Seattle MAC - Backpacking Trip

Youth activity: Mountaineers Adventure Club

Seattle MAC - Backpacking Trip - Olympic Coast South: The Wildcatter Coast

MAC members go on a multiday backpack trip somewhere in Washington.

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  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 17.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft
  • 6 (9 capacity)
  • FULL (1 capacity)
  • FULL (2 capacity)
  • Cancellation & Refund Policy

Listed by former Backpacking Magazine Northwest Editor Michael Lanza as one of the 10 best backpacking trips in the United States, this 17.5 mile section of coast has fantastic ocean scenery, but exacts a price in steep trails, deep mud, and river fords.  Our day will be governed by the tides - some parts of the route cannot be travelled except at low tides.

 On day 1, we will set up our car shuttle, and then hike about 6.5 miles, to spectacular Toleak Point and camp.  En route, at about 4 miles from the trailhead, we must round a headland at a tide of 4 feet or less, which is about 2:00 PM, so we will plan to leave our trailhead by 10:00 AM.  

 On day 2, we will hike about 5 miles to Mosquito Creek to camp (despite the name, it is not unusually buggy).  

On day 3, we will leave camp by 7:30 am, ascending the steep and muddy Hoh Head to Jefferson Cove.  From here, we must pass the rocky point just south of Jefferson Cove at a tide level of 2 feet or less (low tide is 0.2’ at 11:23 AM), and finally reaching our cars about 6 miles from our Mosquito Creek camp.  We will pick up our car(s) parked at the starting trailhead, before heading home.

Leader permission is required, which you can obtain by sending an e-mail to the leader.

I expect low overnight temperatures will be in the 40s. You should check the current weather report shortly before departure:

Since this is a Washington coast trip, rain should be expected, and you should bring a raincoat, rain pants, and pack cover and clothes that will keep you warm when wet (no cotton!). The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor.

Several of the headlands must be ascended and descended using rope ladders or stairs, which is strenuous; the ascent of Hoh Head is particularly difficult.

Other gear notes:

1. Bear canisters are required, which you can rent from the Ranger Station in Port Angeles. (The bear canisters are required because of raccoons; not bears.)

2. You should bring some method of water purification.  Since some of the water is darkened by (harmless) tannin, UV treatments which require clear water (like Steripen) might not be effective.

3. Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellant.

4. To reduce pack weight, you should consider sharing gear, especially stoves, cooking pots, water filters, and tents. About 1 week before the trip, I will send an E-mail to all. If you are interested in sharing any items, Reply All to this E-mail, describing gear you would like to provide for sharing or if you are interested in sharing another’s gear. Sharers should make arrangements directly with any interested people.

5.  We will ford several streams, and some form of water shoes is required.


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

10 essentials, backpacking gear

Bear canister

Water shoes

Gloves for handling rough ropes

Trip Reports