Two Nights at Shi Shi Beach in the Olympics

In my opinion, Shi Shi is the prettiest beach in Washington State. Two miles of open curving beach are bounded on the south by a series of stunningly beautiful seastacks, arches, caves, and tidepools reaching out into the ocean from the Point of Arches. To the North of Shi Shi Beach, the rugged rocky coast has ship wrecks and more caves to explore. Sunset at Shi Shi beach is magnificent too, especially in Winter.

About 20 years ago, I was told by a group of Canadian hikers to plan trips in January on the full moon. They claimed you would always have clear weather, although cold. This has held true the couple times I was able to make the full moon events in January. This year, let's see if the trend continues.

*Important Notes*

Weather: Despite the full moon, be prepared for winter weather (heavy rain and wind / hope for sun). The wind can blow very hard at Shi Shi Beach in January. Bring rain gear, gators, and waterproof boots.

• Surf: In the winter, the ocean swells are usually large and powerful. Keep you eye on the ocean when walking on the beach. These large wave sweep up the beach with force, and take you off your feet in seconds.

*Where I plan to camp*

After hiking two miles from Donna's house, we will reach the North end of Shi Shi Beach. About 1.2 miles south on Shi Shi Beach is Petroleum Creek. On the other side of Petroleum Creek is where I plan to camp. If this site is full, I will be in the next available campsite down the beach. Look for the Pacific Northwest Hikers & Backpackers sign on the beach and big blue tarps in the woods right off the beach. All the campsites are off the beach and back in the trees.

DO NOTE HIGH TIDE IS AT 11:35 AND IT IS A 8.65 (meaning this isn't a safe time to hike down the beach. Go before 10:00 a.m. or after 12:30 p.m.).

Directions to Shi Shi Beach / and Parking

Take any ferry across Puget Sound, then drive across the Hood Canal Bridge to Port Angeles.  Then take US 101 west to Sappho, turn right (north) on SR 113 to Clallam Bay and west on SR 112 to Neah Bay (Makah Tribal Lands).   Follow the signs at the west end of town to Ocean Beaches.  Before reaching the tribal center, take a left over a bridge toward Hobuck Beach.  Follow the road for approximately four miles (just past the blue-gated old trailhead). Overnighters must park for $10 a night at the home of Donna Wilkie. Information:[masked]-2554.

The first mile of trail is a meandering flat cedar-planked walkway -- recently constructed by the Makah Tribe with various grant moneys; the second mile or so is still a flat muddy trail that takes you to the Olympic National Park boundary. After the trail switchbacks down 300 feet to the beach, you still have a 1.2-mile flat beach walk to the group camp on the other side of Petroleum Creek.

Food Storage MethodHard-sided food containers are required to store all food, garbage and scented items. Hanging food is prohibited because raccoons climb trees and jump onto food bags and tear them apart.

Water Sources: Petroleum Creek and Willoughby Creek. Most coastal water sources have a tea-stained appearance. The light tan color originates from tannin leached from leaves. Cryptosporidium and giardia exist in coastal streams and rivers; always filter or boil water.


 

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  • Tamara

    Thanks Brent and Pat for the excellent company on an outstanding trip to one of Washington's most beautiful and remote areas. First rate camp set-up and unbeatable scenery - the other folks missed a great weekend!

    January 27, 2013

  • Brent D.

    Great trip. Good weather for January. Amazing that almost 60 people showing intered at one stage of this hike, yet only one person showed up? Wow. There was even talk of a second group. Huh!!!

    I certainly will not be leading Meetups with this group anymore!!

    January 27, 2013

    • Kurt

      That's seriously lame.

      January 27, 2013

  • John H.

    I am sick and cannot make it. I'm really disappointed about this.

    January 23, 2013

  • Brent D.

    No need to obtain a camping permit in the Winter at Shi Shi Beach. Be sure to park your car at Donna's house for $10 per day. I recommend putting your license number on an evelope before leaving. She sometime runs out of envelopes at the her house.

    January 22, 2013

  • John H.

    Do we individually have to get camping permits, or has somebody taken care of this for the group?

    January 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I go there a lot becareful of cougars there are many out there, and don't leave you're car on a trail head overnight on any resavation that's an invitation for trouble.

    January 19, 2013

  • Brent D.

    Since there is only about 10 good tent sites in the area I'm camping at Shi Shi in the Winter (even less if it rains hard), I don't recommend a second group by Petroleum Creek. There are additional campsites north and south of Petroleum Creek and Shi Shi is an Olympic Park.

    January 8, 2013

  • Gregory J.

    We'll make our memories at Shi-Shi beach during the summer.

    October 28, 2012

  • Brent D.

    Gregory is right. When it storms at Shi Shi in the Winter, it can be extreme. In the 20 years I have been coming to the Olympic Beaches in the Winter, I have weathered a few storms. Bring good sturdy tents. We will be camping in the woods for protection from strong winds.

    October 28, 2012

  • Gregory J.

    There's a good possibility the storm will blow away the tents. It would be better to have it during the summer when the weathers better.

    October 27, 2012

    • Verton

      That's how we make memories!

      1 · October 27, 2012

  • Phillip S.

    What exactly is a Donna Wilkie House... Sorry New to the group as well.

    October 25, 2012

  • Alexandra

    Boy this filled up fast!

    October 24, 2012

  • Pauline B.

    Hi everybody !
    Looks very exicting ! I am a little confused on one point though Is the hiking supposed to be on friday or on saturday?
    Thanks!

    October 24, 2012

  • Brent D.

    If you want to hike in with me, meetup time is at 11:30 a.m. at Donna's house. I had this incorrect on my original posting. Otherwise, you can hike in and meet the group later in the day.

    October 24, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Great, thanks for the quick reply!

      October 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Quick question, I'm new to this group so I apologize if this is a dumb questions. Are we meeting at 11:30pm and hiking at night or are we meeting at 11:30am or are we just meeting at the campsite as we arrive? I'm really looking forward to this!

    1 · October 24, 2012

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