Backpack - Shi Shi Beach - Point of the Arches - Best of the Northwest Best of the Northwest

Backpack – Shi Shi Beach – Point of the Arches

If you can endure the red tape of permits, parking and access woes. You will be rewarded by the section of the Washington Coast that Ira Spring regarded as his favorite.
Explore this stretch of the WA coastline.  Watch the video to find out how to access this remarkable place.

The beach area is National Park land, which is accessed by crossing through Macaw Tribe lands, and Private lands. Backcountry permits are required for overnight stays. MaKah tribal permits are required for day use of the area if parking at the trailhead. Overnight parking is a half-mile to full mile down the road in private pay to park lots.

Ask how this configuration works and you will likely get a different answer from each person you talk to.   Most recommend to drop off packs at the trail head and walk to back from one of the paid overnight parking lots (bring cash $10 night per vehicle).

Don’t be foolish like me forgetting the permit in the car adding five miles to the trip before even starting…

The first mile of the trail travels through dark forest and over boardwalks with interesting names like the cantilever bridge, beaver pond, Brian’s loop, and boardwalk bridge. This section of trail attaches to a private land crossing for the next two miles that have the reputation of being either muddy or very muddy.

Navigate your way around mud tracks until finally arriving at the beach overlook. From here a short very steep section can be descended with help of fixed ropes. Could be very useful in wet conditions.

Shi Shi Beach Point of the Arches Map

Welcome to Shi Shi beach. This spectacular Washington coastline stretches from the northern point Portage Head rocks to the Point of the Arches in the South.

Permits can be made for beach side camping either north or south of the only “fresh water” source Petroleum creek. The premium sites seem to be the closest to the Point of Arches on the south end of Shi Shi beach. Pick a site along the beach above the high-tide line and post your permit on the outside of your tent.

The coast can be much cooler and foggier than inland be prepared for misty cool, foggy conditions even in summer.

Pick a time at low tide to explore the sea stacks and tide pools at Point of the Arches. This other worldly environment is a special place, sea stacks, sea arches, with tide pools filled with starfish, urchin, crabs, as well as other tiny fish and creatures.

Sadly we did see some evidence of wasting disease among some of the colorful starfish.

Take time to savor Point of the Arches and tide pools before making the return trip.


Learn more about The Point of the Arches and 99 other classic Washington Hikes in Craig Romano’s 100 Classic Hikes Washington by Mountaineers Books.


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