Shi Shi Beach is one of the most beautiful locations in the state, with a long desolate beach and stunning views of the ocean and the Point of the Arches rock features. It's a long drive (around 4 hours) from the major urban areas, but it is well worth it -- be sure to stay for at least two nights. While you're out there, check out the beautiful Cape Flattery
, and the history and culture of the Makah Nation
at Neah Bay.
To get to the trailhead drive through Neah Bay and follow signs for Cape Flattery. At approximately 2.5 miles, take a bridge on the left with a sign for Hobuck Beach, and follow the road past Hobuck Beach towards the Fish Hatchery. The trailhead will be on the right. The parking lot at the trailhead is for day use only.
The trail to Shi Shi Beach is fairly flat and, in the rainy season, it features what may be the finest mud you have ever encountered, and a mile or more of it. The beach is several miles long, and there is a group site at the southern end, replete with a pit toilet. The Washington Trails Association WWW page has a nice description
. You are allowed to have fires on the beach.
Your trip to Shi Shi Beach will require permits and information from both the National Park Service (NPS) and the Makah Nation. You will need:
- A recreation permit ($10 per car) from the Makah Nation to access the beach. The permit can be purchased at several locations in Neah Bay.
- Overnight parking at one of the houses just before the trailhead parking lot. You will pay $10 for each calendar day your car is parked, so arriving one day and leaving the next will cost $20. Bring 5- and 10-dollar bills to pay this fee.
- A hard-sided food container like a bear cannister to store your food, garbage, and scented items. This is a requirement. You can rent a cannister at the NPS Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.
- A NPS wilderness backcountry camping permit from the NPS Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.
- Information on tides.
The NPS maintains an excellent WWW page
with information on what you will need to have a great and safe trip.
On your way out to Neah Bay, the Salt Creek Recreation Area
on the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a beautiful place to take a break in the drive. You can enjoy your lunch while sitting amongst the tide pools with a nice view of Vancouver island and the Strait.
The stream water at the coast has a lot of tanin in it, associated with the decaying trees, and this makes the water brownish. The tanin won't hurt you, but you can pre-filter it by attaching a paper coffee filter to your water pump. You can learn more about tanin and the coastal ecosystem at the Wilderness Information Center
in Port Angeles.