Portage Beach is a quiet, protected campsite nestled among nootka rose and hawthorne trees. Watch the current change in Portage Canal or walk the hiking trails along the shore. A good alternative to Kinney Point or Oak Bay when the winds are blowing from the southeast.
Location: Eastern shore of Portage Canal, south of the bridge, on Indian Island
Hazards: Fast currents and dangerous conditions develop in the narrow and busy Portage Canal. Use caution, prudence, and plan with the tidal currents
Sanitation: Portable toilet in parking lot
Overflow: Clearing above campsite
Fires: No fires allowed
Extras: Enjoy two miles of walking paths. A picnic shelter with a fire place is by the parking lot.
Special Considerations: Bear occasionally visit the park at night, store food, toiletries and trash appropriately. The only legal landing sites on Indian Island are in Indian Island Park. The bulk of Indian Island is managed by the U.S. Navy as an ammunition depot and boaters are prohibited within 200 feet of its shoreline.
Natural History: In the days of sailing ships, both Port Townsend and Port Hadlock were destination ports for large ocean-going vessels. These ships exchanged cargos with smaller packet ships that serviced Puget Sound communities. Initially packet ships had to traverse Admiralty Inlet to reach the lower Sound, so the Corps of Engineers dug the Portage Canal to provide a shorter and safer route connecting Port Townsend Bay and Oak Bay. In 1951 the Portage Canal Bridge was built connecting Indian Island to the mainland. Today the Portage Canal Bridge is a Washington State Heritage Structure. The uplands and tidelands which lay between the Bridge and Marrowstone and between the highway and the water form Jefferson Countyâ€™s Indian Island Park.