Second Beach Hike
Washington has no shortage of incredible beaches, and the endless coastline is always a wonder to explore. Second Beach is an example of the scenery that makes the Pacific Northwest what it is, from dramatic sea to salty beaches strewn with driftwood and peculiar rock formations jutting out of the water to fascinating tide pools. The hike is less than 4.0 km long and easy enough for most visitors to enjoy.
Second 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.
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Route Description for Second Beach Hike
Second Beach is a shorter hike than Third Beach with scenery that’s just as impressive. This walk is a treat for anyone who appreciates the coastal scenery of the Pacific Northwest. With tall sea stacks, kelp-strewn driftwood, and an eerie wind tunnel in the mainland, this is a beach hike to complete and then to come back to.
Try to arrive when the tide is on its way out if possible. Additionally, note that there is overflow parking past the main parking lot with room for more cars. Even so, try to arrive early on weekends to avoid the rush.
The walk along Second Beach begins from the parking area. Take a short downhill walk across a creek before climbing briefly. Walk underneath impressive trees and over some marshy areas before beginning to head downhill again. About a third of a mile in, you’ll begin descending a worn staircase. It’s a bit more sturdy in some places than others, but it does the trick.
Switchback down the hill towards the beach, making your way around interestingly formed trees. Look for a small pile of keepsakes and cool finds in one of the trees left by hikers on their return trips. While this is a cute touch, remember that we should be leaving the beach and its objects where we find them.
Making it onto the beach, the view impresses right off the bat. You’ll be looking out over sea stacks that stand straight out of the ocean. Look north to an arch and listen for the sounds of the wind blowing through.
You can walk the entirety of the beach in a fairly short amount of time, so explore as you like. Go see the arch more closely, hike south to Teahwhit Head, or do some beachcombing in between. The trail ends a ways to the south. While it might be tempting to venture around the headlands, the National Park Service describes them as “impassable” even at low tide. If you were to try and hike around them, you could become stuck with no way to get away from the advancing tide.
When you’re ready, hike north back to the stairs and make your way back to the trailhead, first by climbing up and then by venturing through the wet forest.
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
Is Second Beach dog-friendly?
Not in season. Dogs are only permitted from 5 AM until 7:45 AM from May through the end of September and must be kept on leash. From October through the end of April, dogs are allowed on leash.
Is Second Beach on the reservation?
Second Beach is just outside of the town of La Push on the Quileute Reservation. The trail may be subject to closure at the discretion of the community.
Can you camp at Second Beach?
There are a few forest spots and beach spots available.
Insider Hints for Second Beach Hike
- Prepare for a misty, potentially rainy day. This is the PNW, after all!
- Remember to get the appropriate permits if you intend to camp.
- Driftwood logs may be unstable. Take care if you choose to walk on them.
Getting to the Second Beach Hike Trailhead
The trailhead for Second Beach is off La Push Road, There is a main parking area and a larger overflow parking area.
Second Beach Hike Elevation Graph
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Second Beach Hike Reviews
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