Best Winter Salish Sea Beach Walks

We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about how to have fun in the snow, including snowshoeing and skiing in the last month or so. The snow is awesome but one amazing thing about western Washington is that you can generally decide if you want to be around snow or not! When you’re ready for a break from the snow, or when avalanche danger or road conditions are terrible, try out one of the best winter Salish Sea beach walks. The Salish Sea beaches are cold and wet during the winter months, but also incredibly beautiful! Often you see birds and other wildlife, big waves and much more solitude! Some other favorite beach walks can be found in my post about hikes for any weather.

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The wide and flat Padilla bay trail is bordered on one side by Padilla Bay and the other by farmland

Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle

Myrtle Edwards Park is easy to get to car free as it’s basically right downtown! The park includes a 1.25 mile flat trail (2.5 miles round trip) for walking or biking that goes right along the beach. You’ll have amazing views of downtown Seattle, the Olympic mountains and close up views of grain elevator and shipping operations. To get there, head to the waterfront and the far north end where the Olympic Sculpture Park is. The trail starts here by the big fountain. You can add to your walk by walking there from downtown, or you can take Metro #22, #33 or #2.

Lincoln Park, Seattle

Lincoln Park is on the south side of West Seattle, next to the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. You can make a two mile loop by going along the bluff trail, down to the beach, back up the bluff trail and back to your car. The bluff is short and steep. You’ll get views of the ferry, the mountains and see big evergreen trees on your walk. Keep your eyes out for seals in the water as you’re walking along the beach! It’s also easy to get to without a car, just hop on the C line downtown and get off by the ferry terminal.

Padilla Bay, Skagit Valley

Padilla Bay is an awesome walk for bird lovers! The trail is a flat just over 2 mile (4.5 miles round trip) hike on a wide trail along the edge of farmland and Padilla Bay (a very shallow bay of the Salish Sea). This trail requires a car (or a bike! you could bike there from the Mt Vernon Amtrak station about 8 miles). It’s about an hour and a half from Seattle, by I-5 and Hwy 20 (got west on Hwy 20 in Mt Vernon), then right on Bayview-Edison Road and you’ll see the trailhead on the right (and you can go further and start from the other end).

Dungeness Spit, Olympic Penninsula

The Dungeness Spit is a fabulous year round destination but I am a particular fan of it as a winter destination. As wildlife refuge, dogs are not allowed on the trail at all. There is a parking fee of $3 per group. This hike is flat along the spit, though the first half mile drops steeply down to the beach (about 150 feet) and then climbs that again on the way that. Along the beach, the way is flat and you can go up to 11 miles roundtrip if you go all the way to the lighthouse. Make sure to think about the return trip when deciding on your turnaround time. At any point, just stop and head back the way you came. This is a fantastic place to see birds, seals and there’s a view across to Vancouver Island in Canada, as well as of the Olympic Mountains behind you. Nice sunset destination too! This is another place you’ll need to a car to get to. Take the Bainbridge ferry from downtown, or the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, or the Tacoma narrows bridge and head towards Port Angeles. About 15 miles before Port Angeles, in the town of Sequim, exit to the right on Sequim Avenue. The road winds a couple of times to the left, becoming Sequim/Dungeness Bay road and then Anderson Road. Turn left on Lotzgesell Road, and then the park will be on the right (it’s well signed). This area also has a year round campground.

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Sunset at Dungeness Spit
Sunset behind mountains next to the water
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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and presenting traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She believes in sharing her beloved Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.