Olympic Coast North: The Shipwreck Coast


Backpack - Olympic Coast North: The Shipwreck Coast

Backpack 20 miles along a spectacular section of the Olympic National Park wilderness coast from Rialto Beach to Sand Point. Though the elevation gain is minimal, the route is rated 'moderate/challenging' because it requires climbing steep headlands (using ropes) and rounding headlands on slippery kelp-covered rocks.

  • Fri, Jun 26, 2015 — Sun, Jun 28, 2015
  • Foothills Backpacking Committee
  • Backpacking
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 20.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 260 ft

 Meeting details to be determined.

Carpooling will be encouraged and I will send out an e-mail regarding carpooling about 1 week before departure. The trailhead is about a 4 hour drive from Seattle; another half hour if we stop in Port Angeles to pick up bear cans.  Additional time will be required to set up the car shuttle.  

Although open to all club members over age 18, this trip is also part of the B3 Backpacking Building Blocks series and eligible for B3 course credit. In addition, this backpack will have a practical instructional/learning focus and offer experience in proper gear use and camp set-up techniques.

Author Craig Romano describes this stretch of seacoast as: “some of the prettiest and wildest coastline and beaches in North America.”  Sights include sea stacks, arches, caves, tide pools, and sandy beaches.  Besides the spectacular scenery, we will pass Chilean Memorial and Norwegian Memorials, which commemorate long-ago shipwrecks along this hazardous coast.  

On day 1, we will set up our car shuttle, and then hike about 8.5 miles to just south to Cedar Creek.  During this day we will round Cape Johnson at 3.2 miles, which we must do at a tide of 4 ft. or less (low tide is 1.9 ft at 3:08 PM).  One day 2 we will hike 6.3 miles to camp at either Yellow Banks or a camp with a rope swing north of Yellow Banks.  On day 3, we will hike to Sand Point then inland to our car at Ozette Ranger Station, then pick up the car parked at the starting trailhead before heading home. 

Guide books: Backpacking Washington (Romano), 100 Classic Hikes in Washington (both Mountaineers Press).

Leader permission is required, which you can obtain by sending an e-mail to the leader.

I expect low overnight temperatures will be in the 40s. You should check the current weather report shortly before departure: http://www.findlocalweather.com/forecast.php?config=&forecast;=zandh&pands;=forks%2C+wa

Since this is a Washington coast trip, rain should be expected, and you should bring rain coat, rain pants, and pack cover and clothes that will keep you warm when wet (no cotton!). The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor.

The required Olympic National Park wilderness permit will cost about $5 per person. 


Olympic Coast North: The Shipwreck Coast

  • Custom Correct North Olympic Coast

    Green Trails Ozette No. 130S

    Trails Illustrated Olympic National Park

    Green Trails Olympic Coast Beaches No. 99S
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste

Other gear notes:

1. Bear canisters are required, which you can rent for $3 from the Ranger Station in Port Angeles. (The bear canisters are required because of raccoons; not bears.)

2. You should bring some method of water purification.

3. Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellant.

4. To reduce pack weight, you should consider sharing gear, especially stoves, cooking pots, water filters, and tents. About 1 week before the trip, I will send an E-mail to all. If you are interested in sharing any items, Reply All to this E-mail, describing gear you would like to provide for sharing or if you are interested in sharing another’s gear. Sharers should make arrangements directly with any interested people.

Trip Reports