Shi Shi Beach Trail

Makah Indian Reservation, Washington

Elevation Gain491ft
Trailhead Elevation58ft
Elevation Min/Max32/213ft
Elevation Start/End58/58ft

Shi Shi Beach Trail

Shi Beach Trail is a hiking trail in Makah Indian Reservation, Washington. It is two miles long and begins at 58 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 491 feet. Near the trailhead there are parking and restrooms. Along the trail there is a scrub. This trail connects with the following: Shi Shi to Ozette River Beach Travelway.

Shi Shi Beach Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A 4.4- to 10.4-mile round-trip day hike or short backpack from the Makah Reservation to the northernmost beach in Olympic National Park."

"This trail was rebuilt to offer access for day hikers to Shi Shi Beach, one of the more striking areas on the Olympic coastline. The good news is that access to this beach is now fast and easy; the bad news is that Shi Shi Beach, once a secluded destination for backcountry beach hikers, has turned into a somewhat busy day-hike destination, spoiling the remoteness once found here."

"With ideal conditions—sunny skies and a minus tide (an unusually low tide)—there probably isn’t a more spectacular coastal hiking destination in the United States than Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches. This outstanding trip combines a glorious strip of sand—which despite, or perhaps because of, its remoteness has previously been designated the nation’s best nature beach by the Travel Channel— and one of the most impressive collections of rock pinnacles and sea arches in the world.

Wildlife, especially birds, is abundant, which explains why all of the countless offshore rocks in this area are protected in the Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. Add to this the fine tidepooling and surprising solitude, and you have a real winner. The main drawback for this stretch of paradise is a sometimes very muddy trail, so leave the tennis shoes in the car and be prepared for mud-splattered pants and boots."

"Revered throughout the ages, Shi Shi has its disciples. Many have indelible memories of this magical place—from First Peoples to first-time visitors, naturalists, bird-watchers, hard-core hikers, beach bums, conservationists, and just plain ordinary folk. And Point of the Arches, an assortment of sea stacks extending into the sea, is simply sublime.

The first mile winds through pockets of mature Sitka spruces and rain-saturated bogs via cedar-planked boardwalks and bridges. The new trail then intersects the old road trail and you must negotiate 0.5 mile of epic mud (hold onto small children).

Dogs are prohibited."

"Children will enjoy a delightful secluded and scenic sandy ocean beach which curves out to the Point of Arches, offering wooded campsites during storms and high tides and beach camping for the fearless at Petroleum and Willoughby creeks. The access over Makah Nation land has been in question for years but is now available if one pays to park and avoid vandalism. Beachcombing along this beach is superb.

Fishing net floats and all manner of flotsam and jetsam can be collected by children with sharp eyes. At low tide, there are tide pools and rock arches to explore. The hike out to the Point should not be attempted with small children or without a tide table."

"Revered throughout the ages, Shi Shi has its disciples—from Native Americans to ?rst-time visitors, naturalists, bird-watchers, hardcore hikers, beach bums, conservationists, and just plain ordinary folk. Shi Shi, one of the last additions to Olympic National Park, has left an indelible mark in the hearts and memories of many. Shi Shi’s inclusion in the park in 1976 was met with a fair amount of resistance from adjoining landowners, land developers, and beach squatters.

For years, the trail remained closed in a land access dispute. But after much wrangling and negotiating, the Park Service and contesting landowners broke the impasse. The Makah Tribe developed a new trailhead and built a nice new trail to the beach—but unfortunately it’s not complete, so still expect to encounter Shi Shi’s legendary mud holes."

"After crashing through forest on a muddy road, you’ll descend to a long, sandy beach. At the far end, some of the most spectacular arches, sea stacks, and tide pools on Washington’s wild coastline protrude 0.5 mile into the Pacific Ocean. Try to get there at low tide—the tide pools are amazing."

Shi Shi Beach Trail Reviews

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When you account for all of the ups and downs, it's at least 500' elevation gain, and that does not include the 200' vertical drop that you have travel to get from the trail to the beach. So where the author came up with 50' is a complete mystery. Previous reviews did not do justice: THE MUD IS HORRIBLE for over a solid mile. My wife and I are avid hikers and we consider this one of the most strenuous trails we've ever hiked.
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Shi Shi Beach is an out and back trail that leads from the Makah Nation Parking area to a beach on the Pacific Coast in the Olympic National Park. The trail is not challenging but passes thru many different types of forest land. It follows a rough logging road for a good part of its final length before entering the National Park. This section can be muddy but look for higher ground with single track trails around the mud. The final descent to the beach is the only portion of the trail to present any elevation change and is only a couple hundred feet. Once on the beach you will be rewarded with some dramatic rock formations that you can only glimpse through the trees from the trail. There are no facilities once you leave the parking lot and no amenities at the beach at all. Don’t expect to be alone on the trail. Hikers, surfers, backpackers and even families with strollers will share the trail with you.
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The Pacific ocean beach, sea stacks, tide pools, wildlife, not sure there is a lot more you can ask for. Absolutely amazing place that I would recommend to anyone.
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Wow, what a spectacular area! We started from the Makah Indian Reservation and parked in one of the three private parking areas even though we only day-hiked, added an extra mile to the hike each way. The first mile of the trail is easy walking on boardwalk, but the next two miles were VERY muddy (reccomend wearing hiking boots). You can avoid most of the mud by walking around or well placed steps, but sometimes need to just get your shoes muddy. The trail is mostly level with the exception of the last 200 yards or so that is the steep descent onto the beach, but definitely doable and worth it!! One of the most beautiful beaches that I've seen in Washington. Bring your camera...
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Very very nice, but rains a lot. The only stream water in this area is brown (cedar water) so bring a good filter. If your filter pumps out brown water it was not that great but the water will still be drinkable. Beach is beautiful, and very nice campsites. The Northern enterance is now open with a new trail, an in addition has free daytime parking. If parking overnight pay $10 to the locals to park in their yard.
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Trail is muddy first 2 miles. Forest hiking. Just before descending to beach, step off the trail for amazing ocean veiw. Sunlight beams through clouds, you will get religious if you catch before sundown. Enter cave of trees at sea level.Good camping spot at shi Shi.Continue south to Arches. All sand walk. Very few camp sites at Arches.Drop back pack and GO TO THE TIDE POOLS. GORGEOUS! Our 9 year old stopped whinning and started with the (whoa! look at this! Ohh!look at this!) Go exploring. Abundant starfish, rock crab, sea slug (colorful)sea eninemies. Awesome. The weather is rarely good. Bring long johns and rain gear. Well worth the drizzle we had. Kids will love it if they can make it. Last two miles are like pushing a POW on a long road march.

Shi Shi Beach Trail Photos

Trail Information

Makah Indian Reservation
Nearby City
Skill Level
Camping, Birding
Additional Use
Olympic National Park Forks Office, 551 S. Forks Ave. (US 101); (360) 3747566;
Local Contacts
Green Trails no. 98S, Cape Flattery; Green Trails Custom Correct North Olympic Coast
Local Maps