Priest Point Park

Priest Point Beach

Size

314 Acres

Location

2600 East Bay Drive NE

Park Features

  • Picnic Areas
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnic Shelters (Rental information)
  • Nature Trails
  • Beach Access
  • Playground
  • Basketball
  • Restrooms

Park Accessibility

Due to the park's steep ravines, cliffs and streams, the trail system includes trail sections that exceed 10%, steps and boardwalks.  The most accessible shelter is Shelter #1 which has paved parking and an accessible route to the restroom.  The playground, adjacent parking and restroom are fully accessible.  The playship is on rubber surfacing and is accessible by a ramp.

Ellis Cove Trail

At the heart of this 314-acre regional nature park is one mile of saltwater shoreline. Ellis Cove is tucked away inside the park and the Ellis Cove Trail further enhances access to more parkland and the views of downtown Olympia and State Capitol buildings.

Park History

The land upon which Priest Point Park sits has been used for generations by the Indigenous peoples of our region, which include the Squaxin, Nisqually, Quinault, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, and Duwamish. We thank them for the use of the land upon which our parks are established.

Priest Point Park is named for a small group of Catholic missionaries, the Oblate Fathers, who came to the area in 1848. They cleared the land, planted a large garden, built a chapel, and established the St. Joseph d’Olympia mission. The Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, and Snoqualmie tribes used the mission as a trading center during this time.

The mission closed in 1860 and the property lay idle for many years. A legal battle ensued as to who held claim to the land, before it was eventually resolved and a group of land investors deeded the land to the City of Olympia for $1,200 in 1905. A committee led by Elias Payn, Charle Eaton, and Theodore Brown was instrumental in securing the land. In 1916, they were also successful in acquiring the tidelands along Ellis Cove in a deed swap with the State of Washington. Leopold Schmidt then donated both structures and funds to benefit the park.

Today, this 314 acre park is the ideal spot to experience the natural beauty of the northwest. With over four miles of hiking trails, nearly two miles of saltwater shoreline, a playground, and both small and large picnic shelters, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Priest Point Park is also home to a wide variety of animals. Although not a comprehensive list, here is a listing of the animal species identified in Priest Point Park.

Park Improvements

In late 2018 or early 2019, parks staff will be replacing Shelter #2 on the west side of the park - it will be the same design as Shelter #4, which is near the playground. During Spring 2019 the parking area in front of Shelter #2 will be repaved. This project is being funded through our Capital Asset Management Program (CAMP).

Restroom #2 (just across the bridge on the west side of the park) is set to undergo renovations in early 2019. Improvements include the creation of two ADA accessible stalls, ADA parking in front of the restroom, a new roof, new plumbing, and new electrical. The goal is to have the restroom complete before Summer 2019.