Backpack - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast


Backpack - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

Preference to Tacoma Introduction to Backpacking students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers to register on April 30.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 14.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 to 2 mph

We will begin and end at the Third Beach Trailhead, which is on Highway 110 just before the town of LaPush. We will meet at the trailhead on June 24 at noon and be ready to go shortly afterwards. Carpooling is encouraged given the distance to the trailhead and the potential for limited parking. An Olympic National Park Entrance Pass or Federal Interagency Pass (America the Beautiful Pass) is required for each vehicle.

Preference to Tacoma Introduction to Backpacking students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers to register on April 30.

Completion of this trip may satisfy one of several iconic backpacking routes listed in the Gold, Silver, or Bronze Backpack badges. Award badges are open to any member to earn.  

This trip will require flexibility on the part of participants due to the long drive to the trailhead from the Puget Sound area, permit requirements, and high and low tide times. Additionally, we will need to cross over two headlands, requiring the use of cable ladders and ropes to ascend the headland and then descend back down to the beach.

ONP Ladders.JPG

Additionally, participants will need to reimburse the leader for the cost of wilderness camping permits ($8 per person per night plus $1 per person for permit fee for a total of $17), which I will collect at the start of the trip. 

Bear cannisters are required in this portion of Olympic National Park (no Ursacks!). The park does have a limited supply of cannisters for loan in Port Angeles and Quinalt, but they cannot be reserved and are only available during business hours. Participants may share a cannister provided it is large enough to contain food, toiletries, sunscreen, etc. for both people.

A likely trip itinerary will look like this:

June 24th: Meet at Third Beach TH at noon and be ready to begin hiking shortly after. Descend downhill approximately 1.5 miles and 200 feet to Third Beach, where we will set up camp. Third Beach is large and has lots of wonderful camping spots, giving us lots of time to explore the shoreline and tide pools. We can also get a preview of the ladder and ropes accessing the headland at the south end of the beach and even practice without packs first.

June 25th: Break camp at Third Beach and continue south along beach and headlands past Scott Creek and Strawberry Point to Toleak Point, where we will set up our second camp. Mileage will be approximately 5 miles and the elevation gain about 1100 feet. We will need to time our route between Scotts Creek and Strawberry Point for a sufficiently low tide but will still have time to enjoy exploring as we go and once in camp.

June 26th: Break camp at Toleak Point and return to Third Beach using the same route, again timing our route with low tides. Mileage is approximately 6 miles and elevation roughly 1400 feet.


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

To be discussed at lecture for Introduction to Backpacking course students.

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
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports