hurricane Ridge? ›

If you are planning a trip to iconic Hurricane Ridge, a majestic sunrise or sunset awaits as the colors of the sky light up the snowcapped peaks of the Olympic Range. It's a perfect time to enjoy the serenity and beauty of nature. Linger in the gathering darkness and watch the stars light up the night sky.

Why is it called Ruby Beach? ›

The name Ruby Beach comes from the red minerals found in the sand there. These minerals are known as 'almandite', a type of garnet. Garnet is well known by geologists for its distinctive red color and dodecahedral (12-sided) shape.

Is Ocean Shores part of the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Ocean Shores is a city in the Olympic Peninsula region of Washington. It is located between Grays Harbor and the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean. It is also near the wild wetlands of the Olympic Peninsula.

Where do the Olympic Mountains start and end? ›

The Olympic Mountain Province, located in the northwest corner of the state, is composed of a mountain range that rises from the Pacific Ocean to an elevation of 7,980 feet at the peak of Mount Olympus.

Is Mt Olympus in Washington a volcano? ›

The Olympic range is not volcanic, but visitors may notice some geology that makes it seem as if they were.

What is the most popular entrance to Olympic National Park? ›

The most popular entrances are the Hurricane Ridge Entrance outside of Port Angeles, the Elwha and Sol Duc Entrances on the northern side of the peninsula, the Hoh Rain Forest Entrance on the west side, and the Mora Entrance on the coast.

Are there grizzly bears on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Pika, ptarmigan, ground squirrels, lynx, red foxes, coyotes, wolverine, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and historically, mountain goats, did not occur on the Olympic Peninsula.

What tribes lived on the Olympic Peninsula? ›

Eight Olympic Peninsula tribes continue to recognize a relationship to the park based on traditional land use, origin, beliefs, mythology and spiritual beliefs and practices. These tribes are the Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S'Klallam, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Skokomish, Quinault, Hoh, Quileute, and Makah.


1. Olympic National Park: Strange and Unexplained Disappearances in Washington
(Top Mysteries)
2. Port Angeles History 1860 -1865 (The City That Lincoln Built)
(Clallam County, Washington History)
3. Clallam County opioid outreach
(KING 5)
4. Olympic National Park : Sequim to Hurricane Ridge
5. Cougar Research on the Olympic Peninsula
(North Olympic Land Trust)
6. Clallam County Sheriff Recruitment Video
(Clallam County Sheriff's Office)
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