2021 Summer Geology Beach Guides–North Beach, Port Williams, & Nodule Point

2021 Summer—Three Geology Beach Walks and Detailed Guides

We led three different beach walks where you can learn more about the geology and sediments that form the bluffs and supply the beaches. Each trip ran twice.  Because of parking and logistical difficulties, attendance was limited to about 20 participants for each trip. Field trip guides are available for downloading.  This are preliminary and dynamic; we may update them as more information becomes available.


  • Where: Meet at Fort Worden in the parking pad south of Battery Kinzie for a two-hour walk. State parks pass required to park here.
  • What: On the one-mile walk west towards North Beach county park, we’ll see a wide variety of glacial deposits including outwash and marine sediments, a peat layer, a “buried” forest, and glacial erratics on the beach. All are well exposed in a steep bluff at sea level. Generally, we walk up section (through younger deposits to the west). There are various return routes.
  • Leader: Kitty Reed, retired geologist, and several assistants.
  • For: Persons with limited geology background, easy walking across some bouldery section of beach.
  • To download the guide, 2021 NB bluff guide final.


  • Where: Meet at Port Williams, NE of Sequim for a two-hour walk. Carpooling recommended; small parking lot at this county park.
  • What: We’ll see glacial deposits, including Vashon till and Possession drift, various outwash deposits, and locally derived alluvium of the Dungeness River. All are well exposed in a steep bluff at sea level.
  • Leader: Kitty Reed, retired geologist, and several assistants.
  • For: Persons with geology background. This is the least known of the three areas we’ll visit this summer. We invite active discussion. Generally easy walking
  • To download the guide, click this link (2021 Port Williams walkers guide).


  • Where: Meet at the East County Beach Park,  NE of Nordland on Marrowstone Island for a four-hour walk. Carpooling strongly recommended for this small (8-10 car) parking lot.
  • What: On the four-mile walk to the Point and back, we’ll see Vashon glacial till, outwash deposits, and glacial erratics. All well exposed in a steep bluff at sea level and on the beach. At the point, well see sandstone of Scow Bay, a basalt dike that intruded the sandstone, and many cemented sandstone concretions (not nodules, despite the point’s name). They are worth the long walk.
  • Leader: Michael, retired geologist, and several geohelpers.
  • For: Persons with limited geology background. This is the only walk that encounters bedrock of the three areas we’ll visit this summer.  Moderate walking across some bouldery beach, your shows will get wet.
  • To download the guide, click this link

2021-02-02 North Beach Erosion Photos

Hi everyone – I/Leslie Roubal/the webmaster/ went to visit my local North Beach after the stormy January and find that there is LOADS more sand on the beach and fresh erosion of the cliffs, which probably accounts for more sand. Very good walking on the nice sand and special photos of erosion. See also the good FIELD TRIP we took a couple of years ago explaining the layers seen on North Beach.

Geology of bluff along North Beach, Fort Worden