Olympic NP, Pacific Coast, Rialto Beach to Ozette River


Sep 12, 2014
I took this summer off to ride my motorcycle up to Alaska and do some backpacking along the way. I left in June, and after seeing some friends in the Seattle area i went to do some hiking on the Olympic Coast.

This was my best trip of the whole summer, which was a little bit of a bummer since it was the first. Every other hike fell a little short of how perfect every thing was on this one. Gorgeous sunsets every night, great weather, no rain, lots of new sights, good sense of isolation. No crowds. I loved it.

My girl friend's brother was living in Seattle then, and had a day off, so he came to spend some time at the coast with me before i started the actual backpack. We went and walked around Beach 2, and either 3 or 4 before he had to leave.

I still have my fingers crossed that too much is better than too little.

Hunter, Brittinei's brother, in the fog on the coast. It really was kind of ethereal. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 082.JPG

Barnacles on the roots of a long washed up stump. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 092.JPG
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Sea foam bubbles. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 106.JPG

Intact sand dollar. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 118.JPG

And Hunter again. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 163.JPG

Some sea birds. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 198.JPG

Anemones in a pool. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 200.JPG

I left Hunter in the after noon and rode the rest of the way up to Rialto Beach, across the Quillayute River from the small community of La Push. I got there with enough time left in the day to make it out near the Hole In The Wall and set up camp, about a mile and a half from the parking lot.

Here's looking at James Island across the mouth of the Quillayute River.
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Some sea stacks in the distance looking up Rialto Beach. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 240.JPG

Looking down the spit at the mouth of the Quillayute, James Island on the right, La Push on the left. I don't know if La Push has fire works every night, or just when i'm camped in sight of it, but this trip had fire works. Twice.2015-06-18 olympic coast 244.JPG

James Island. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 251.JPG

Looking out from Rialto Beach as the sun goes down.2015-06-18 olympic coast 257.JPG

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Some sea stacks. These ones were like four or five stories tall. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 312.JPG

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The next morning. Some times barnacles were in clusters like this. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 358.JPG

I'm not sure what these guys were. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 360.JPG

The Hole In The Wall. I walked right through it between tide pools. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 365.JPG

A marker for the overland route for when the tide is in and the Hole is flooded. Having a map and a current tide table is absolutely necessary for this trip. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 374.JPG

Sea star. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 379.JPG

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Anemone. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 393.JPG

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Looking back. James Island in the distance. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 402.JPG

A snail. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 415.JPG

An other arch where i stopped and ate lunch. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 468.JPG

Looking out from the first overland bypass, avoiding some impassable cliffs. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 490.JPG

The marker for that bypass.
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A washed up buoy. There were so many of these washed up here. And lots of rope also. And a pretty good amount of other trash, basically any thing that floated. Bottles, pallets, flip flops, a soccer ball, so much stuff. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 504.JPG

Looking back at the bypass. The tree left of the saddle is the one pictured above with the marker on it.
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An other sea stack. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 523.JPG

Looking down from one of the bypasses. I enjoyed these things. They were so simple, just a washed up rope tied off at the top of the climb. Made the whole thing doable.
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Found this just a little higher above the beach near a camp site. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 550.JPG

Wilson. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 552.JPG

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Looking at an other by pass. You can see a rope, and some boards that have mostly given way. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 555.JPG

View from the top. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 561.JPG

The Norwegian shipwreck memorial.
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The beach there, low tide. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 574.JPG

A ghostly colored slug. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 602.JPG

Near the Norwegian memorial. There are camp sites in the trees here. There is also an old abandoned trail that goes to Lake Ozette. It's very rough, and over grown, and gets lost some times. I walked out it for an hour without coming in sight of the lake before i turned around.2015-06-18 olympic coast 603.JPG

Later. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 605.JPG

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I was sitting around out side my tent and i heard the strangest noise, like a jackhammer rhythm. A sea otter was pounding open a shell on it's chest with a rock. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 627.JPG

The next day i continued up toward Cape Alava. I came across some whale bones. Vertebrae. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 651.JPG

Scapula, or shoulder blade. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 658.JPG

A fin. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 663.JPG

Vertebrae and ribs. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 666.JPG

And even the skull. You can see my shadow next to it. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 672.JPG

More buoys. I enjoyed the color. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 673.JPG

Crab. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 677.JPG

An indication of just how many buoys i saw. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 681.JPG
A rather old chain.
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One link has opened. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 689.JPG

Looking North. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 702.JPG

Looking back. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 711.JPG

One of the things i really enjoyed was the mixed hiking conditions. Some times open sand beaches, some times cobbles, some times boulders. Some times exposed rock like this.2015-06-18 olympic coast 713.JPG

An other tunnel to pass through. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 715.JPG

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Not uncommon to have the route look like this.2015-06-18 olympic coast 721.JPG

Or this. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 738.JPG

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I think this is a petroglyph near Wedding Rocks. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 773.JPG

Ozette Island. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 781.JPG

Bodelteh Islands. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 782.JPG

Camp night three, at Cape Alava. I walked a little beyond here trying to make it to Point of Arches, but had to turn around a little short to avoid walking in the dark. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 784.JPG

