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Ruby Beach, located about 35 miles south of the town of Forks on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, is one of the most scenic beaches in the state that is accessible to the public. It offers rugged sea stacks, flat sand, and a small stream that flows through it just at the base of the short trail from the parking lot.
To reach Ruby Beach, simply drive south from Forks, or north from Aberdeen, on highway 101. The turn-off, especially from the north, is not well marked. Coming from Forks, it's on your right; pay attention or you'll miss it. A short dirt road leads to a gravel parking lot with space for about 50 vehicles and a couple of Sani-Cans, which are the only "amenities" at the beach. A short path switchbacks down the slope through spruce and fir and salmonberries, and emerges into a jumble of logs at the top of the beach. There's a "landing" of sorts where you can pause and take in the view of the jagged sea stacks through the trees.
Once you reach the beach proper, take a stroll among the giant boulders, marvel at the rugged coasline, or simply sit on a log and revel in the fresh salt air. In summer, the beach is often crowded, but mid-week visitors will usually find plenty of free space to explore and enjoy. Like most of the Washington coast, Ruby Beach is often fog-shrouded or storm-swept, but on a clear or partly-cloudy day, the sunsets can be spectacular. Ruby Beach for photographers is like a candy store for kids... if you've brought a camera - and no one should visit this beach without one! - be sure to stay and watch as the setting sun plays among the rocks and turns the beach into a sparkling jewel.Like many beaches in Washington, above the surf line are the trunks of hundreds of trees that have either escaped from log rafts or have fallen from the eroded shoreline. These cedar, redwood, and hemlock giants, many with diameters of more than six feet across, are tossed about like pickup sticks. While it’s frightening to imagine the power of the waves that put these massive logs here, on a clear, sunny day, they are a playground in themselves. Decades of sandblasting and wave action have warn the bark off of these trees, making them smooth and comfortable to sit and walk on.
Camping on the beach is not permitted, but many people enjoy picnics or barbecues on the beach, or gather round a campfire to roast marshmallows as evening falls. Make sure you bring a jacket, even in summer; the weather can change quickly, and it's often windy and cool, even during warmer months. Dry socks and shoes are handy as well, since crossing the small stream that bisects the beach can result in wet feet, particularly at high tide when it's impossible to cross on the flat, sandy beach of the intertidal zone.