Olympic National Park Beaches: Descriptions and photos of the spectacular beaches in the Olympic National Park, with extra resources to help you enjoy them.
Most of the Pacific Ocean beaches of Washington's Olympic Peninsula are actually a part of the Olympic National Park.
From Shi Shi Beach near the Makah Indian Reservation south to the Kalaloch beaches, this length of shoreline contains some
of the most dramatic beaches to be found on the entire west coast.
The Shi Shi Beach trailhead is located in the Makah Indian Reservation near Neah Bay WA. To hike, park or camp on the rez requires a Makah Reservation Pass, available at many businesses in and around Neah Bay.
From the parking lot at the trailhead to Shi Shi Beach is an easy 2-mile trail through rain forest. Camping is allowed along this beach, though it can be crowded.
Nearby: Hobuck Beach on the Makah Indian Reservation
The road to the Shi Shi Beach trailhead passes Hobuck Beach which is within the Makah Indian Reservation. If you can secure a space at the Hobuck Beach Resort, an overnight stay could enhance your enjoyment of this isolated and beautiful stretch of beach.
Hobuck Beach Resort:
2726 Makah Passage, Makah Indian Reservation, Neah Bay, WA
Cities Near Shi Shi Beach:
The northern reaches of the Olympic National Park beaches offer some of the most inaccessible terrain within the Park's shoreline.
This includes the regions around Ozette and Ozette Lake.
From Highway 112, take Hoko-Ozette Road south.
Camping and boating are available around the Lake at the Ozette Ranger Station and campground, and at Swan Bay on Ozette Lake.
Cape Alava and Sand Point
3 mile (one way) trails from Ozette Lake, one leading to Cape Alava and the other to Sand Point, connect via a 3-mile beach hike, making a 9 mile round trip hike.
Make this a day hike, or camp out on the beach.
On our hike, we encountered clouds of sea birds. Not counting the throngs of seagulls, these included bald eagles, cranes, harlequin ducks and hooded mergansers (pictured).
Cities Near Ozette Beaches:
The wide and full-flowing Quillayute River separates Rialto Beach from La Push and the beaches to the south: First, Second, and Third Beaches, and the Olympic National Park beaches and points north of the Hoh River.
Rialto Beach and the Mora Ranger Station are situated on the north bank of the Quillayute River.
Take Highway 101 to Hwy 110 (La Push Road) heading west. After 6-7 miles, take Mora Road which forks to the right, all the way to Rialto Beach, where you'll find an ample parking lot within a stone's throw of the beach.
Hike north (away from the cluster of sea stacks pictured above) up the beach 2 miles to the Hole-in-the-Wall, with its many scenic stacks and one of the best places within the Olympic National Park for tide pools. If you make this trek during low tide, you can marvel at the creatures in the tidepools by the Hole in the Wall.
Keep an eye on the tides but don't forget to watch for whales, otters and other critters. Absorb the view of sea-stacks, James and Little James Islands, and Gunsight Rock.
Make the outing a day hike, or camp on the beach or in the Mora Campground.
First Beach, and Second & Third Beaches, are located on the south side of the Quillayute River, accessed from Forks or Highway 101 by taking Highway 110 (La Push Road) to La Push.
First Beach is in the town of La Push, Washington, on the Quileute Indian Reservation. (Pictured above.) This is an excellent walking beach that is accessible by car.
Lodging is available at the excellent Quileute Oceanside Resort which fronts First beach in La Push, and also in nearby Forks.
Second Beach is located south of First Beach, within the Olympic National Park. If you arrive at First Beach, you will have passed the trailheads to both Second and Third Beaches.
Get to the beach via a 0.7 mile moderate hike to the shore from the trailhead at Highway 110 (La Push Road) - well marked.
When you get to Second Beach, you'll find wonderful hard-sand beach to the south. Tide pools (at low tide) are to the north.
Third Beach is yet another sandy crescent accessed by a 1.5-mile easy (though longer than the hike to Second Beach) hiking trail. The Third Beach trailhead is on La Push Road (Hwy 110), close to La Push WA.
Allow time to make the hike to the beach, and time to stroll the beach. Ideally you'll pack some food and stay awhile, because this is a truly magnificent beach.
Camping is permitted on the beach.
Third Beach is my current favorite in the La Push area.
Cities Near the beaches surrounding La Push WA:
Ruby Beach is located on Highway 101 as the highway meets the Pacific Ocean south of the Hoh River.
Ruby Beach is so named for the relatively high concentration of granular garnets in the sand. In the right light, they say, the sand glows pinkish.
Ruby Beach is characterized by some as the most photogenic beach on the Washington shoreline. It's a hard call in my book - from Ozette to South Beach, each offers its own magic.
If you can, plan your visit to Ruby Beach at low tide, so you can cross Cedar Creek, which drains into the Pacific Ocean between the trail and the stretch of beach with all the sea stacks. (Or roll up the pants and hoof it barefoot.)
Cities near Ruby Beach:
The entire 15-mile stretch of sandy beach from Ruby Beach south to South Beach at the southern point of the Olympic National Park is actually considered to be Kalaloch Beach, with multiple access points.
Several of these access points are unimaginatively named using consecutive numbering, for example, Beach 1, 2, 3, 4.
All of these Olympic National Park beaches - Ruby Beach, Beach 4, Beach 3, Kalaloch Beach, Beach 2, Beach 1, and South Beach - are easily accessible, expansive, and sandy, with interesting tide pools, wildlife, birdwatching, sea stacks, spectacular sunsets, and storm watching if the weather obliges (and it just might, the whole area being rainforest).
Enjoy day use or overnight camping on the beach, camp at Kalaloch Campground, or lodge in style at Kalaloch Lodge.
Approximately 4 miles south of Ruby Beach on Highway 101 are the Kalaloch Beach access points known as Beach 4 and Beach 3. The turn-offs for both are well marked.
Beach 4 is known for excellent tide pools.
There are no facilities at these beaches.
Kalaloch Beach is roughly 2 miles past the turn-off for Beach 3 on Highway 101 in the southern stretch of Olympic National Park beaches.
As pictured above, smooth sandy beaches, save for the driftwood that litter them, stretch for miles in either direction. "Kalaloch," pronounced KLAY'-lock, means "good place to land" in the local Quinault tongue.
Besides being a spectacular beach for walking, beachcombing, and marine life viewing, Kalaloch Lodge is right there, which is part of Olympic National Park Lodging facilities. Additionally, the Creekside Restaurant serves excellent meals, including lunches to go.
Beach 2, Beach 1, and South Beach
Beach 2, Beach 1, and South Beach are 1-, 2-, and 3 miles south of Kalaloch Beach, at the southern tip of the Olympic National Park shoreline. The hike to the beach is in each case very short, and well-marked at Highway 101.
Cities Near Kalaloch Beaches:
Take a hike and take your time. Look up through the lush forest canopy above your head, study the understory of ferns, moss, and various trees; they have a story to tell. Stop and listen, feel the punctuation as the waves crash against the sea stacks and then roll to shore.
Breathe; inhale deeply the perfect mixture of piney-briny air.
Along all the Olympic National Park beaches are numerous opportunities for beach camping, walking, and hiking; with wildlife, bird and whale watching. (Whale migration times are March/April and October.)
Be sure to take a topographic map with you if you plan extensive hikes, as some areas are more easily accessible than others. Some offer passage during high tide, others do not. If you're not careful, it is possible to get caught or stranded by a high tide.
Check the following websites for good resources with up-to-date information regarding hiking/camping tips and requirements, wilderness permits, tide charts and more: