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Don’t Miss Your Chance to See the ‘Tree of Life’ That Clings Precariously to Washington’s Coast

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Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

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Home » Ancient & Remarkable Trees » Don’t Miss Your Chance to See the ‘Tree of Life’ That Clings Precariously to Washington’s Coast

On the rugged coast of Washington State, where the Pacific Ocean gnaws at the land, there stands an extraordinary tree.

Known as the Tree of Life, this Sitka spruce at Kalaloch Beach is a living symbol of resilience and survival against the odds.

This isn’t just any tree; it’s a spectacle of nature’s defiance and a curious attraction for those who traverse the misty shores of the Olympic Peninsula.

Olympic Peninsula
Olympic Peninsula

Imagine walking down a sandy beach, the sound of waves crashing in the background. You follow a trail from the Kalaloch Campground, surrounded by the lush greenery typical of the Pacific Northwest.

As you turn a bend, you come upon a scene that looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy novel. There, suspended over a gaping hole, with its roots exposed and hanging in mid-air, is the Tree of Life.

The ground beneath it has eroded away, leaving the roots to clutch at the air, yet it remains lush and vibrantly green.

Tree of Life Olympic Peninsula

How does it survive?

The tree’s roots, although mostly bare, somehow tap into the residual moisture and nutrients along the bluff, sustaining its towering presence.

The sight is as baffling as it is mesmerizing. Visitors often pause, their cameras ready, trying to capture this natural wonder that defies the very principles of biology and gravity.

The Tree of Life’s precarious position serves as a reminder of the relentless force of coastal erosion.

The soil that once nurtured it has washed away into the ocean, yet it holds on, a stubborn icon of survival.

Tree of Life Root Cave

This tree challenges our understanding of life and resilience. It’s not just surviving; it’s thriving in conditions that would spell doom for lesser beings.

The area around the tree is rich with natural beauty, offering more than just the tree itself. Kalaloch Beach is a place where the forest meets the sea, where wildlife thrives and the vistas are breathtaking.

The nearby Kalaloch Lodge provides a rustic retreat for those who wish to linger in this magical setting.

But there’s an urgency to visit this remarkable tree.

Tree of Life Kalaloch Beach, Washington State

With each passing storm and the continuous lapping of the waves, the coast erodes a bit more.

While the Tree of Life has stood the test of time so far, its future is uncertain. Each visit could potentially be the last chance to see this marvel of nature in its current form.

So, if your travels take you to the Olympic Peninsula, make sure to stop by and witness the Tree of Life.

Stand before it (not on it), and let it inspire you with its improbable life story. It’s a vivid reminder that sometimes, against all odds, life finds a way.

Digging Deeper

Location

The Tree of Life is perched on the edge of a bluff at Kalaloch Beach, within Olympic National Park on the coast of Washington State.

Olympic National Park

Type of Tree

This remarkable tree is a Sitka spruce, known botanically as Picea sitchensis. It is notable for its ability to thrive in the harsh coastal environment.

Is The Tree of Life Washington Still Alive?

Yes, despite its exposed root system and precarious position, the Tree of Life continues to thrive, challenging the usual expectations of survival.

Can You Visit It?

Visitors are welcome to view the Tree of Life; it is accessible via a short walk from the parking area at Kalaloch Campground, with no entry fee required for this area.

Conservation

The tree’s survival is closely monitored by conservationists, emphasizing the broader efforts to preserve the delicate ecosystems along Washington’s coastal areas. Please respect the tree and do not climb all over it.

Legacy

The Tree of Life has become a symbol of resilience and a compelling subject for photographers and nature lovers, drawing attention to the power and fragility of natural landscapes.

Want More?

Explore the intriguing stories of some of the world’s most remarkable trees, each with a compelling tale to tell.

The Ombalantu Baobab in Namibia serves as both a natural museum and a vibrant community hub, deeply rooted in local traditions.

In stark contrast, the Sycamore Gap Tree in England, famously featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, met a tragic end when it was cut down, leaving behind a poignant story of loss and remembrance.

Lastly, the legendary Hundred Horse Chestnut in Sicily is steeped in myth, reputed to have sheltered a hundred knights during a storm, symbolizing resilience and the passage of time.

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Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!