How Did Port Gamble Stay Off The Radar?

Looking for a new adventure? Try taking a right instead of left sometime. In our case, we found a close, quaint little community that for practical purposes have been doing their best to hide from us.

Kitsap Memorial State Park

The story for finally finding Port Gamble actually starts with another hidden secret, Kitsap Memorial State Park. This is another case of having driven by this place countless times. The real irony is that on each occasion I can remember thinking, “One of these days I need to check this park out.”

I’m not sure what has kept me from turning in. Perhaps it’s the close proximity to home. It just feels like you need to travel some amount, at least in the hours’ range, not minutes, before it qualifies as an adventure. Or maybe it’s the lack of visibility and it’s neighbors. You can’t see the park from the main road, only the usual dull dirt brown state park signage pointing westward. And the double crossroads that border the entrance are home to some old tired businesses that have seen better days and are in need of some paint.

Whatever the reason it’s a disservice to the park. Once you pull in the park, which has a border shared with Hood Canal, you greeted with lush well-kept campsites, large open grassed areas, and a handful of historic facilities that are available for rent.

For us, the go, no-go making point is the actual campsites. These are well wooded and afford a large degree of privacy. Perfect.

While we were there someone had rented the large log house for their wedding reception, but I was more interested in the vista’s of Hood Canal and the Olympics. With its large and modern playground for kids, I’d say this part has something to offer everyone.

Hood Canal Sunset
The sun seting over the Olympic Mountain Range with Hood Canal in the foreground.
Hood Canal with the Olympic Mountains in the background
Looking across Hood Canal at the peaks of the Olympic Mountain Range.

Port Gamble

Our first morning in the park, we decided to head north into Port Gamble and see what it had to offer. Felt a little weird actually passing the Hood Canal Bridge. But once we starting seeing the historic buildings of Port Gamble and immediately started asking myself why had it taken me so long to check out this place?

The first known residents of Port Gamble were members of the Nooksclime, Clallam, or S’Klallam tribe who fished and gathered food along Hood Canal. The S’Klallams belonged to the linguistic group, South Coast Salish, which populated Puget Sound. Tribes traded and intermarried and generally experienced little conflict except for raids from outside the region.

In 1841, a U.S. Navy expedition led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) named the two-mile-long bay at the mouth of Hood Canal after Navy Lieutenant Robert Gamble, who was wounded in the War of 1812.


Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/customer/www/xexplore.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/fetch-tweets/include/class/utility/database/FetchTweets_DatabaseTable_ft_http_requests.php on line 196

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/customer/www/xexplore.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/fetch-tweets/include/class/utility/database/FetchTweets_DatabaseTable_ft_http_requests.php on line 197
Fetch Tweets: Invalid or expired token. Code: 89

Looking for a new adventure? Try taking a right instead of left sometime. In our case, we found a close, quaint little community that for practical purposes have been doing their best to hide from us.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.
Port Gamble Cistern
The old water cistern for the historic mill town of Port Gamble.

Latest Instagram

Theresa is gazing at sunset while beachcombing. The clouds added a wonderful touch of drama to the scene. ...

0 5

Theresa is looking downstream at Murhat Falls. This waterfall is easy to drive to and an easy hike in the Olympic National Forest. ...

0 6

Skate Creek runs alongside Forest Road 52 in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was just one of the many photographic sites that can be accessed from the road. ...

0 1

Sunrise at Fort Flagler State Park ...

0 11

Murhut Falls and its pool are nestled in the Olympic National Forest, not far from Dosewallips State Park. ...

0 9

Mystery Bay on Marrowstone Island. ...

0 2

Winter storm making landfall just south of Cape Flattery. This part of the Pacific Northwest can see some powerful storms. ...

0 5

An unnamed creek and a small waterfall that you can find along the Steam Donkey Loop trail, which starts within the Dosewallips State Park of Washington ...

0 3

Footsteps and a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. ...

0 3

Early morning sunshine filtered through the trees and reflected off the upper portion of Murhut waterfall ...

0 5

Theresa sitting under Murhut Falls, enjoying the beauty of the forest. ...

0 5

Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. At one time, it appears to have been used by a homestead to hold water during the summer months. #washingtonstateparks ...

0 1

A photographer takes a photo and becomes the subject himself. ...

0 10

“How We Survived a Slight Derailment on Tower Rock” was published on our website. You'll find a gallery of all photographs in the article towards the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear your thoughts or comments. You can find our URL in the bio. ...

0 7

In the summer of 1853, San Francisco lumber merchant and sea captain William Talbot spotted the sand spit at the mouth of the bay as a likely place for a lumber mill. Talbot was a partner of Josiah Keller, Andrew Pope, and Charles Foster in the Puget Mill Company. They planned to cut the abundant trees of Oregon Territory into lumber for sale in California and across the Pacific. The sand spit sheltered ships and was close to stands of timber.

For 142 years, the community existed to support sawmills that produced lumber for the world market. The mill closed in 1995, but as a National Historic Site, the townsite has been preserved to reflect an authentic company mill town.

Now, most of the homes host little boutique shops filled with crafts. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Scratch Kitchen and I’d recommend a stop. For me, the highlight was a stop at the Port Gamble General Store. The first floor is full of your usual stables for sale as well as some local crafts, but the upper levels are what really interested me.

Glass cases full on natural history items are on display from the local area. What a treat for the curious minded. Be sure to give yourself ample time to marvel at all the curiosities.

Please share this:

More to explore

super_full_moon
Journal

Super Full Moon On New Years

Having just returned from Vancouver we were feeling the need to get back outdoors for our next holiday; New Years. As such we hooked up the

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.