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Dune Hikes: Beaches, Grasslands, Birds and Yurts

Washington sports some serious sand, from the White Bluffs in Central Washington to some wonderful beach hikes. Get to know an entirely different side of your great state with one of these great dune hikes, paired with camping suggestions.

You know about Washington's waterfalls, and its craggy, snow-capped peaks. You've seen the green, glorious rainforests and even gotten familiar with trails near your house. But did you know Washington also sports some serious sand? Get to know the drier part of your great state with one of these great dune hikes.

Dunes not your thing? No worries. We've got plenty of other hiking ideas on our Seasonal Hiking page.

If you're looking for more places to spot wildlife, take a look at our Spring Wildlife Hikes suggestions.


Olympic Peninsula

Westport State Park - Westport Light Trail

Location: Long Beach Area
Length: 2.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 15 feet

Westport Light Trail
Photo by trip reporter lpick10.

The paved Westport Light Trail is an excellent way to see the dunes and grasses of the southwest Washington coast, take in an historic lighthouse, and enjoy the sea and sun without getting sand in your shoes! The 107-foot tall Grays Harbor Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Washington, and was deemed necessary to help mariners navigate their vessels through the ever-shifting sands of the mouth of Grays Harbor. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Griffiths-Priday State Park - Copalis River Spit

Location: Ocean Shores Area
Length: 4.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 40 feet

Copalis River Spit
Photo by trip reporter KatieMae.

This natural spit features low sand dunes that are protected as a wildlife refuge bordered by Conner Creek on one side and the Copalis River on the other. The dunes and beach are equal attractions here. Look for bald eagles and other shorebirds and enjoy the views of Copalis Beach and the ocean from various perches on the dunes.

Where to stay: Pacific Beach State Park is a camping park just north that has a couple of yurts that can be reserved.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Fort Worden State Park

Location: Northern Coast
Length: 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minmal

Point Wilson
Big views, historic structures, and fresh air at Fort Worden State Park. Photo by trip reporter ejain.

On the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you can walk a fine sandy beach between high bluffs and two access points to reach the Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park. Water and sand play possibilities for children of any age are infinite. At low tide, it's possible to walk to this park from downtown Port Townsend. 

Where to stay: Just adjacent to Port Townsend, there are plenty of lodging options here. Alternately, it's possible to stay at the nearby Fort Townsend State Park campground.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Point No Point Park

Location: Kitsap Peninsula
Length: 2.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Point No Point Park
Photo by trip reporter Rutabaga.

Point No Point, now on the National Historic Register, gives you both a glimpse into the past, as well as a bit of a workout and great views. With 3 acres in the Point No Point County Park and one hiking trail, the Point No Point lighthouse makes a great destination for visitors young and old. Keep an eye out for seals and shorebirds in the water, even whales occasionally!

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Puget Sound and Islands

Mount Grant Preserve

Location: San Juan Island
Length: 4.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 900 feet

Mount Grant Preserve
Views from Mount Grant Preserve. Photo by trip reporter Justas.

This location is one of San Juan Island's newest hiking destinations, boasting almost five miles of trails available to explore, and accessible from the parking area at West Valley Road.

Where to stay: San Juan Island has several parks managed by the county where you can camp for a weekend or more. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Deception Pass - West Beach Sand Dunes

Location: Whidbey Island
Length: 1.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minimal

West Beach Sand Dunes
Photo by trip reporter hikingwithlittledogs.

Aside from the fact that sand is just plain fun for kids young and old, this interpretive trail offers that chance to study the vegetation on the dunes and discuss how it protects Cranberry Lake from blowing sand coming in off of West Beach.

Where to stay: Deception Pass camping can fill up fast, so make reservations. You can also look to nearby Bay View State Park for cabins.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Chambers Bay Loop 

Location: Seattle/Tacoma Area
Length: 3.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 315 feet

Chambers Bay Loop
Photo by trip reporter Otter50. 

Circumnavigating a golf course near the south end of Puget Sound, hike the Grandview and the Soundview Trail to make a 3.25 mile loop that offers the same rolling terrain as sand dunes might. Along the way, enjoy views of Chambers Bay and the vivid green grasses.

Hike nearby: Further inland is Chambers Creek Park, where WTA is working on improving the trail system. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Central Washington

White Bluffs - North and South Slope

Location: Tri-Cities
Length: 10 miles (South) | 4.0 miles (North)
Elevation Gain: 300-400 feet

Hikes along the South Slope dunes. Photo by David Hagen.

Shake off the winter blues and stretch your arms to the expansive skies of the White Bluffs. The area offers a breathtaking desert landscape awaiting your discovery. Particularly fascinating are the bluffs themselves, which boast intricate patterns created by sand and clay layers, as well as the mighty Columbia River and the enormous Great Valley.

Grab a post-dune pint: Check out White Bluffs Brewing in Richland for a few tasty pints. If it's full, there are quite a few other places to grab a beer or a snack.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide Hike the South Slope | Hike the North Slope


Juniper Dunes Wilderness

Location: Tri-Cities
Length: 15 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 feet

Juniper Dunes Wilderness

If you're a good navigator, you may want to attempt planning an outing to Juniper Dunes Wilderness. There's no marked trail system, and much of the area is open to off-road vehicles, so you'll likely have company. But if you plan carefully, you may be able to find one of the incredible sand dunes right in the middle of Washington state. 

Plan ahead: You'll definitely want to get a few maps before you go, and plan your route. Know how to use a map and compass, and feel comfortable with off-trail navigation. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide