Hidden in the low hills just south of the seaside hamlet of Clallam Bay is the town’s old abandoned cemetery.
While not a long journey, you’ll have to find your way there, and there isn’t exactly a clear cut path. At least not one that that I could find. Not a bad idea to have a gps!
Clallam Bay has its beginnings in the 1880s, around the same time Washington was becoming a state.
Initially the town served as a steamship stop, but before long, lumber and fishing began to develop.
Barrel making however was the big pre-20th century industry in town, serving nearby West Clallam’s (now Sekiu) Pacific Tanning Extract Company, for whom business was booming.
The tanning extract business tanked in 1893, leaving hundreds unemployed. Some left town in search of work, others tried to cut a living from the local forests, or fish it from the local waters.
For some of course, Clallam Bay was the end of the line. Of those departed souls, thirty-one ended up what is now the Old Clallam Bay Cemetery.
Originally a five acre parcel, the land was donated by a C.J. Snider for the benefit of Clallam Bay in the early days of the settlement. In those days a wagon road passed nearby. Travelers may have stopped by to pay their respects on the way to Forks.
The earliest recorded burials date to the first decade of the 20th century, with the last interments being in the early 1930s.
It’s unclear exactly when the cemetery was abandoned, but at some point the property fell into the hands of a logging company.
The cemetery was logged in the early 1990s, which suggests that the trees had reached a marketable size by then. A clue perhaps to the time of it’s abandonment.
As of 2017, coniferous trees once again stand tall above the forgotten cemetery’s scarce remnants.
Hidden in the forest stand a couple legible markers and various features that might suggest where markers may have once stood.
Rusted fixtures and fencing can also be found beneath the dense coniferous canopy. Some rocks suggest they also may have been purposefully placed.
There is no indication at the site regarding its name, history, nor it’s current status.
Just south of town, one can take Eagle Crest Way to it’s fork with Charley Creek Rd. Follow Charley Creek Rd to its abrupt end.
The now abandoned roadway makes for a fitting walk to this long abandoned graveyard.
Head south on the post-apocalyptic looking road grade, keeping an eye out for promising looking paths up into the woods not long into your journey. (<1/4mi)
If you fail to be convinced by anything you see leading off into the woods, you’ll eventually see homes and such at the end of the road. From there the graveyard is more or less directly above you. The hillside at that point however is rather steep, so you’ll see what I mean about trying to find a promising looking path before you reach this point.
I was not able to locate a trail on the way there, rather punching up into the woods before the hill became impassable. With the aid of gps, I followed deer trails through the brush to make my way to the site.
However on the way back up the road to my car, I seem to recall seeing a possible trail up into the woods. Keep your eyes peeled!