Hike 11: Glass Beach via North Beach
Glass Beach is one of our favorite oceanside hikes, although the drive to Port Townsend can be a bit of a bear. The lot here is small and seems to fill quickly, so I’d advise going during the week or early in the morning. The trail begins at the North Beach park lot. There are restrooms and you can go to a very cool old fort that is next to the beach park when the hike is over if you enjoy those sorts of adventures. It is incredibly important that you check the tide report before heading out and you pay attention to where the tide is as you hike. You don’t want to get caught out at high tide with your kiddos. We always start the hike 2 or so hours before low tide, this gives us plenty of time to hike out to glass beach, play in the sand, and just enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The link to all trails is here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/north-beach-park-to-glass-beach
The hike starts at a big open beach with views of islands and peninsulas across the way. Every now and then a large cargo ship will pass by, always a thrill for the smallest people. You’ll go left here along the beach. I’ve seen many a person out in flip flops or sandals. If you intend to do the full mileage I really advise hiking in your waterproof hiking shoes. If you’re back carrying a kiddo, maybe bring poles just in case. This is because, due to the tide, you may or may not be scrambling over, under, and around rocks and trees. Plus areas of the hike are very rocky and will make your feet ache in shoes that aren’t right for the terrain.
As you continue on, large sandy bluffs will rise up on your left. Tidepools of sea life will be on the right. Starfish, crabs, anemone sometimes you’ll even catch sight of sea otters playing on the rocks. There’s a pair of nesting eagles near one of the bluffs so you can enjoy their beauty as they hang out by the beach with you.
Most people traveling to this beach are going to hunt sea glass. Yes, there’s more all the way down at glass beach, but you can find sea glass along the entire shore. Even in winter, it has been picked relatively clean so you’ll find the most common colors brown or white. Occasionally a very small blue or a few greens. But all sea glass is beautiful and kids love the hunt, so just have fun!
The hike continues on the beach for roughly 2.7 miles. It ends at a large sandy beach butting against a forest. This is “Glass Beach”. Little pebble hills stretch up the shore from the ocean and this is where you’ll find the best sea glass treasure. This beach is also excellent for sand play.
Overall, Glass Beach is a gorgeous, easy hike. There’s so much to see that kids stay pretty entertained for the duration and treasure hunting is always fun. We really recommend this hike, but definitely check the tide report!
For this hike, I chose to donate to Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation. Their mission is as follows:
“The Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Port Gamble S'Klallam tribal members while increasing the understanding of the Tribe's rich cultural heritage with people who reside in the Puget Sound area and visitors from far and wide.
The Foundation works to advance an appreciation and understanding of S'Klallam art, history and culture. The Foundation also seeks to promote education, wellness and increase awareness and action to protect the environment. Another primary component of the Foundation's mission is the management of Heronswood Garden.
For more information about the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, view their website at www.pgst.nsn.us”
The S’Klallam Tribe, along with the Chimacum and Suquamish, as well as the general term Coast Salish call these lands their ancestral home. The S’Klallam tribe signed away their title to 438,430 ancestral lands in what was called the treaty of Point No Point. This is why I have chosen to donate to an organization that focuses on improving the life of S’Klallam tribal members, as well as preserving tribal culture. If you would also like to donate, you can do so here: https://www.sklallamfoundation.org/donate/