At the very southeastern end of the Point Brown Peninsula in the middle of Grays Harbor lies a special natural place called Protection Island, and at its very end is Damon Point. Luckily for hikers, beach combers and birders, Protection Island isn't actually an island but a nearly 2-mile long peninsula that's connected to the mainland via a narrow spit.
Protection Island is one of a few nesting areas for winter migrating snowy owls. A visit to the island and point in January or February will provide the opportunity to see this iconic bird of prey. The distinctive white bird with bright yellow eyes is the largest North American owl by weight. Protection Island is a popular nesting spot for more common birds throughout the year as well, including bald eagles and western gulls, and Damon Point is a common resting spot for large gatherings of harbor seals.
Starting at Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area or the Quinault Marina + RV Park, you'll want to bring water as the hike to circumnavigate the peninsula is roughly 4 miles, and the soft, small-pebbled beach can make walking surprisingly difficult. To make the walk easier, you can actually return via the old road that leads out to Damon Point and cuts straight through the center of Protection Island.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day, you'll enjoy views of the Olympic Mountains to the northeast and even a view of Mount Rainier in the far distance to the southeast.