Driftwood: AKA Giagantic Tree At LaPush

One of the things we tell people all the time when they ask us about LaPush is the amount of driftwood that washes up and its size. For most of us, we probably think of driftwood as being at most a foot or two, something the size of a pruned tree branch. Well at LaPush it’s more like drift logs and a whole drift forest on the shoreline.

When we had the opportunity to talk to Chris Cook, the editor of The Forks Forum, back in summer 2009, he told us why the wood was so huge. It’s a two-part answer: 1) there is no break for the intense winter storms that come across the Pacific and 2) the trees in the area actually have fairly shallow roots. In the winter time people are frequently cut off from travel due to fallen tress across the roads.

The above photo shocked even us, we’ve never seen a tree that big washed up on LaPush before. Check out the details on Earth Science Picture of the Day. TY to Caffeinated42 on Twitter for the heads up.


  1. Mary Masen says:

    this tree must be as old as Aro!!!!

  2. I doubt anything is as old as Aro lol … But wow !

  3. Hopefully the lumber industry takes advantage of such abundant renewable material. That tree could save a living one! 🙂

  4. goodnes, that’s HUGE!! Mary, I think it’s not as old as Aro, maybe as old as Carlisle?

  5. My eyes literally popped when I saw the size of the tree…

    Yet another reason I want to visit Forks and La Push!

  6. Mary Masen says:

    Yeah, maybe I exaggerated cuz this is thee biggest tree trunk i’ve ever seen. cuz normally
    it can’t be 4000yo… but
    it could be as old as Alistair…700yo?…idk..

  7. marabenefici23forever says:

    Oh Emmett… you’re not supposed to go to La Push. Stop having tree tossing contests with Jasper.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Holy cow that’s huge!

  9. Joshua Roberts says:

    Very interesting, but honestly I have a hard time believing that a tree of that size would just wash up on the shore. I can see it dying and getting washed away into the ocean, but I would believe somebody would have had to drag it, either that or this picture is photoshoped. You would have to have one massive tide roll in to bring a tree of that size and weight onto shore…especially as far as it was. Then again, on March 11th, we did have a minor tsunami off the pacific coast… hmmm…

    • It’s real enough and entirely too large for someone to have pulled it onto shore. I have pictures of me sitting on top of the tree and sitting within the roots.

      Remember that 10 foot waves are common in the winter along the Pacific Coast. I don’t live at LaPush, but I’ve gone out there several times a year for the last 14 years. Each time the beach is new. New trees have washed ashore and the beach has been completely redecorated. There is a giant rock near the cliff at First Beach. Sometimes I’ve gone there and have stood on that rock and watched the waves roll in below me. The next time all that is visible is the tip of the rock, maybe enough to have a sit on because the beach has covered it with sand. Then the next time, it is back again. Don’t underestimate the power of the ocean! Perhaps you owe yourself a visit?

  10. Gigi Cullen says:

    I was very fortunate to visit Forks & LaPush in March & i was way too scared to stand next to that sucker. Its huge & very scary up close. All the “Drift Trees” on the LaPush beach is just amazing & beautiful.

  11. Daisymay says:

    Wow!! There are some pretty bigtrees that wash up here on Northern Oregon Coast, but this is the biggest one I’ve seen! I wonder what kind of tree… You can tell it hasn’t been there long by how deep it’s burried in the sand. Also that it’s been in the sea because it’s pointed parts are rounded, but it doesn’t look to have been out to sea long. Very interesting.

  12. We were there last summer and saw that tree. It was huge! We climbed to the top and took pictures. It was cool.

  13. I stand corrected… we have witnesses… Well how about that… drift trees…

  14. Kathryn says:

    The tree may be real, but I agree with Joshua Roberts that the picture looks photoshopped.

  15. EzraGolightly says:

    That is the same driftwood tree we saw on our vacation to Forks and La Push in April 2010. My husband and I were also in La Push the previous April 2009 and it wasn’t there. We’re always astonished about the changing shorelines every time we go back. We go again in October and things will be different because of the driftwood.

  16. Trees like that are not uncommon at LaPush. I’ve been going there since 1951. And yes they can and do wash up in storms. A few years back a storm destroyed half a parking lot at Rialto Beach, across the Quileute River from LaPush, and you couldn’t tell it had ever been there except for the pieces of asphalt with parking lines on them that were strewn among the rocks and trees.

  17. awesome man

  18. Vanessa Nekuda says:

    I’ve taken pictures with that very tree! I love La Push

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