Tskawahyah Island, connected at low tide. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 795.JPG

Nice reflection in the wet sand. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 796.JPG

Bald eagle. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 805.JPG

Point of Arches is some of those distant stacks. The ridge running behind every thing is Vancouver Island. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 808.JPG

The Ozette River, an easy ford. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 810.JPG

Barnacles. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 818.JPG

Mussels. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 820.JPG

An other small island. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 831.JPG

An over land by pass. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 836.JPG

This was as far North as i made it before i had to turn back. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 843.JPG

I liked these boulders. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 870.JPG

On the way back to camp, some islands. The point on the left is just the other side of the Ozette River. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 876.JPG

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Looking down one of the by passes. Some were rather steep.
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The sun starts to go down as i'm walking back. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 896.JPG

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Vancouver Island on the horizon. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 914.JPG

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The next day i start retracing my steps back to the South. Tide's out. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 937.JPG

White Rock. That's actually it's name. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 938.JPG

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I got here just a little late for the tide, and had to do a little bit of hand and foot on the rock to traverse above the water. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 966.JPG

Looking back after making it past. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 973.JPG

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I finally found the deer that had been making all the prints. I actually saw three others, a doe with two fawns. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1009.JPG

Random metal relic. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1011.JPG

Less sand, more rocks. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1013.JPG

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An other reflection. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1041.JPG

More cliffy islands. They're all over the place. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1042.JPG

Hawk on a rock. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1044.JPG

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The sun starts to go down on night four. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1056.JPG

Late light. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1060.JPG

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After a final gorgeous sun set i camped on the North side of the Hole In The Rock this time. I skipped my planned camp site and walked may be 19 miles this day to be closer to out the next morning.2015-06-18 olympic coast 1095.JPG

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The marker for the parking lot. 2015-06-18 olympic coast 1107.JPG

Total mileage for the trip was about 53 miles over four nights.
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That color on night four was spectacular. That's a really cool-looking route.
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Great photos, looks like an awesome trip. Reminded me a lot of the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.
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very nice! Looks like a way fun route. Love that you didn't see many. You got a couple really great sunsets too. magic.
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You might feel like this is your best of the trip, however all of your TRs and pics never disappoint. I'd love to pack the peninsula. Thanks Ben!

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Great collection of pictures Ben. Awesome. Hope to check it out next year.
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Great shots @Ben , I particularly like the barnacles and the anemones. The whale vertebrae is really neat, something that I have never seen before. How big was it? Larger than your fist?

Did you rescue Wilson?

Great stuff as usual. Thanks for sharing.
the body of the vertebrae were about a foot in diameter. the skull might have been as much as three feet across. the ribs were probably not quite so tall as you or i. it was cool seeing all the bones there because it was some thing i had never expected.
Awesome Trip Report Ben! Being landlocked it is super cool to see the different environment. Thanks for sharing!
Being landlocked

this aspect really added to the trip for me. every single thing was so different. having to pay attention to the tides because at certain times i wouldn't be able to get past a headland was a bit of a trip. thanks Scott.
Amazing report Ben. Loved it. Something interesting and beautiful around every corner. You took really great pictures and told the story in a way where I felt like I was right there along with you. Thanks!
I lived in western Oregon for a year. Seeing your pictures brought back some memories. Great pics by the way. Really enjoyed looking at them.
Nice TR! We did Hole in the Wall a few years ago and you've reminded me how nice that trip to the Olympics was. It's also got me excited about my planned trip to Vancouver Island this spring! Thanks!
Very nice mister! What a great route. That was outside the ONP, correct? and in a Wildlfe Refuge. Did you need any permits?

I have never actually camped on the ocean shore. I may have to try this.

Great photos. You are getting good at this. Shooting in RAW yet?
i was within the park the entire time. it actually stretches quite ways along the coast. i got a backcountry permit from the Quinalt ranger station on my way out. upon arriving at Rialto Beach though i found it was possible to self issue permits for some non quota areas which surprised me. pretty awesome.
i was within the park the entire time. it actually stretches quite ways along the coast. i got a backcountry permit from the Quinalt ranger station on my way out. upon arriving at Rialto Beach though i found it was possible to self issue permits for some non quota areas which surprised me. pretty awesome.
Oh... It WAS in Olympic National Park. Interesting. Did you consider any way to make a loop out of it, cutting inland?
Oh... It WAS in Olympic National Park. Interesting. Did you consider any way to make a loop out of it, cutting inland?

i do not believe that such an option is realistic, with the exception of the Ozette Loop that utilizes two trails that hit the beach about three miles apart from each other, a very small loop. i walked it's beach section on this trip. it would be a good option to extend from, both directions along the beach, and repeat less ground. that's probably what i would do the next time i went back so i could see Point Of Arches.

the nature of the rain forest there makes off trail travel essentially impossible, and building and maintaining a trail quite difficult.
Love it - right up my alley! That's very impressive - 19 miles on the last day with pack and dealing with the tide, rocks and sand.
Thanks for sharing.
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