Wildlife RefugeA Haven for Wildlife
At Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, one of the world's longest natural sand spits softens the rough seas to form a quiet bay and harbor, sand and gravel beaches, and tide flats. In these calm waters and tide flats rich in marine life, wildlife finds food, a place to rest, and protection from winds and pounding surf. Eelgrass beds in the bay and harbor provide food for Pacific Black Brant and a nursery for young salmon and steelhead. Tide flats teem with migrating shorebirds in spring and fall; flocks of waterfowl find food and rest in these protected waters during winter.
A Place for Wildlife and People
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, one of a system of national Wildlife Refuges throughout the country, protects critical habitat for wildlife and provides viewing opportunities for people. To insure that wildlife continue to have a place to rest and feed, some recreational activities are allowed only in selected areas during certain times of the year. Portions of the Refuge are closed to provide sanctuary for wildlife during critical feeding, resting, and nesting times. Visit the Refuge during different seasons to see the variety of wildlife that use Refuge habitats.
The Refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
There is a $3.00 per family or group of 4 adults daily entrance fee. Children under 16 enter free. A Refuge Annual Pass, National Senior Pass, Golden Eagle, and Access Passes or a Federal Duck Stamp also cover admittance.
Hikers have access to the Spit all year long. An easy 3/8-mile trail takes visitors through the forest from the Refuge parking lot to an overlook on the bluff above Dungeness Spit. From there the trail continues down a steep hill for about 1/2-mile to the beach and continues for 4 1/2 miles along the North beach to the New Dungeness Light Station. There are restrooms, drinking water and picnic tables at the Light Station, however camping is not allowed and hikers are reminded that they must be off the beach by sunset. Lighthouse tours are available daily from volunteer Keepers from the New Dungeness Light Station Association.
Boaters have access to the protected side of the spit from May 15 to September 30. Public boat launches are located on Cline Spit and at the Oyster House adjacent to the Refuge. Boaters are cautioned that landing on the bay side of New Dungeness Spit is limited to the site on New Dungeness Bay adjacent to the Light Station. Advance reservation forlanding is required and can be obtained by calling: (360) 457-8451. Boaters are further cautioned about a 100 yard no-wake zone inside of the marked "Boat Access Only" zones around Graveyard Spit.
Fishing and Shell fishing
The Strait side of Dungeness Spit is open to saltwater fishing all year long, except for the tip of the Spit. Tide lands on the Spit are open to shell fishing from May 15 to September 30. Note that the Graveyard Spit area has access by boat only. State Fishing regulations apply. All oysters are privately owned and may not be harvested.
Restricted Areas are clearly marked within the Refuge to protect nesting birds and marine mammals. Refrain from trespassing on areas of the spit closed to public access. Marine mammals found outside the restricted areas are also protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act; do not approach or disturb them.
Horseback riding is allowed daily Oct. 1 to May 14 and on weekdays May 15 to Sept. 30 on the designated horse trail through the uplands and the beach west of Dungeness Spit base. Advance reservations required; call (360) 457-8451 .
Jogging, swimming, and other recreational activities are allowed in designated areas year-round.
Closed Areas (Year-Round)
Graveyard Spit, portions of Dungeness Spit, and a 100-yard buffer zone around these areas are closed to public entry.
Jet skiing and windsurfing are not allowed on Refuge waters.
Pets, bicycles, kite flying, fires and camping are not allowed on the Refuge.
Beach Combing is permitted for observation only. Disturbing or removing plants, animals, driftwood, fossils, or artifacts is prohibited.
Harbor seals and their pups rest on Refuge shores and should not be approached or disturbed. They are protected by the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
No camping is allowed on the Refuge. For information on camping call the Dungeness Recreation Area; (360) 683-5847 or www.clallam.net
Daily tours of the historic New Dungeness Lighthouse are available. Visit our Keepers page and learn how you could be a lighthouse keeper.
Visitors should examine their own abilities before visiting the Refuge. Contact the Refuge Manager for suggestions for using the area safely.
Note: If your speakers are on, the sound you hear is the water swirling around the shore of the spit.