Shi Shi Beach is the most recently incorporated area of Olympic Coastal Wilderness, a 2.3-mile long majestic sand beach bounded at its southern end by an expansive cluster of sea stacks known as Point of the Arches. With Shi Shi Beach being perhaps the most pristine coastal area of Washington, Point of the Arches makes this adventure a true gem.
Around the turn of the century, the old trail to Shi Shi Beach that crossed private property was closed. A new trail was then built by the Makah Tribe and now largely follows the old Shi Shi Beach logging road. The 2-mile long Shi Shi Beach access trail is relatively flat, with the exception of the 150-foot bluff at it's coastal termination. Boardwalk sections are prevalent early on, but they quickly give way to the wide, muddy remnants of Shi Shi beach road. Visitors should remain on the trail, as it is almost entirely located on the Makah Indian Reservation and only crosses onto National Park land near the end.
After descending the steep bluff (ropes are located in certain sections for assistance), visitors arrive at the very north end of Shi Shi Beach. A small grouping of sea stacks is located to the immediate right, to the north of which is a small, walled-in beach. Some inland campsites are located near the trail termination, but most camping is set up on the beach at the individual's discretion. The hike to Point of the Arches is 2.3 miles in length and spans the entirety of Shi Shi Beach. Freshwater sources are not plentiful at Shi Shi. Small streams can be found at times, but the only real reliable source of water is Petroleum Creek, located approximately 1.5 miles south of the trail termination. The area around Petroleum Creek is a frequent campsite for visitors given it's proximity to fresh water and Point of the Arches.
Tide pools and coves teeming with sea life are abundant around Point of the Arches and the northern end of Shi Shi Beach. Bald eagles are frequent overhead visitors, while sea lions and whales also inhabit the Pacific waters in this area. The entire area is a photographer's playground.
A side trip to Cape Flattery, the most northwest point of the contiguous United States and a popular whale watching spot during seasonal migration, can easily be incorporated with a visit to Point of the Arches and Shi Shi Beach. Additionally, extended backpacking trips between Point of the Arches and the Ozette area to the south are possible with numerous camp locations in between.
A few notes regarding overnight trips in this region: