Situated near the mouth of the Quillayute River just north of the town of La Push, Rialto Beach is one of those beaches that begs you for more time. Plan on a leisurely 3-mile round-trip walk from the parking lot at the southern end of the beach to access the tide pools, sea stacks, and the unique Hole-in-the-Wall formation at the north end, and be sure to watch for otters and seals in the surf and whales in the distance.
You'll know you are getting closer to the north end as Gunsight Rock comes into view. The tide pools at this end of the beach are rich with sea life, and the rock formations are fascinating. Layers of sandstone and mudstone eroding at different rates create dramatic linear foregrounds for the sea stacks that sit a little farther from shore. The Hole-in-the-Wall formation is part of this process as well: this gap is left behind as the ocean works away at the softer layers in the larger rock, leaving a perfect frame for the sea stacks a little further down the beach.
Rialto Beach is also the southern point of the roughly 20-mile shuttle backpacking trek that stretches to Ozette along the completely undeveloped and rugged coastline of the Olympic National Park. All seven of the backcountry campsite areas require an overnight wilderness permit, and reservations are required between May 1 and September 30. Reservations can be made starting March 15 by mailing in a Reservation Request Form.
Respectful and cautious behavior in and around tide pools will keep you safe and protect the fragile wildlife for generations to come. Be sure to follow these rules of thumb: