Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast


Backpack - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

This three day, two night backpacking trip in the Olympic National Park's Pacific Ocean beach is from Third Beach to Oil City. The 18 mile trip along the coast is beautiful but challenging due to tides and terrain; see Leader's Notes below. Initially offered in the Foothill's B3 (Backpacking Building Blocks) course, it is now open to all Mountaineer members.

  • Moderate
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 18.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 200 ft
  • Pace: 1mph headlands, 2mph beach

We'll depart from the Third Beach trailhead west of Forks 8am Saturday morning, June 22.  So arrive early, our departure time is firm so incoming tides don't block our route later in the day.  Cars left at the trailhead need an America the Beautiful pass or an Olympic National Park vehicle entrance  pass printed at home.

This group will start at the Third Beach trailhead and hike south.  On the same day another group will start at the Oil City trailhead and hike north.  On day two we'll meet on the trail and exchange car keys.  On day three at the end of the trip, we'll drive the other group's cars to Forks and exchange cars.

The mileage on this trip is moderate but the headland crossings, creek fording, and tidal challenges make it more difficult.  Headland crossings involve steep slopes, ropes and ladders, and muddy conditions.  Some parts of the beach trail have large, wet, slippery boulders.  Creek fords require water crossing footgear.  Navigating these features can be difficult while carrying your three day backpack. Our  hiking times will be based on the tides, as high tides prevent passage at some points along the trip.  But the coast has spectacular  scenery, its a full moon Saturday night, we'll learn about the tides, and work together  to meet the challenges.

Consider staying overnight Friday before the trip due to our early departure Saturday morning.  There are hotels in Forks and camping in the area.  An America the Beautiful or Olympic National Park vehicle entrance pass are required for parking at the trailhead. 

Due to pesky racoons on the coast, bear cans are required in this part of the Park (no Ursacks).  The leader will buy the required Olympic Park camping permits for the group, so a $17/person reimbursement is appreciated.


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, garden or leather gloves for headland and boulder crossings, water crossing shoes and hiking poles, bear can for food storage, parking pass if you drive a car, optional Friday night accommodations, plus overnight gear as specified by the trip leader in "Hello Hikers" emailed to participants before the trip.

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