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Olympic Coast Shi Shi to Rialto Beach


GHSMITH76
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This trip was a 33 mile point to point which requires dealing with a car shuttle. My buddies borrowed bear canisters at the Quinault Forest Ranger Station which was sort of on the way to the Rialto Beach car drop. Parking at Rialto is all part of the Olympic National Park services, parking at Shi Shi requires a nightly fee paid to one of the local private parking options. And then there is the 2 hour drive between the trailheads. So on Monday, August 1st, all worked out to get us on the trail in time to knock off about 4 miles and set up camp at the south end of Shi Shi beach.

This week brought us the lowest and highest tides of the season but unfortunately the low tide for Tuesday was at 6:06 and we needed to get past a number of difficult passages beginning with Point of the Arches. Based on the map and information from other trip reports I concluded that Tuesday was going to be our most difficult, and it was. The combination of rocky low tide only passages, rope climbing to get to inland passages and dangerous boulder hopping, we all agreed that this stretch from Point of the Arches to North of the Ozette River was the most challenging.

Wednesday morning we were again forced to get on the trail early to wade across the Ozette River and pass a number of low tide points as we round Cape Alava. We were treated to a sunny day with more easy beach walking then boulder hopping which we utilized to recharge our tired bodies. Our campsite on the Sand Point beach allowed for a serious beach campfire to watch the sun fall into the ocean. We actually had cellular access at the point although very limited.

The next day took us past Yellow Banks and Norwegian Memorial to camp at Cedar Creek. Another beautiful day of hiking with plenty of amazing scenery, but plenty of difficult footing. It was also a day of fog rolling in out of nowhere and then burning off. The Cedar Creek campsite turned out to be very nice with the added uniqueness of a fully exposed Privy with an ocean view. By now on our trip we had sustained some injuries, one in our party did injure his shoulder on a fall but nothing serious enough to hold us up. But I would like to emphasize that coastal hiking is not all perfect beaches.

The final night’s campsite between Chilean Memorial and Hole-In-The-Wall was again awesome sleeping on the sandy beach. We never really had any great sunsets but we had plenty of sun silhouettes. Plus we typically had amazing tide pools to explore every night. 

The final hike out took us past Hole-In-The-Wall and Split Rock. Overall the trip was another Epic adventure for old guy backpackers. I wish that it was more remote, but it is good that day hikers do have access. I highly recommend downloading the Olympic National Park GPS PDF Map to use with your cell phone app such as Avenza. If you want a great coastal backpacking experience the Olympic Coast is a great option, but the ultimate coastal trip would still be the West Coast Trail.

You can access the full Trip report at my Blog

Last Campsite View.jpg

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Great pictures and good report. I've had an Olympic coast trip in the back of my head for a couple years, waiting for the kids to get a little older.

thanks

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