But when low tide is at 7:00 a.m. and there are tidepools just steps from our front door, I’m there, coffee mug in hand; ready to discover the treasures revealed by the ebbing tide.
Jewels Of The Tidepools
Delicate rose-tinted and brilliant lime green anemones, crimson sea stars, tiny darting sculpin, and pearl-like snails crowd together in shallow pools, awaiting the returning tide. Mussels and gooseneck barnacles encrust the rocks, providing an all-you-can-shuck buffet for gulls, ravens, and oystercatchers.
Just beyond the rocks, flotillas of comical-billed surf scoters and paint-by-number harlequin ducks paddle close by. Salt Creek Recreation Area is renowned as one of the finest places on the West Coast for tide pools, and we would have to agree.
There are several places to access the tidepools. Our favorite is Tongue Point, a marine preserve at the far northwestern point of the park. It’s also the best place to view sunset, perched on the rocks overlooking the ocean.
Nearby Port Angeles
Salt Creek Recreation Area is located only 15 miles from Port Angeles, a town we’ve zipped through on other journeys with no more than a passing glance. But like the tidepools, taking a closer look reveals the treasures of this small port town.
The waterfront is lovely, with an ever-changing outdoor art exhibition throughout the downtown area. We replenished our food supplies at a wonderful farmers market near the waterfront—it’s small, but abundant with organic produce, grass-fed and pastured meats, and locally caught salmon.
The Olympic Discovery Trail (a dedicated biking/walking trail) also passes through Port Angeles. We picked up a scenic section in downtown and rode 14 miles (round trip) that took us along the waterfront with spectacular views of the harbor, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Canada in the distance.
We were at Salt Creek for five days, and could have easily spent two weeks (the maximum allowed at the park). In addition to the excellent tidepooling at the park, we found plenty to occupy ourselves with a couple of trips to Port Angeles, and a couple of adventures in nearby Olympic National Park (blog post to come).
About The Campground
A few things you should know should you consider staying at Salt Creek Recreation Area. The first words Eric said when we pulled into the park, “This is not what I had in mind.” He has a serious allergic reaction to being too close to campground neighbors, unless they’re already friends.
The campground is divided into two sections; the no-hookup section caters to tent campers. There are some attractive secluded sites with ocean views, but very few sites that can accommodate an RV.
The RV section is laid out something like a drive-in theatre, with three rows of close-together sites facing the ocean. Stunning views, if you simply look straight ahead. Otherwise, you’re looking at the side of your neighbor’s rig, and there’s no privacy whatsoever. We just kept our side blinds closed.
Other things to know: There are electric and water hookups, but no sewer. RV sites are $27 per night. The bathhouses are adequate. Half of the sites in the park can be reserved; the other half are first-come, first-served. We enjoyed the first-come first-served sites in the RV section—we had a front row seat.