WEEKEND: West End prime place to spot whales on southward travels

  • McClatchy News Service and Peninsula Daily News
  • Friday, October 26, 2012 12:01am
  • Life

McClatchy News Service and Peninsula Daily News

KALALOCH — If you use the Kalaloch area south of Forks as your base, there are plenty of things to see and do on the North Olympic Peninsula’s Pacific coast this time of year.

“During October and November, gray whales begin their migration south,” said Judy Lively, Olympic Coast lead interpreter at Olympic National Park.

“The park’s coastal areas are right along their path.”

The best places to watch for whales are from the beaches and high ocean overlooks along U.S. Highway 101.

They include the Destruction Island Overlook, Beach 6, Kalaloch Lodge and South Beach.

Lively recommends bringing binoculars since the whales are farther out than when they migrate north in the spring.

Big Cedar

If the whales are not cooperating, you can admire the Big Cedar Tree, walk the Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail or play at Ruby Beach.

The 174-foot-tall Big Cedar is a Western red cedar located just off U.S. Highway 101 near Beach 6.

The original tree, which has been dead for many years, is being used as a standing nurse log for hundreds of trees and plants. The hollow base is roomy enough inside for several people to stand in it.

A groomed trail with boardwalks, the Kalaloch Creek trail is a 1½-mile loop with 200 feet of elevation gain. You might see some elk as they escape upper-elevation snow.

Ruby Beach is a great place to play — when the weather is good — and to watch the power of nature when the storms roll in.

Both Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds are first-come, first-served this time of year.

Kalaloch Lodge offers hotel rooms and cabins.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/olym and www.thekalalochlodge.com.

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