Shi Shi Beach


Backpack - Shi Shi Beach

Experience beautiful Shi Shi Beach and fascinating Point of the Arches during the lowest tide of the year, exploring rock tunnels and inspecting marine life that are rarely accessible, with a full day to enjoy this jewel of the Olympic Coast.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Easy/Moderate
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 200 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 9 AM Wednesday July 3 on the front porch of the Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC), 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, reached by turning left from US 101 in Port Angeles onto N Race St, continuing up the hill as it becomes Mt. Angeles Road and turning right at the south end of town into the WIC. 

I will arrive at the WIC prior to 9 AM to register our group, pay the camping fees of $8 per person per night and pick up bear canisters (no charge) for those who do not already have them.  Bear canisters are required at Shi Shi Beach for overnight storage of all odor-emitting substances.  On Friday I'll collect from everyone their share of the fees owed me.  Those borrowing bear canisters from the WIC will need to repack their gear so the canister can fit inside your pack.  That can be done either at the WIC or in Neah Bay, depending on where we have the most available time.

From the WIC we will caravan for about two hours to Washburn's General Store in Neah Bay by heading north on Mt. Angeles Road, left at Lauridsen, continuing straight at the traffic light onto US 101, turning right at SR 112, signed to Neah Bay, turning right at the stop sign at the T junction to continue on SR 112 and turning left in Neah Bay into the parking lot of Washburn's General Store, where we can buy a hot lunch, a $10 annual Makah Recreation Pass required for each car, and anything else you might need at that time.  We'll eat our lunch in the picnic shelter by the parking lot and then caravan for about 15 minutes to the trailhead.   There we drop off all passengers and gear and the drivers caravan to the far parking lot, charging $10 per night per car, leaving all by one car there, and then driving in the remaining car to the closer parking lot charging $10 per day per car, leaving that car there and then walking back to the trailhead, about a ten minute walk.  Fees for parking and Makah passes will be divided among the hike participants in an equitable manner.

Then we backpack in the usually three miles to our campsite on the beach.  The distance can vary from two to four miles, depending on where we find a suitable campsite.  Due to the upgrade two years ago to the bluff trail, this trip is now upgraded from moderate to easy, so it is very suitable for children.

We will camp two nights at the same beach campsite, which usually has easy access to both an outhouse and our water source, Petroleum Creek.  All stream water on the Olympic Coast must be filtered or treated to eliminate giardia and cryptosporidium.  It has an orangish color, unrelated to those issues, that is caused by local vegetation.  It is not harmful to consume. 

On Thursday morning we'll leave camp at 7:30 AM to walk down the beach to Point of the Arches, so we have time to explore all the fascinating rock tunnels and marine life a low tide before it begins coming in.  This will be the best picture-taking opportunity on the trip.  The rest of Thursday morning and afternoon, we'll have an opportunity to explore the 2.4 mile long beach and the coves to the north and south of it.  The more adventuresome may want to pursue the short, but overgrown trail to Willoughby Lake.

We'll backpack out on Friday morning and have an opportunity  for lunch at the Warm House Restaurant in Neah Bay and to visit the Makah Museum nearby, which has a nominal admission fee.  It displays artifacts dug up fifty years ago from the remains of an ancient Indian village at Cape Alava.

Participants in this trip should not plan to be home before 6 PM on Friday, because if you are carpooling, which is strongly advised, it may inconvenience others in your car.

The trip leader will be remaining in Neah Bay on Friday and Saturday nights in order to lead day hikes to Cape Flattery on Saturday and Shi Shi Beach on Sunday, with the option to camp Friday and Saturday nights at Hobuck Beach Resort.  Anyone choosing to participate in both trips could ride with the leader from and to his home in NE Tacoma, leaving their cars there for the five days.



Shi Shi Beach

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
Trip Reports