Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula - 2nd Edition
by Craig Romano (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2016 Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Absolutely amazing! This hike has everything. A waterfall, rope climbing, forest, beach. I was in heaven.
Great hiking along a wild beach and through old growth forest. Give yourself extra time for exploring the endless tidal pools. Make sure you hike with a tidal chart. The best display of stars I have ever seen.
I've done this trail twice, in March 2000 and August 2002. The winter hike was an epic thru hike from Third Beach all the way to Oil City. Two buddies were with me and we left a pickup car at the Oil City trailhead. Left Third Beach on Saturday and camped at Toleak Point. Bring a water filter and fill up. Not many water sources in 17 miles Do not miss the view from the pit toilet south of Toleak Point. Ancient lava/mud flows, sea stacks, pure sand beaches to explore all over. Second day was cold and rainy. I like the mixture of beach hikes and then climbing up the rope ladders to the rain forest trails. One river ford and one creek crossing before camping out the second night. Rain, hail and snow that night. Prepare for all types of weather on this trail in winter. Final day included a slimy bouldering over the incoming tide or else it was a long wait until low tide. Bowling ball size rocky beaches made me wish for trekking poles to help pick my route thru the ankle biting terrain. Made it to the Hoh river and the drift wood piles. Awesome. Took my wife back to show her Toleak Point in August 2002. The 6.5 miles hike was my wife's first backback. Total lovefest with nature in view. Lazy Blue herons to watch til the sun sets on the Pacific Ocean. The trails are wet year round. Be prepared. Third beach trailhead parking is supercrowded, but most people only go down to the Third beach and camp. If you go south to the first rope ladder climb, the crowds thin out by then. Be careful by the waterfall overlook and if you are going to take the low tide shortcuts around the rocky points, you have to time it just right or you will slosh through the tidepools. Best beach hike in Olympic Park, could be the best beach hike in Washington state. Go for it!
This trip consisted of three friends, my 10 year old daughter and myself. We hit the trail early on Saturday, this was to be able to clear Giants Graveyard before the tide came in. The weather was cool...but not a cloud in the sky!! This presented views that took the breath away. The trail on the beach was great and quite easy. Coming from the north and heading south, each time we went inland it required climbing large cable ladders and trails with large and in some cases thick mud. We stopped the first night at Toleak Point. It was fantastic!! Be cautious of the tide line so camp doesn't get washed away on high tide in the middle of the night. The climb the next morning took us through mud trails like the day previous, however, it gave the additional challenge of two water crossings. Not difficult...but definitely cold. The ladder back down the beach is missing several rungs at the bottom, which makes the final few steps a challenge. There is also another water crossing at Mosquito Creek. This was the most difficult leg. The trail moves up and down and is extremely muddy in places. There were also a few places where the trail had washed out. Crews had only cut new routes and so the trail is less defined, but is found fairly easily. The ladders at the end of this leg are the longest and after the previous leg the most demanding. We had to wait once we got done for the tide to go out. We did have to do a bit of bouldering to make our way around the point to make our way up the Hoh. The trail is not as cleary marked and a good map is a must. You will see a marker indicating (about 3/4 mile up the river) the trail to the trail head. Overall it was a great trip and my 10 year old daughter did a job. However, if taking kids...make sure they are up to 17 miles and have lots of energy foods.
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