Overview of Sunrise Beach Park

Sunrise Beach Park

Washington
USA West

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This site has it all! Well, almost-- no wrecks, no Whale Sharks-- but if you are looking for interesting marine life, this is the place. With a creviced wall at about 30 to 60 feet deep and 100 feet long, you'll spend most of your time exploring the nooks and crannies. Wolf Eels and Octopus are the highlights. Bring two tanks, and plan to spend the day in the area-- but not the night, as the gates are locked at dusk. If you aren't familiar with using the tide tables, don't dive this site-- the current can surprise you!

Directions: Found in Gig Harbor, about 6 miles NW of Tacoma. Take either exit of Highway 16 to get to Gig Harbor, and wind your way around to the North part of the harbor. You'll find yourself on Peacock Hill Ave NW. Make a right on 96th Street NW, then a left on Crescent Valley Drive. In less than a mile, turn right onto Hallstrom Dr. NW and follow the signs down to the park. Remember the landmarks going down, as you won't find "Gig Harbor: This Way" signs coming back up!


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

10/27/2006 Chris S (Avg: 3.75 Review) - This is the best dive in the South Puget Sound area. Lots of marine life. Watch out for currents, as they have killed divers. Wolf Eels & Octopus abound! The aerial pic on this site is wrong. Here is the correct view: http://apps.ecy.wa.gov/shorephotos/scripts/bigphoto.asp?id=PIE0520

11/25/2005 John from Gig Harbor (Avg: 4.20 Review) - This is such a great dive that charter diving boats come up from Tacoma. I see them from my cabin every weekend. The walk down is tough, but it keeps the weak hearted away so the site is uncrowded. Wolf eels are guaranteed if you cover the whole wall. See you on the beach!

05/04/2005 Stacey (Avg: 3.70 Review) - This is a fantastic dive! Lots of people refuse to dive it from shore because of the long walk down the hill, but it is WAY worth it! There are tons of eels on this dive, and they are nearly all friendly - and love the tasty urchins that are everywhere. There is even a baby eel that has been taking food lately. Make sure to time this one right - currents are dangerous if you get them wrong. I've found it is ideal 1 1/2 hrs before slack on a minimal exchange. Beautiful dive.

01/25/2005 Robert Barreiros (Avg: 4.06 Review) - Robbie and I did this dive after a weekend at Hoodsport,WA. Without a doubt our best dive yet. Lots of marine life. If you do this dive, observe the tide tables and bring a good light. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore. And, as for the walk to the beach, It's not that bad, but be sure and respect the private property. We would hate to see it posted because of foolishness. Happy & Safe Diving. Bob & Rob Barreiros,Corvallis,Montana

02/09/2004 Dave E Janca (Avg: 4.06 Review) - On check of hike down to entry, water was bone cold and clear (I love that). First dive with underwater camera. Managed to take some awesome photos. Photos of Ling cod, Surf Perch, Octopi. No Wolf Eel's this dive, my dive buddies found them but not me. (#&$@@) Definitely a go back and do again. Watch the tides though, they can really toss you around -- best to go at slack tide / 2' exchange.

09/02/2003 Kevlar (Avg: 4.10 Review) - My wife, father-in-law and I took the hike down to this site for our first time on 9/1/2003. We didn't have any kind of cart for our gear and it was quite taxing getting to and from the site. We were fairly nervous getting into the water because of all the warnings about the current. I strongly suggest you get there early in case it takes longer than you expect to get in the water. You don't want to miss slack tide. Anyhow, when we got in the water, we had the best visibility we have ever seen in the Pacific Northwest. There was more life on this dive than I've seen in a lot of dives combined. We didn't get to see any of the octopi that are supposed to be there, but there were several Wolf Eels and an abundance of other sea critters. Be very careful and enjoy an excellent dive!

02/12/2003 Mark Schneider (Avg: 3.90 Review) - This was the best shore dive my son and I have made so far. Take the warnings about current very seriously. The hike down is a bit long and access is near private property. Remember the property line is at the lowest low tide mark so walking in 2 feet of water can irritate the locals. Find a lone piling just south of the entry point and head due east from there. That will lead you to the south end of the wall. We saw over a dozen wolf eels, 4 octopus and a rich population of many other types of NW sea creatures. A bit more work than some dives but if the conditions are good you will be rewarded.

01/12/2003 Cliff Ells (Avg: 4.14 Review) - Easily one of the best shore dive sites in Puget Sound to see large amounts of interesting sea life and interact. For shore dives, there is a fairly large hill to hike down/up, and the ledge to explore is 150 yards north of the entry point. You must wade/snorkel along shore (beach is private property) to reach it. Otherwise, enter the water, descend the slope to about 40 feet and swim the contour north for 10-12 minutes to reach it. There is minimal to no slack on ebb tides making this dive risky at low tides, Sunrise has prolonged slack times during flood tides. Flood slack equalizes about 40 minutes before the indicated slack at the Narrows. Be careful here, the exchanges tend to push you downward and outward. Best times to dive are before high slacks with minimum exchanges. Look for sea urchins when beginning your dive, you can get SEVERAL wolf eels out and wrapped around you begging for food with a little effort!

10/22/2002 Michelle K (Avg: 4.04 Review) - This is an amazing dive!! It is best if you go by boat and anchor just off shore. There is a buoy that marks the reef. You can find huge octopus, wolf eel, shells, ling cod, and tons of fish.

07/09/2002 Rob Edmondson (Avg: 4.69 Review) - People dive this site once and they end up coming back over and over again, this site is awesome for anyone who loves the wolf eel and octopus. The only place I've seen giant octopus out of their dens is here. The wolf eel are very friendly as well because divers often feed them while diving so they'll swim right up to your mask. Sudden moves aren't recommended around them though. This is a great dive for beginners or experts, if you time your dive right. This place really reminds me of Octopus Hole except this place has a whole lot more places for things to hide. I've also found for some reason that I see a lot more octopi at this site in the summer then in the winter, although maybe they're just hiding better in the winter.

05/03/2002 CT (Avg: 3.16 Review) - This is a great dive. Perhaps the best shore dive in Southern Puget Sound. If it's in the Sound you can see it here. The entry from shore is a very long hike and worse going back up the hill. Go with someone familiar with the site until you learn to time the tides and current. The current here can be dangerous.

03/29/2002 Max (Avg: 3.64 Review) - This site rocks! But dive it at slack only.

12/07/2001 Craig Gillespie (Avg: 4.29 Review) - This continues to be one of my favorite dives of all time. Time your dive to the currents and dive south of the entry point. Take your time and search the reef. You can be nearly guaranteed to see Giant Octo. and Wolf Eels.

11/29/2001 Don Shingler (Avg: 3.48 Review) - The main thing to remember, DIVE DURING SLACK! There is no other way to dive this site. If done during slack, this is a FANTASTIC dive. With some luck, you will find more wolf eels and octos here on one dive then any other location. There have even been some six-gill sightings here before. Be sure to walk in the water as you make you way to the point. This is private land (from water line up). Please be respectful of the locals. Also, save some energy for the hike back up. It is a killer after a dive.

11/12/2001 Brad Congdon (Avg: 3.85 Review) - I've dove this site over 100 times in all seasons over the last 5 years. As its popularity has increased, the life and diversity have taken a hit, but it's still a great shore dive. Know the tide tables and follow them. Downdrafts can be strong. I was here once when a diver missed slack and drowned in strong currents.


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Site Photos

Maps
(what is GPS?)
Photo
(click photo for a larger version)
Comments
Parking

 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1701
N4720.9531'
W12233.3572'

 

Parking at Sunrise Beach Park 

A small gravel lot has plenty of parking for this seldom-used park.

Trail Head

 

 

Trail Head at Sunrise Beach Park 

This is the start of a 200 yard hike down to the water. Use a tank cart, especially for the hike back up!

Trail Head

 

 

Trail Head at Sunrise Beach Park 

This is the picnic area along the trail to the water.

Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1704
N4720.9735'
W12233.4316'

 

Entry at Sunrise Beach Park 

The logs are well-placed for setting up gear, and the entry is gravel.

Aerial

 

 

Aerial at Sunrise Beach Park 
(click photo for details)

With the entry to the right (North), and the wall to the left, you'll have about 100 yard swim to make it to the wall. Sorry, no walking through the private property. The wall is relatively easy to miss, so plan on going with a friend or a guide who has been there before.

Last Verification: July, 2001  

 

Diver Averages for  Sunrise Beach Park  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.33
Bottom Conditions:  4.33
Reef Conditions:  4.40
Animal Life:  5.00
Plant Life:  4.00
Facilities:  2.87
Solitude 3.33
Roads:  3.20
*Site Average:  3.94
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.13
Beginner Scuba:  2.40
Intermediate Scuba:  4.13
Advanced Scuba:  4.67
Night diving Scuba:  3.53

Number of reviews for this site: 15

237-4-1-17


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