Located within the Quileute Indian Reservation, a small reserve of less than 400 native residents, and surrounded by the Olympic National Park and Quileute Needles National Wildlife Refuge, La Push's First Beach is a sandy, crescent-shaped shoreline that is popular with beach combers and surfers alike.
From the beach's main parking area you can stroll a mile southward to the beach's end, crawl along the Quillayute River's south jetty, catch glimpse's of the numerous harbor seals, or simply walk among the giant remains of once thousand-year-old trees.
Although off-limits to non-tribal members and outside visitors, James Island has a rather unique history. The island was once home to a fortified native village, and it was used as a lookout for hunting whales, a burial site for Quileute tribal chiefs, and even for growing particular crops.
Easily seen as you look to the southwest, the Quillayute Needles archipelago is cluster of dozens of small coastal islands that have been set aside as a critical wildlife refuge for more than 14 species of seabirds, sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters. Once prized for their fur, sea otters off the coast of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California were slaughtered to almost complete extinction. By 1911 only a small group survived in California before hunting was made illegal. In the late 1960s, sea otters from Alaska were re-introduced along the Washington and Oregon coastline. Today, Quillayute Needles, along with two other main refuges, Flattery Rocks and Copalis, comprise the larger Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which protects more than 870 islands and reefs and is home to an estimated 800 sea otters.