Puget Sound: North: Port Gamble Bay: Anchorage and Ashore


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Port Gamble Bay and the town of Port Gamble, although a historic and interesting place, is not a popular boating destination because of its lack of a marina or other pleasure boating-related shore facility. The town is the location of the late Pope & Talbot Sawmill, recently closed, and a number of historic old homes, a number of shops, and a somber old graveyard.

For more information you can consult "A Cruising Guide to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands" by Migael M. Scherer, 1995.


Northern part of Puget Sound on the east side of the entrance to Hood Canal. The entrance to the bay is just on the opposite (east) side of the headland that provides the eastern landing of the Hood Canal Bridge.


There is only one approach to the bay, via a dredged channel that used to serve the working tugs and their log rafts. There is a lighted range that should be followed pretty closely. The dolphin markers on the east side of the channel are not parallel to the dredged path and should not be used to stay in the channel. The shallowest part of the inlet is accessible to our 6' 6" draft even at lower tides, if you stay in the channel.


Port Gamble website

I have anchored here once, at the NW corner of the bay, over the Labor Day weekend in 2006. Anchoring is good in (smelly) mud. The town of Port Gamble is on the headland at the northwest "corner" of the bay.

The bay sometimes takes the overflow from Port Ludlow, which is the nearest boating facility and protected anchorage, north of the Hood Canal Bridge. The bay is fairly open from the south but the NW and W headlands are pretty good protection from NW and W breezes.

Getting ashore is via dinghy and is best done at higher tides because of the reefs and rocks that line the NW shoreline. Worse yet, for any dink, are the lovely(?) oysters, whose shells and decorative barnacles are a grounding hazard.

Once you are ashore, you must walk a rough path north through the old mill grounds where an active recycling business operates. Officially, you are trespassing, but the townsfolk welcome boating visitors. Stay out of the way of the heavy machinery and you should be fine.

The town has a general store with a gift shop, sandwich and ice cream counter, and a sealife museum. There are several historic homes to the south along the street where the store is located. This past labor Day there was a classic and antique car show, with great participation (rows and rows of vehicles), and a superb food aisle and craft show.

The graveyard is up the hill to the west of the general store. It contains the graves of many of the original settlers and some of their offspring. Sadly, and inevitably, there are several young children and newborns buried there.

See the website above for the current attractions and events at Port Gamble.


There is no marina, fuel, guest boat facility, or chandlery. There is no dinghy dock, but there is an industrial dock of questionable structural integrity at the neck of the entrance of the bay. If you have a motor on the dink, or a hankering to row that far, there is a small beach near there that may work for landing.

Recommend you land your dinghy carefully, and at as high a tide as possible to avoid reefs and rocks along the shoreline.

I am not affiliated with the town or any business or activity. I just have enjoyed visiting there occasionally by car and enjoyed visiting there by boat recently.
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