I’ve traveled along Hood Canal before, though only along Highway 106 and Highway 101. Looking across Hood Canal to the Kitsap Peninsula from the South or West, the other side of Hood Canal seemed a little less developed (as far as waterfront houses are concerned). Also, looking a at map of the area, there was actually primitive roads that appeared to follow the shoreline. This all added up to a day of exploring the lower Hood Canal side of the lower Kitsap Peninsula.
We started our tour at the end of Hood Canal in Belfair, Washington (the last services along the way). From Highway 3, we followed the signs for Highway 300 West (also known as North Shore Road). Once we left Belfair, we started seeing the wetlands where the Union River empties into Hood Canal.
At approximately 3 miles from Belfair is the Belfair State Park. This was our first stop to let the dog out and stretch our legs. The time we arrived coincided with the low tide which allowed some great beach roaming time. It also allowed me time to start trying to learn how to use my new Nikon D80 camera.
The scenic North Shore Road follows the waterfront for approximately 16 miles, passing through the community of Tahuya, Washington along the way. At about 19 miles from Belfair is the Menard’s Landing County Park where the Rendsland Creek empties into Hood Canal. Although small in size, this park is another great place to stop wander around the shoreline. In addition the the great views of Hood Canal, there are views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains (on a clear day of course). Amenities at the park include a small boat launch for hand carried boats (canoe, kayak, raft), a covered gazebo, picnic areas and the all important sani-can.
Immediately after Menard’s Landing, the road narrows down to almost a one lane road as it climbs from the shoreline onto the bluffs above Hood Canal. After approximately one mile, the road turns to gravel and continues to wind around the bluffs of the East shore of Hood Canal. This section of road is primarily through the forest with intermittent views of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains.
After about six miles of gravel road, we reached the paved road and NE Dewatto Rd where we took a left toward Hood Canal. A short distance is the Dewatto-Holly Road. We took a left toward Dewatto.
The area known as Dewatto, Washington is now only a small community of homes, most not visible from the short road that leads to the area. At one time, the community had a store, a post office and it’s own school, none which exists today.
The area also has it’s own port district known as the Port of Dewatto (formed in 1927). The Port of Dewatto also maintains a boat launch and a public campground which was our next stop along the way.
From the Dewatto area, we followed the Dewatto-Holly Road overland to the community of Holly, Washington. Holly is a remote, small waterfront residential community of approximately 60 homes with no commercial establishment or services.
After our quick visit of Holly, we turned around and followed the Seabeck-Holly Road to the Scenic Beach State Park which was our next stop. Scenic Beach State Park is a relatively small beach front park along Hood Canal. We found great views of Hood Canal, Dabob Bay (to the North) and the Toandos Peninsula (also to the North). There are views of the Olympic Mountains (only the foothills were visible at the time we visited because the clouds rolled in during the day).
At this point in the trip, it was already late afternoon, so after our visit to Scenic Beach State Park, it was time to head home. We followed the Seabeck Highway through the community of Seabeck, Washington (the first commercial establishments we seen since leaving Belfair) then to Bremerton to complete our tour of Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Additional photos from this trip can be found at Lower Hood Canal Tour.