Without a doubt, this backpacking trip should be on every hiker's bucket list. It's an incredible, challenging, and serene adventure.
Two sections of the Olympic Peninsula's coastline are completely undeveloped and uniquely spectacular. The first is a section of the Olympic North Coast Wilderness Trail that runs nearly 21 miles between Rialto Beach and Ozette. The second is this southern section that runs between La Push (Third Beach Trailhead) and the Hoh River (Oil City Trailhead) and totals 17.5 miles. Although this section has a nominal net elevation gain, the diverse terrain and trail requirements keep the hike in a moderately difficult category; between hiking on sandy beaches, climbing up rope ladders, ascending bluffs on your hands and knees, and waiting for an outgoing low tide to make headland crossings, this trip is far more challenging than it may appear on paper. The trip can certainly be done in two days, but giving yourself three days will provide flexibility.
Highlights along the route include:
Wilderness Camping Permits are required for overnight stays in Olympic National Park, and permits are limited in some areas. Check here for more information, or call 360.565.3100. Bear canisters are also required, and having a tide chart is a must for this adventure. Both can be picked up at Kalaloch Ranger Station near Kalaloch Lodge or the Sol Duc Ranger Station just north of Forks.
If you don't have two cars, a shuttle service will be necessary to drop you off at your starting trailhead. Leave your car at your end destination. All Points Charters & Tours offers shuttle services for hikers, at roughly $150 for six people. Call 360.460.7131 for details.
Oregon Field Guide is OPB's long-running local weekly TV series. The program covers natural resources, ecological issues, outdoor recreation and travel destinations across the Northwest region. This award-winning show is one of the most-watched local productions in the public broadcasting system.
Oregon Field Guide also extends the work it does in the field for the television series across radio and the Web, providing a greater degree of coverage.
Oregon Field Guide airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays.