Ruby Beach, WA 2018

On October 18th 2018, we visited Olympic National Park’s coastal areas, where it contains the longest strip of coastal wilderness in the lower 48 states. The coastal strip of Olympic National Park preserves some of the most primitive coastline found in the continental United States. Most of the beaches are wilderness with no significant development of any kind. In particular, many of the northern beaches are very remote and can only be reached via a fairly long hike. Located in the southern section of the park’s coastal area, Ruby Beach is one of the most scenic areas of the park. The area includes a broad beach, a beautiful stream, and a rugged, rocky coastline. There are several large sea stacks at Ruby Beach (pictured above with my wife Becky, and two traveling friends, Lisa and Mike Stevens).

These rocky islands are actually former headlands which have been separated from the mainland by the effects of erosion. Ruby Beach is known for the pinkish color of the sands. This is caused by the presence a small amounts of garnet in the sand. The largest island, or sea stack, in the background is Abbey Island. These sea stacks found along many portions of the Olympic coast provide nesting habitats for coastal birds. They are also utilized by both resident and migratory sea mammals.

The rocks here are part of the Hoh rock Assemblage, a group of marine sedimentary and volcanic rocks that are highly fractured and mangled by the tectonic force that built the Olympic Mountains. The sea stacks are chunks of volcanic rock, entirely different from the fractured sandstone along the sea cliff behind the beach. It is suspect that this section of the Hoh Rock Assemblage is a tectonic melange, (a mixture of large, intact blocks of rocks surrounded by weak siltstone or mudstone.

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