Rialto Beach Trail
Washington is lined with incredible beaches, and the wild coastline is always a treat to explore. The windswept beauty of Rialto Beach makes it a top walking destination. At 21.6 km, you can either make this a full-day adventure or just walk a portion of the beach to suit your timing and desired level of activity. Wear good shoes for rocky sections and consider bringing poles to help you along.
Rialto Beach tends to be somewhat busy, so try visiting in the mornings or midweek if possible. Additionally, plan to arrive as the tide goes out so you’re not trapped by high tide as you try to get back.
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Route Description for Rialto Beach Trail
Rialto Beach is a fabulous coastal Washington experience. With a long shoreline framed by forest on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, you could walk for hours on this beach. Literally, the entire trail is over 20.0 km in length. If that’s too far for you, choose a section of the beach to enjoy. There is more elevation gain and loss along this beach than others in the area, so poles are helpful to some.
Please plan according to the tides. We recommend aiming to have low tide at the midpoint of your hike, but as long as you have enough time to return before high tide, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Leashed pets are allowed on Rialto Beach 1.3 km north to Ellen Creek during daylight hours. Camping with pets isn’t allowed and pets, even on leash, are not permitted past Ellen Creek.
Beginning from the trailhead on the spit, you’ll hike north along the beach. Some of the path is sandy and some is rocky. Bald eagles swoop and kids play on driftwood piles as you go. The first half of the hike is the easiest and least rocky, so this is the best section for those seeking the most laid-back experience.
After you pass the hole in the wall, it gets much rockier. In some sections, you may need to use your hands to navigate around the boulders. Some of these rocks may be unstable, so take your time. Stay close to the wall on your right to avoid the most slippery rocks. This section near the hole in the wall becomes difficult to pass in high tide, so note where the water is relative to when you plan on making your return trip.
Look out to the boulders in the sea, check for starfish, and stop in tide pools to watch the crabs scuttle and the anemones sway. An amazing range of sea life can be observed in these little pools!
The walk gets less and less busy the further you go, but it also gets more difficult with distance. This is where hiking poles can come in handy, allowing you to keep your balance as you navigate over rocky stretches.
When you’ve gone as far as you want to go, turn around and make your way back to the trailhead. Note that the tides may have changed and so might your footing— low tide means you can walk on the compacted sand near the water, and high tide will have you working a bit harder through loose pebbles and rock.
The great Pacific is the feature of this hike. The wild, untamed-feeling shores of Washington are some of the best places to enjoy the ocean and the west coast ecosystem that thrives around it. Gaze out to sea and enjoy feeling more connected with nature here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I go to Rialto Beach or Ruby Beach?
Ruby Beach is a much easier hike than Rialto Beach, so choose according to your desired difficulty level. Both are worth visiting.
Can you swim at Rialto Beach?
We don’t recommend going to Rialto Beach to swim. Being a PNW beach, expect cool, misty weather and very cold waters. Come to hike, enjoy the tide pools, and watch for whales swimming by.
Insider Hints for Rialto Beach Trail
- Prepare for a misty, potentially rainy day. This is the PNW, after all!
- Bring poles and sturdy footwear.
- Make sure you check the tide charts before you hike.
Getting to the Rialto Beach Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for Rialto Beach is at the end of Mora Road.
Rialto Beach Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Rialto Beach Trail Reviews
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