Shi Shi Beach - Olympic Wilderness

Tents along Shi Shi Beach
Tents along Shi Shi Beach

Sarah Bouska, NPS

Trail Conditions



  • Wilderness Camping Permits are required for overnight stays at Shi Shi. Visit our Wilderness Backpacking Reservations page to learn how to obtain a permit.
  • As of March 15, in alignment with the reopening of the Makah Reservation by the Makah Tribe, the coastal wilderness area north of Cape Alava (including Shi Shi Beach) has reopened.
  • All food, garbage, and scented items must be stored—overnight and when unattended—in park-approved bear canisters along the entire Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast.
  • A Makah Recreation Pass must be purchased in Neah Bay prior to arriving at any trailheads on the Makah Indian Reservation.
  • Overnight parking for Shi Shi is permitted only at designated private parking lots.
  • Utilize existing fire rings or build campfires on the beach to prevent damage to tree roots. Use driftwood only.
  • Expect large crowds at Shi Shi Beach during summer months. There have been as many as 50 to 250 campers along Shi Shi Beach on busy weekends.
  • Pets, use of weapons, and wheeled devices are prohibited on coastal beaches and trails.


Ecosystem type: Coastal Forest and ocean beach
Trail tread types: Well-maintained boardwalk, muddy road bed, sandy beach
General elevation trend: Flat
River crossings: Petroleum Creek may be difficult to cross in winter during heavy rains
Unique features: Wilderness coast, bald eagle viewing, tidepools
Level of difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.0 to 4.5 miles
Elevation change: 200 feet to sea level
Best Season: April through October



Location and sites: Sites are scattered along the beach and in the forest.
Toilet Facilities: Three pit toilets are available at Shi Shi Beach: one at the south end of the campsites in the woods at the park boundary; one behind the wooded campsites on south side of Petroleum Creek; and one near Willoughby Creek. Always use toilets.
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. Iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidium.
Stock: Prohibited on all park beaches and beach trails.


Special Concerns

Practice Leave No Trace principles during your stay to protect vegetation and other wilderness resources. Camp in preexisting sites or on sand to prevent damage to vegetation. Do not build driftwood furniture; leave the wilderness wild.

Campfires: At Shi Shi Beach, protect coastal forest by burning driftwood only. Utilize existing fire rings or build fires on the beach to protect tree roots in forested sites.

Headland Overland Trail Marker
Target marking headland overland trail access



  • Know the tides.
  • Carry a map and tide chart to plan your route.
  • Be prepared to hike over headland trails during high tides. Some headlands cannot be rounded during the lowest of tides.
  • When camping on the beach, be sure to camp above the high tide water line.
Wilderness Ranger contacting visitors at Shi Shi Beach
Avoid building driftwood structures. They can be dangerous and detract from the wild character of the coast.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

Bear Canisters to keep bears and raccons out of food.
Bear canisters are required to keep raccoons, bears, and other coastal wildlife out of human food and camps.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

Illegal Food Storage on the Coast
Raccoons can easily obtain food hanging in bags. Never hang food on the coast. Always use hard-sided, animal resistant food containers, i.e. bear canisters.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

A Nice small beach fire at Shi Shi Beach
Large campfires can easily be blown out of control by coastal winds and into large driftlogs. Small fires like this one are more easily contained - and burn less wood - which can be scarce in some areas along the coast.

Build small driftwood fires on the beach and not in forested sites. This can damage tree roots.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

Sunset at Shi Shi Beach
Sunset at Shi Shi Beach

Bryan Bell, NPS

Last updated: October 21, 2022

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