Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is located along the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County, Washington. President Woodrow Wilson established the Refuge on January 20, 1915 by Executive Order as a refuge, preserve, and breeding ground for native birds. Eelgrass beds and tide flats teem with migrating shorebirds in spring and fall; flocks of waterfowl find food and rest in these protected waters during the winter; eel grass beds also provide a nursery for young salmon and steelhead. The Refuge currently consists of 636 acres, including a sand spit, second-class tidelands and bay, and a small forested upland area. Dungeness NWR boasts one of the world's longest natural sand spits, which softens the rough sea waves to form a quiet bay and harbor, gravel beaches, and tide flats. Dungeness Spit is one of only a few such geological formations in the world which was formed during the Vashon Glacial era ten to twenty thousand years ago.
No visit to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is complete without making the trek to the New Dungeness Lightstation. This is a 10 mile round trip hike, taking at least 4-6 hours to complete. Allow sufficient time so you may enjoy your Refuge experience and not be rushed. Make sure that you check a tide chart upon setting out on your trek. During high tidal conditions it is passable, but you may have to climb over dirft logs here and there. There are no restroom facilities available once you leave the parking area until you reach the lighstation, so plan accordingly. Daily tours of the lightstation are offered by volunteer lightstation keepers of the New Dungeness Light Station Association.Camping and fires of any kind, are not allowed on the Refuge. The adjoining Dungeness Recreation Area has camping which is provided by Clallam County Parks.The refuge protects critical habitat for wildlife, and provides viewing opportunities for the public. To ensure that wildlife continue to have a place to rest and feed, certain recreational activities such as jogging, swimming and other beach activities are allowed only in selected areas during certain times of the year. Pets, bicycles, kite flying and frisbees/boomerangs are not permitted on the Refuge as they are a disturbance for the many migrating birds and other wildlife taking solitude on the Refuge. Please stay on the trails, and the bluff areas are extremely hazardous due to their instability, and are closed to the public.