Salt Creek Recreation Area

Illustration by Uko Gorter

For decades, Salt Creek Recreation Area has been a highly regarded site for wildlife viewing.  Mammals, marine invertebrates, birds, and marine mammals can all be seen from the Park.  Marine life can be seen from many vantage points in the park.  Numerous interpretive kiosks throughout the park help with their identification. At low tide, the tidepools of Tongue Point, and the shoreline to the east, offer the best viewing of intertidal marine life.

Kayakers, surfers, and others in various water craft catch glimpses of sea life.  One of the best places to spot marine mammals is from the bluff edge near the stairs leading to Tongue Point. The Whale Trail sign is located on the path near the stairs.

Marine Sanctuary

Tongue Point is the rocky peninsula that appears during low tide at the northwest corner of the Park, while at high tide only the tallest rocks can be seen.  This area and the entire shoreline of the Park is part of a Marine Protected Area or sanctuary.  The Marine Sanctuary is set up to prevent people from removing any natural items from the shoreline, such as shells, rocks, driftwood, and marine life.  Everything on the beach has a purpose in the tidal zone.

The sanctuary also provides food sources for marine mammals.  Before the sanctuary was created, people were stripping the shoreline of mussels, sea urchins, and kelp.  These marine resources have recovered very well.

Where the Whales Are

Grey whales are often seen in Crescent Bay, at the north end of the Park. Watch for their distinctive heart-shaped spouts, or their tail flukes as they dive.

From vantage points throughout the park, look across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The strait is an important passageway, linking the open waters of the Pacific Ocean to the inland waters of the Salish Sea. You may see orcas, minkes or even humpback whales; Dall's porpoise, harbor porpoise or sometimes, Pacific White-sided dolphins.

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

3506 Camp Hayden Rd

Port Angeles, WA

(360) 928-3441


Open year round 7am to 10pm or dusk

Park Information

Whale Trail Features

Whale Trail Marker

Interpretive Signage


  • camping
  • restrooms
  • telephone
  • accessible
  • trails
  • picnic-area

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

Marine Mammals Rarely Seen Here

Travel Tips

When you visit, please help preserve the wonderful shoreline and tidepools of Salt Creek Recreation Area. You are encouraged to touch, take photographs, and examine the marine life in the tidepools, but do not remove anything.

Binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras with zoom lenses can be helpful, but not necessary to view the marine mammals.

Salt Creek Recreation Area is also a site on the Olympic Loop of the Audubon Society’s Great Washington State Birding Trail..

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries