Shi Shi Beach Trail
Shi Shi is one of the world’s premier wilderness beaches. This moderate hike follows a trail through the rainforest down to the beach itself. The beach is breathtaking, with sweeping views to Point of Arches and to the mountains of Vancouver Island. This is a top-notch hike in Washington, but visiting outside of peak hours could still earn you some peace and quiet. The trail is muddy year-round, so tall boots are a must.
There is camping available near the beach. The trail and beach are on the Makah Indian Reservation and thus are subject to closure at the discretion of the community. Please check with the Makah on the current status.
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Route Description for Shi Shi Beach Trail
Shi Shi Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on the Olympic Coast. This out-and-back hike shows off the rugged beauty of the beach and the impressive Point of Arches. Whether you’re here for a day hike or camping overnight to snap shots of the sea stacks at sunset, you’re guaranteed to be awestruck.
This trail is muddy year-round, so choose your footwear accordingly. Additionally, the beach and trail are on the Makah Indian Reservation and are thus subject to closure at the discretion of the community. Please check the official Makah website for information on the beach’s status.
You will need two permits for this hike. The first is the Makah Recreation Pass, which can be purchased at the general store, the mini-mart, the marina, or the museum. It’s currently $10 for the year. You will then need to purchase an Olympic National Park wilderness pass, which can be bought at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles or at the South Shore Ranger Station at Lake Quinault.
The trail begins near the fish hatchery. The first mile of trail has been improved in recent years, and it winds through Sitka spruce. You’ll cross a few bridges and boardwalks before hitting mile 2, where things get muddy. Take care through this section before arriving at the bluff that leads to the beach.
Once at the headland, the NPS has built a new set of cedar stairs to allow a safer descent and ascent than the previous eroded trail provided.
On the sandy shore, head south. Driftwood, bleached logs, and tide pools dot the shore. Sea stacks are battered by the constant waves, and sea life finds its home on the sand or in the waves. You’ll walk through the sand for a bit over a mile, so you might just feel inclined to take off the boots on a nice day.
Cross Petroleum Creek and hike to the Point of Arches, one of the most spectacular parts of this spectacular beach. Here, a mile of sea stacks adorn the water. This is one of the coolest spots in the PNW, so we recommend staying a while. Look for hermit crabs and anemones in the tide pools, take photos of the stacks, or just soak it all in.
From the Point of Arches, you’ll retrace your steps back to the trailhead. Thankfully, the stairs make the ascent back onto dry land much easier—previously, you’d be grinding up a steep, slick trail after already hiking 12.9 km. Atop the stairs, cross the boardwalks and bridges back to where you parked.
Point of Arches
The Point of Arches is a group of sea stacks in the wild Pacific Ocean off the Olympic Coast on Shi Shi Beach. These scenic stacks are gorgeous to see and a go-to spot for local photographers, especially as the sunset paints the sky overhead. The Point of Arches can be accessed on the Shi Shi Beach Trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Shi Shi Beach open?
Shi Shi Beach is subject to closure by the Makah. It experienced long periods of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the Makah website for current updates on its status.
Can you drive to Shi Shi Beach?
You’ll need to be on foot to access the beach directly.
How do you pronounce Shi Shi?
Insider Hints for Shi Shi Beach Trail
- If you want to stay overnight at the trailhead, there is a $20 parking fee that can be paid at the Makah Marina among other places.
- If you are camping, make sure you set up your tent above the high tide line.
- Check the tide tables before setting out to make sure you’ve got some time before high tide.
Getting to the Shi Shi Beach Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for Shi Shi Beach is off Hatchery Road.
Shi Shi Beach Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Shi Shi Beach Trail Reviews
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