I hiked this July 24-26; it was incredibly beautiful. I had sunny, warm weather for almost all three days. The hiking was a combination of flat stretches of beach, steep vertical climbs to the forest, and relatively flat forest hiking- so not too hard overall. The trail was a little muddy; if it had rained, I can see how ascending the cliffs with the ropes would have been much more slippery.
The highlight was the tide pools- they were bursting with all kind of marine critters including many starfish. I also saw a river otter with a baby, and there was a whale carcass on the beach as well.
I took 3 days to do this hike. I stopped at Quinault Ranger Station on my drive up from Portland to get a wilderness camping permit, tide chart, and bear canister. Also, the Mountain Shop in Portland rents bear canisters too. I started at Third Beach and hiked south to Toleak Point where I camped the first night. It took me about 4 hours to hike to that point going at a medium pace and including a 1-hour break to wait out a high tide. (Definitely bring a book for waiting out the tide!) The second day, I left my tent at Toleak Point and day-hiked to Mosquito Creek, and then returned to my tent. The third day I hiked back to Third Beach and drove back to Portland. I did this because I didn't have two cars and didn't want to pay for a shuttle, and it was definitely doable! I would recommend this approach. Also, I chose to do the hike north to south (as opposed to starting at Oil City and heading north) because of the tides- there wasn't a 'caution' tide crossing until later in the day, which lined up better with my hike.
Tides- It wasn't too difficult to figure out the crossings, and Scott Creek was the only location between Third Beach and Toleak Point that required a relatively low tide. It was really helpful to get a topo map at the Quinault Ranger station of the Olympic South Coast (it was like $6) because it detailed the height of the tide needed to cross certain sections. For example, Scott Creek crossing could be crossed with a 4 foot tide, whereas other stretches of beach required a lower tide- 2 feet or even 1/2 foot. The topo map clarified all of this.
Camping- there were a lot of spots between Strawberry Point and Toleak Point. The sites were up a few feet from the sand, under the cover of trees, but still within view of the water. Not too busy because I was there midweek. The campsites at Scott Creek were a little more sheltered in the woods, and the campsites at Mosquito Creek were the most sheltered- those were way up on the cliff in the forest.
River fords- Goodman Creek was only ankle deep, the current must have slowed down from the spring. The ranger said that it was around knee-deep in late June when he last hiked it. It was pretty easy to cross for me on this trip.
Shoes- really glad I had sturdy water shoes for exploring tide pools and potentially to cross the creek, even though the water level was lower than I was expecting.
The wilderness camping permit was $8/night, and it was the only pass that I had to obtain to do this trip. Warning, the Ranger Station/Information Center (Quinault) was very busy and there was a long line even when I arrived at 8:30am, so get there early.
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