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.
• 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 Method: Hard-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.