Backpacking Building Blocks Student-Only Backpack

Field trip: Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course

Backpacking Building Blocks Student-Only Backpack - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

This two night backpacking trip along part of Olympic National Park's Pacific Ocean beach gives B3 students the opportunity to try out gear and new skills with experienced mentors. This 18 mile trip along the coast is beautiful but challenging due to tides and terrain; see Leader's Notes below. Registration for Sarah and Jessica's mentor group opens Sunday, March 31 at 8am. Registration for other qualified B3 students opens Sunday, April 7, with leader's permission; email

  • 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 at 7:30am Friday, June 21.  So arrive earlier, as 7:30 is our departure time due to incoming tides blocking 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 B3 group will start at the Oil City trailhead and hike north.  On day two we'll meet on the trail and exchange car keys.

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 wet, slippery boulders.  Creek fords require water crossing footgear.  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 Thursday before the trip due to our early departure Friday morning.  There are hotels in Forks and camping in the area; reserve early.  An America the Beautiful or Olympic National Park vehicle entrance pass are required for parking at the trailhead.  Consider carpooling and sharing expenses for the entrance pass, gas, and lodging.

Due to pesky racoons on the coast, bear cans are required in this part of the Park (no Ursacks).  The leader will buy the Olympic Park camping permit for the group, so a $17 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, bear can for food storage, parking pass, Thursday night accommodations, plus overnight gear as specified by the trip leader in "Hello Hikers" emailed to participants before the trip.

Trip Reports