Flannels or FlipFlops Travel Blog contains affiliate links. I am a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more information.
Have you heard about the “Tree of life” in Washington State? Maybe you have heard it called the Kalaloch Tree of Life?
The Tree of Life is easy to get to, and one of the most unique natural features I’ve seen. Visiting this famous tree should be on every Pacific Northwest visitor’s Bucket list! It is a definite must-stop destination on your Olympic National Park Itinerary.
You can read the full post for more information on the Tree of Life, or see the most asked questions right here:
Tree of Life Frequently Asked Questions
Did the Kalaloch tree of life collapse in 2022?
NO! Somehow, someway the Tree of Life in Washington still stands!
Where is the location of the tree of life?
The tree of life is in Kalaloch Washington, located near Ruby Beach, and Forks Washington.
Do I have to hike to get to the Tree of Life?
No! An easy walk down some stairs and to the beach.
What kind of tree is the Tree of Life?
The Tree of Life is a Sitka Spruce Tree.
Why is it called the Tree of Life?
Nobody knows. The tree doesn’t have an “official name”. The tree of life is also known as the Root Cave Tree, Tree Root Cave, the Kalaloch Tree of life, or (incorrectly, the Ruby Beach Tree).
What is the Tree of Life?
The Tree of life in Washington State is a large Sitka Spruce. It doesn’t officially have a name and is also called the Kalaloch tree, the runaway tree, or the magical tree. The tree of life is located on the bluff on the edge of Kalaloch beach.
Over time, water has run through under the roots on the same path year after year and eroded the ground beneath the root system. What’s left is a living, thriving tree that appears to be floating and growing out of nothing but air.
The tree of life has a green top and appears to be still thriving despite its lack of support.
The roots are large enough and exposed enough that they have created a root cave under the tree and to the bluff that is big enough to stand under!
But please don’t stand under the Kalaloch Tree of Life. It could be dangerous, and we need to protect this wonderful Tree of Life from further damage.
I haven’t been able to find out how old this tree is or how long it’s been “this way”. I can’t say why it is alive or standing. Some people think it’s a magical tree. I think it’s fun to imagine it has some sort of miraculous properties that keep it alive.
How to get to the Tree of Life in Washington
You will want to drive to the Kalaloch Campground Parking lot to visit the tree of life. Parking is free.
From the parking lot, look towards the beach and you will see an opening for a trail. It is paved and lined on either side by bushes. From there is just a short walk down to the beach. Once you are at the beach, head to the right, and the tree is a short distance away.
After you visit the Tree of Life, the beach here is a great place to spend the day. Bring a picnic and enjoy the sand and the water.
When is the best time to visit the Tree of Life?
You can visit the Tree of Life any time of year. The best weather on the Washington Coast is in July-October. Even during those months the weather can be wet and unpredictable so always come prepared for rain.
The hike to the Tree of Life isn’t very long, so even if the weather is wet, it’s worth a trip down to the beach to see it!
Tree of Life in Olympic National Park
The Tree of Life in Washington State is located in Olympic National Park. I could talk forever about how AMAZING this park is. Olympic National Park encompasses almost one million acres. ONE MILLION.
My favorite thing about this park is how diverse it is. It really has it all. Glaciers? Yep. Mountains? Totally. Gorgeous lakes and rivers? Of course. Rainforest? You bet! Beaches and ridiculously gorgeous coastline? YES!! Floating, crazy, odds-defying tree? OH YEAH!!
Olympic National Park is best visited by car. There are so many different areas and environments to explore you will want to have a way to get around. This is not the park to rely on tours or shuttles.
Olympic National Park has been designated as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations.
The most popular time to visit is June-September. You can camp, or stay at nearby lodges. Be sure and make easy reservations if you want to stay at a lodge.
Check permits and reservations for camping well in advance. You should always check the NPS Olympic National Park Website for closures and restrictions.
Named by the Quinalt Indian Nation, Kalaloch means ” Good place to land”. Kalaloch is one of the beaches in the Olympic National Park. It is easy to access and located right off Hwy 101. There are 8 beaches in this area, but to get to the Tree of Life, you will want to enter the beach that sits near the Kalaloch Campground.
The beach itself is wide and sandy and has rugged cliffs on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It’s a great place to walk the beach.
You’ll find crabs and birds, and sometimes you can see gray whales out in the distance if it is during their migration (April). The beach can get busy, but it’s fairly big, so usually you can get a little spot to yourself.
Kalaloch is located on the Olympic Peninsula and is 45 minutes from Forks, 1hr 2 minutes from Lake Crescent, an hour from Hoh Rain Forest, and just over 2 hours to Hurricane Ridge. These are all other popular locations within Olympic National Park.
If you decide you want to stay In Kalaloch for your visit these are my favorite lodging options. You’ll need to plan ahead and reserve early.
- Kalaloch Campground
- Kalaloch Lodge– These super cool little cabins sit above the beach. THE BEST SUNSETS can be seen here.
I’m always afraid that the next time I visit, the tree will have collapsed, but so far, it has withstood the test of time, erosion, storms, and tourists and is “hanging in there”.
As of June 2022, the tree of life has not collapsed. I hope you have a chance to visit this natural wonder. Please be respectful of it when you are there, to help preserve it as long as possible.
National Park Resources
When planning a National Park trip, these are the resources I use:
✅ First, grab an America the Beautiful Pass– this grants access to all NPS sites for 12 months
✅ Download the free NPS App to help you navigate the parks
✅ Check GyPSy Guide to see if there is an audio tour for your park
✅ Use Hotels.com for hotel stays and earn 1 free night after every 10 nights
✅ Use the DYRT or Harvest Hosts to look for camping sites
✅ Use RV Share or Escape Campervans to explore the parks
✅ Get Souvenirs and Parks Passport before you go using National Parks E-Store
➡️Read more about how to visit all 63 US National Parks
These are resources I trust and use in my travels. By purchasing through the links above, you help me keep my blog running at no additional cost to you, and I appreciate it so much!