Ruby Beach

Olympic National Park, Washington

Ruby Beach is located in Olympic National Park in Washington state and is accessible via U.S. Route 101. The beach is the northernmost beach in the Kalaloch area and is approximately 10 miles north of Kalaloch Lodge. The beach is located a quarter mile from the parking lot and is an easy hike, although you might have to climb over some driftwood.

Photo taken at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, Really Right Stuff tripod and BH 55 ballhead, B+W Kaesemann circular polarizer, Formatt Hitech 100x150mm Firecrest Soft Grad ND 0.9. Exposure: 1/15 sec., ƒ/11, ISO 400.

Weather At Ruby Beach

It was late September when I visited Ruby Beach. The weather was in the 50s with quite a bit of rain. The year-round temperatures don’t fluctuate too drastically, ranging from an average low in the mid 30s in the winter to an average high in the low 70s in the summer. During the summer, you can expect relatively warm, dry conditions. This is the best time of year to see thick fog on the beaches. In the fall, temperatures get cooler with more rain and windy conditions. Winter is the wettest season, with many storms rolling in from the ocean. Like winter, spring is also quite wet, and you can expect cool to mild temperatures.

I suggest if you’re planning to visit any of the beaches in Olympic, be prepared with rain gear. It’s a good idea to check with the visitor center for the most accurate weather and tide conditions, as this way you can be as prepared as possible.

Photo Experience

Olympic National Park’s coastal region is truly an amazing place. I’ve traveled all over the country shooting landscapes, and this is definitely on my top 10. Ruby Beach has to be one of the more challenging places to capture, mainly due to weather and tides. During the time I was there, I shot several different beaches in the area, but this composition at Ruby Beach was really what I was after. Day after day, I was met with some new obstacle, be it rain, no clouds, the tide was wrong, etc. On my last day there, the sun broke through some ominous clouds, and I saw one of the best sunsets of my career. Thankfully, I didn’t pack it in before sunset.

For this image, I probably had around 15 to 20 minutes before the light was gone. There’s a brief window of time in order to capture the sunset here, so come prepared. I was set up an hour before sunset to check camera settings, tripod stability against the wind and light control with filters. 

Best Times To Visit Ruby Beach

Although inclement weather in late September into October can be challenging, don’t be discouraged by adverse weather because it can lead to some of the more dramatic compositions. One of the best parts about Ruby Beach is that shooting in the morning takes on a whole other feeling. From the early morning until around 10 a.m., there’s often a thick fog that flows off the ocean through the towering rock formations and up into the mountains. During sunset, there are great opportunities to capture amazing colors, especially if there’s some good cloud cover. Stick around for the blue hour, as it can be quite stunning as well.

Contact: National Park Service, www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-kalaloch-and-ruby-beach.htm.


See more of Jay Scott’s work at fallenlightimages.com.