Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the world’s largest natural sand spits.

A spit is a coastal landform composed of beach material that projects out to sea. It has 2 ends. The one connected to the mainland is called the proximal end and the one jutting out into the water is called the distal end. (worldatlas.com)

Waves, breaking at an angle to the shoreline, create a longshore current that moves parallel to the shore. These large angled swells sweep the shoreline with great force and push water and sediment down the length of the beach in one direction. This movement of sediment is called beach drift. (malibumakos.com)

As these crashing waves lose their energy, they can no longer carry a full load of sediment with them as backwash. What they leave behind is deposited in a long bar-like feature called a spit. (worldatlas.com)

A short trail leads through a forest to a bluff overlooking the Dungeness Spit.

Orange “chicken of the woods” shelf fungus brighten our way.

This display along the trail is my very favorite…

Come on world! Wake up! It’s time to be kind to Mother Earth or we will poison her. There’s a 4th R needed here… RE-THINK how we treat her. Change habits for our habitat!

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the spit from the bluff.

The Dungeness Spit is 5.5 miles long and is growing at a rate of about 13 feet per year. At its highest point, the Spit is only 15 feet above sea level.

A steep hill leads down to the Spit trail.

Near the tip of the Spit, a 10.2 mile out and back trek, is the New Dungeness Lighthouse. This was the first lighthouse on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and has operated continuously since its lard oil lamp was lit in December of 1857.


The New Dungeness Lighthouse Keeper Program allows families and friends a rare opportunity to be “lighthouse keepers” for a week. Keepers perform duties such as raising and lowering the flag, watering and mowing when needed, polishing the brass in the tower, and most importantly greeting visitors. (newdungenhsslighthouse.com)

Since we’re not prepared for an 11 mile hike today, we turn back after exploring and experiencing this amazing coastal land formation.

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is a place for wildlife and people by both protecting critical habitat and providing viewing opportunities. Some recreational activities are allowed only in selected areas during certain times of the year. (pamphlet from the Refuge)

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