Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast


Backpack - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

A two-night, three-day challenging backpack trip on Washington’s fabulous Olympic Coast. We will start at the Third Beach trailhead, hike south and camp for two nights at beautiful Toleak Point. Enjoy wide open sandy beaches, spectacular rocky features, sea stacks, tide pools, unreal sunsets, lush forests, wildlife sightings and the numerous other features the ocean offers. We will meet the night before to car camp making the total trip three nights away from home. See leader notes below for a route description and other information. Note: This trip is only open to participants that have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19. THIS IS A LEADER PERMISSION REQUIRED TRIP AND NO PERMISSION REQUESTS WILL BE ACCEPTED BEFORE THE REGISTRATION OPENING DATE.

  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 400 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 mph

Meet at Mora Campground Thursday evening 9/9/21.  I have reserved a couple of campsites so there is no pressure to arrive early. 

Directions to Mora Campground are as follows:  From Port Angeles continue west on Highway 101.  In about 55 miles turn right onto LaPush Road (Highway 110).  In 7.8 miles turn right onto Mora Road.  In 3.3 miles turn left and Mora Campground is on the right.  3283 Mora Rd, Forks, WA

Early Friday morning 9/10/21 we will make the short 15 minute drive from Mora campground to the Third Beach trailhead where the backpack trip both starts and ends.  We will be at the trailhead to start hiking very early (6am) for two reasons.  First, there are areas that we want to be hiking through during low tide and medium tides only.  Second, the Third Beach trailhead parking fills up very quickly and we want to be assured of getting parking spots.

Either a National Park Pass, an Interagency Pass or a one-time single use pass which can be purchased online at Fees & Passes - Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) is required for parking.

Day #1 we will hike from the Third Beach trailhead 6.5 miles to Toleak Point where we will set up camp for two nights.  Hiking this day will consist of hiking 1.5 miles to access the ocean at Third Beach and then continue 5 more miles following the beach and sometimes heading slightly inland in order to pass around headlands.  The route requires ascending and descending fixed ropes to navigate these headlands in four different places.  This is not rock climbing or rappelling.  The ropes are in place to aid as a hand line to get up and down the steep bluffs.  There is also one rope ladder in place to assist in going up a 45 degree slope.  Over the 6.5 miles we will encounter many other variable hiking conditions as well.  Everything from wide open easy beach walking, sections with steep and possibly muddy trails, rocky slippery sections and climbing over driftwood.  There is a good water source at Toleak Point (Jackson Creek).

Day #2 will be for day hiking further south and/or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful beach features around Toleak Point.

Day #3 we will pack up and it will be the reverse of day #1 hiking north back to the Third Beach trailhead.  Due to the tide tables, this day will also require an early start but probably not quite as early as day #1 since the low tide is scheduled to be a little later.  And, we will have good familiarity with the route (ropes, obstacles, etc.) and can better judge the amount of time required to complete the hike back. 


 Upon approval and registration, $23 will need to be reimbursed to me in order for your spot to be held on the roster.  The cost consists of your share of campground, permit and fee expenses.  If you have an Annual Olympic National Park Wilderness Pass, provide me the pass number and your cost will be reduced by $16 ($8 per night) to $7 which will be your share of the campground and fee expense.  You can find information about the Annual Olympic National Park Wilderness Pass at Wilderness (Backpacking) Reservations - Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Bear canisters are required by Olympic National Park.  Both ursacks and hanging food is not approved.  If you do not have a canister, they are for loan at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles and the cost is included in the permit cost.  I will gladly pick up and return any canisters for any and all participants.

The 13 mile round trip does not include any day hiking on day #2.  Note that even with a high point of nearly 400 feet the cumulative elevation gain is much more (closer to 1,400 feet) due to a lot of ascending and descending.

Other than standard backpacking gear, trekking poles are required.  Also, a pair of light gloves such as rappel gloves, garden gloves or even dishwashing gloves are recommended for using on the ropes.

As already mentioned this is a leader permission trip.  Do not send me leader permission requests until the registration opens!  In your request please address each of the following points:

  1. confirm that you are fully vaccinated
  2. provide examples of other backpacking trips you have done this summer of equal or more distance.
  3. confirm that you have the physical endurance to hike in the variable terrain, specifically the steep ascents and descents on the bluffs/headlands requiring the use of a rope as a hand line.
  4. acknowledge that you are okay with the somewhat abnormal early start times, especially on day #1.
  5. confirm that you agree to reimburse me for the camping and permit costs upon approval (instructions for money transfer to be provided).

And finally, if the weather forecast is for a significant precipitation front to move in or if we are in a period of poor air quality resulting from forest fire smoke this trip will be rescheduled or canceled.


Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

  • Green Trails La Push No. 163S

    Custom Correct South Olympic Coast

    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
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Trekking poles
Trip Reports