South Coast Route - Olympic Wilderness

Backpackers on the South Coast
Backpackers on the South Coast

Bryan Bell, NPS

Notices
Trail Description
Camping
Trail Conditions
Special Concerns
Safety
Map
Photos

 

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, use of weapons, and wheeled devices are prohibited on coastal beaches and trails.
  • Wilderness Camping Permits are required for all overnight hikes. Obtain your permit at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles. Contact the WIC for more information. (360) 565-3100
  • There are several points at the south end of this route that require a very low tide to pass. See topographical map for details.
  • Contact the WIC for information about trailhead shuttles.
 

Description

Ecosystem type: Coastal forest and ccean beach
Trail tread types: Maintained
General elevation trend: Flat with steep overland trails and ladders.
River crossings: Goodman and Mosquito Creeks can be difficult or impossible to ford during periods of heavy rain or high tides. Falls Creek can be from ankle to waist deep, Goodman Creek should be forded at low tide and can be from knee deep to 6-8 feet deep and is often unfordable in winter or during heavy rains. Mosquito Creek should be forded at low tide and is usually knee to waist deep if crossed where it meets with the surf.
Unique features: Ocean views, sea stacks, opportunities to view bald eagles and seals. From Third Beach to just south of Toleak Point are beautiful sand beaches. Bird life is common on sea stacks. Grey whale migration occurs in March/April and October.
Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Distance: 17 miles from Third Beach Trailhead to Oil City Trailhead.
Elevation change: 1,900 feet gain—sea level to 320 feet
Best Season: May through October

 
 

Camping

Permits/Reservations: Obtain permits in person at the WIC in Port Angeles . Permits are currently not limited and reservations are not available. However, many camps are very busy and can fill in summer.
Group Size Restrictions: Groups are limited to no more than 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.
Campsites: Primary destinations are Third Beach, Scott's Creek, Toleak Point, and Mosquito Creek. These camp areas can be full or very busy in summer.
Toilet Facilities: Pit toilets are available at Third Beach, Scott's Creek, Toleak Point, and Mosquito Creek. In other areas bury waste 6-8" deep and 200 feet from campsites and water sources.
Water Sources: See topographic map for permanent streams. 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 lakes, streams, and rivers. Always filter or boil water. Iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidium.
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 established sites or on sand to prevent damage to vegetation.

Campfires: To protect coastal forests, please burn only driftwood and build fires on the beach, not in forested campsites.

Wildlife Precautions: Due 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.

Safety

When traveling along the coast, know the tides. Bring a topographic map and a tide chart to plan your route.
Be prepared to hike over some headland trails during high tides. Some headlands cannot be rounded during the lowest of tides. Some headlands require a low tide to round. When camping on the beach, camp above the high tide water line.
 
Raccoons can easily get food hung from trees. Never hang food on the coast. Always store food, garbage and scented items in bear canisters to keep raccoons and bears out of your camp and food.
Raccoons can easily get to food bags hung from trees. Always store all food, garbage, and scented items in bear canisters to keep raccoons and bears out of your camp and your food.
 
Illegal Food Storage on the Coast. $50 fine
Hanging your food on the coast can attract raccoons and bears to your camp. Raccoons can easily get to a food bag hung like this. There is a $50 fine for illegal food storage.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

 
Toleak Point
Toleak Point

Bryan Bell, NPS

 
Backpackers climbing rope ladder
Backpacker climbing rope ladder to access overland trail.

Eric Romano, NPS

 
Crowded beach
Crowded beaches are a common sight in summer. On some weekends, it can be difficult to find a place to pitch your tent at Second Beach, Third Beach, and other locations on the South Coast.

Sarah Bouska, NPS

 
South Coast wilderness beach
South Coast Wilderness Beach

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Phone:

(360) 565-3130

Contact Us