North Coast Route - Olympic Wilderness

 

Notices:

  • As of May 2013, all food, garbage, and scented items must be storedovernight and when unattendedin park-approved Bear Canisters along the entire Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast. Buckets or other hard-sided containers are no longer permitted.
  • Pets, weapons, and wheeled devices are prohibited on coastal beaches and trails.
  • Permits are limited year round for camping from Yellow Banks to Point of the Arches and must be obtained from the Wilderness Information Center. Reservations are recommended between May 1 and September 30.
  • Contact the WIC for information about trailhead shuttles.
 

Description

Ecosystem type: Coastal forest, rocky cliffs, and ocean beach
Trail tread types: Maintained
General elevation trend: Flat with steep overland trails
River crossings: The Ozette River should be forded at Low tide. It may be impassable in winter and during periods of heavy rain. Other coastal creeks may be difficult to cross during periods of heavy rain. Log jams may be very slippery and hazardous.
Unique features: Ocean views, eagle watching, seastacks, arches
Level of difficulty: Easy to strenuous sections
Distance: 20 miles from Ozette Trailhead to Rialto Beach—allow 3-4 days. 15 miles from Shi Shi Beach Trailhead to Ozette Trailhead—allow 2 days.
Elevation change: Sea level to 200 feet
Best Season: April through October

 

Camping

Permits/Reservations: Permits are limited year round for camping from Yellow Banks to Point of the Arches, obtain permits at the WIC in Port Angeles. Contact the WIC for other locations where permits are issued. Reservations are recommended May 1 through September 30 for camping from Yellow Banks to Point of the Arches.
Group Size Restrictions: Maximum group size is 12 people. Associated groups of more than 12 must camp and travel at least 1 mile apart and may not combine at any time into a group of more than 12.
Food Storage Method: As of May 2013, all food, garbage, and scented items must be storedovernight and when unattendedin park-approved Bear Canisters along the entire Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast. Buckets or other hard-sided containers are no longer permitted. Check with the WIC for rental locations.
Campsites: Primary destinations are Ellen Creek, Chilean Memorial, Cedar Creek, Norwegian Memorial, Yellow Banks, South Sand Point, Sand Point, Wedding Rocks, Cape Alava, South side Ozette River, North side Ozette River, and Shi Shi Beach.
Toilet Facilities: Pit toilets are available at Ellen Creek, Cedar Creek, Norwegian Memorial, Chilean Memorial, South Sand Point, Sand Point, Cape Alava, South Ozette River, North Ozette River, and Shi Shi Beach. In other areas bury waste 6-8" deep and 200 feet from campsites and water sources. Pack out toilet paper.
Water Sources: 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. Iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidium. At high-tide, some streams may contain saltwater.
Stock: Prohibited on all park beaches and beach trails.

 

Special Concerns

Leave No Trace: Leave No Trace of your stay to protect vegetation and prevent further camping regulations. Camp in preexisting sites or on sand to prevent damage to vegetation.

Campfires: To protect coastal forests, build fires on the beach and burn only driftwood. Wood burning fires are prohibited between the headland north of Yellow Banks and the headland at Wedding Rocks. This includes the Sand Point area.

Wildlife Precautions: Due to the ingenuity of raccoons and other wildlife in obtaining human food, as of May 2013, all food, garbage, and scented items must be storedovernight and when unattendedin park-approved Bear Canisters along the entire Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast. Buckets or other hard-sided containers are no longer permitted.

 
Headland Overland Trail Marker
Overland Trail Marker

NPS

Safety

  • When traveling along the coast, know the tides.
  • Bring a map and a tide chart to plan your route.
  • Be prepared to hike over headland trails during high tides. Some headlands cannot be rounded even during the lowest of tides.
  • When camping on the beach, camp above the high tide water line.
 
Backpackers on the Wilderness Coast
Backpackers on the Olympic Wilderness Coast
 
Rugged coast near Norwegian Memoria
Rugged coast near Norwegian Memorial. Yellow Banks to Norwegian Memorial is the most difficult section of the coast.

Bryan Bell, NPS

 
Illegal food storage on the North Coast
Illegal food storage on the North Coast. $50 fine

Sarah Bouska, NPS

Last updated: October 14, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Phone:

(360) 565-3130

Contact Us