Shi Shi Beach is the picture perfect beach to show everyone how beautiful the rugged and violent Olympic Coast can be. The stunning 8-mile roundtrip trail has an end destination at the Point of Arches. These jagged stacks sit right off the treeline into the water offering majestic photo opportunities. Absolutely my favorite hike and beach I saw on the Olympic Peninsula.
Hiking Shi Shi Trail
Shi Shi Beach’s trailhead starts off in the Makah Reservation and right as you reach the beach, you’ll enter the Olympic National Park. The first two miles of the trail takes you through the lush rainforest. Depending on what time of the year is, the trial can be pretty muddy. Even in heat of the summer, there will be a ton of muddy spots to walk through. The rainforest section cuts through spruces and has a few bridges or planks to cross over. Along the trail, we saw several banana slugs on the ground. In the summer, the trail was also pretty insect-heavy so bug spray is recommended.
The two miles of rainforest ends by cutting steeply down into Shi Shi beach. Reaching Shi Shi means you are entering back into Olympic National Park from the Makah reservation. At this point, the next two miles are along Shi Shi coastal forest. A creek a little over a mile hiking on Shi Shi marks where you will start seeing people camping along the tree line.
The final stretch after the creek will be filled with a ton of tide pools. We made a ton of stops to check out the coastal critters. At this point, you’ll be so close to the Point of Arches that it’s hard not to pay attention to anything else. We
Point of Arches
Here we spent hours going through shallow caves and watching critters scatter through the tide pools. We took numerous photos as the sea stacks are one of the most photographed areas of the Pacific Northwest. After spending hours beachcombing and taking pictures, sat back and enjoy the sunset. If you could only do one thing on the Olympic Coast, make it watching a sunset on Shi Shi Beach.
Adventure seekers will need TWO permits: The Makah Recreation Pass can be purchased in Neah Bay at the General Store, Mini Mart, Marina or Museum. It currently costs $10 and is good for the calendar year. You will also need an Olympic National Park wilderness permit (available at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles or Forks.)