North Olympic Coast
High Point: 100'
Season: All Year
DirectionsTake Hwy 101 North From Aberdeen WA or 101 South from Port Angeles to Forks. At Forks take La Push Rd west toward La Push. Follow signs to Mora and Rialto Beach where there is a parking area adjacent to Rialto Beach.
This is a great hike year round if you can handle the rain. We were extremely fortunate in that we did this one in early March expecting rain the whole trip, and instead we got two beautiful sunny days.
This hike can be done from Rialto Beach on the south or Sand Point from the north. There is a 17 mile strech of isolated beach of which we did about half. We started from Rialto beach and hiked 8.5 miles up the coast to Cedar Creek.
Rialto Beach is a long strech of gravel beach with some spectacularly large chuncks of driftwood and some great views. The beach continues on for about a mile and a half until you hit Hole in the Wall, a rock arch passable at low tide with an overland trail which can be used at high tide. From Hole in the wall starts a strech of another 2.5 miles of short beaches seperated by headlands only passable at low tide. The rocky heads can be difficult to traverse even when the tide is low so caution is definitely in order. We camped at Chilean Memorial, located just south of Cape Johnson, where there is a pit toilet and two tent sites. The following day we traveled another 6 miles up the coast. After rounding Cape Johnson at low tide we hit a strech of several longer beaches with some great rocks and some really spectacular wildlife viewing. In all we counted some 30 bald eagles as well as a sea otter and several other types of birds. We continued up to Cedar Creek before turning around in order to beat Low tide back around Cape Johnson. At this point we packed up camp and raced the tides out again.
This is a great hike that I would recommend to anyone. It does take a bit of planning though as far as tide table and map showing the heads and at what tide level they are passable. Also as it is in Olympic National Park a permit is required as is a bear cannister if you are going overnight.