Sites are scattered along the beach and in the forest. Obtain permits in person at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles or at the South Shore Lake Quinault Ranger Station. Call for hours. Before your trip, contact the WIC at 360-565-3100. If you are hiking south of Shi Shi beach & camping, reservations are required May 1 through Sept. 30.
Miles of epic Beach views, absolutely enchanting place. Maka tribal Hatchery close too. Nice locals, very clean.
A short hike in brings you to a gorgeous secluded beach! Camp sites are far enough apart that you feel like you have the place practically to yourself. No amenities but if you are looking for secluded beauty this place is for you!
Warning: Shi Shi beach is not for everyone. This is a hike in primitive camping with no amenities other than one pit toilet. But if you fancy yourself a backpacker this is one of the easiest hike in for with the biggest payoff, a stunning beach practically to yourself.
The trail itself isn't long. It's only a 4 mile hike to get into the beach. So this is pretty easy for backpackers. There isn't a huge incline like most hikes you actually walking on flat ground most of the time then there is a fairly short and steep decent down to the beach. There is actually a couple rope ties that you can hold it's so steep the last couple yards.
As easy as the hike in is beware its ALWAYS muddy. Yes always.. spring summer and the dead of August. Every time I've hiked it the trail has been muddy. The kind of mud that your feet sink into a few inches. (I think it's actually a light stream that dissipates on the trail) So select your foot ware accordingly and plan your timing accordingly as it's a bit slower to walk in mud than dry dirt.
Words can't express how stunning this beach is. You have the choice of setting up camp in a half dozen camping spots at the base of the trail in the trees or make your own camp out on the beach. But beware the wind and tides come in so still tuck up against the banks if you hike down the beach to set up camp.
If you walk to the end of the beach there are stunning formations and rocks to admire. Oh and there are several bald eagle nests along the edge of the beach. You will see more eagles in one weekend then you have in a lifetime. We saw about 10 stunning bald eagles that were flying around camp and even landing on the beach right in front of our tent.
“Where is Shi Shi Beach?” was the most common question I got when telling people where I was off to for my long weekend away. If you live in Seattle like me you’ll drive, you may take a ferry, and then you will drive some more before making the 4+ mile hike in to your camping spot. Something to note about camping at Shi Shi Beach is that you will need two permits, you’ll want to bring cash to pay for parking, and you’ll need a bear canister. You can pick up the bear cannister and your first permit in Port Angeles at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center. The little Visitor Center is worth the stop, there are friendly Olympic National Park employees that will tell you everything you need to know, get you your bear canister and your permit, and send you happily on your way. They’ll also tell you at the visitors center that you’ll have to pick up another pass from the Makah Indian reservation (this can be purchased at a gas station in town) you’ll see the gas station once you enter the reservation and start driving through town. After all that you’ll finish the short remainder of the drive to Shi Shi beach, the best place to park is on one of the two private properties that offer parking on their land for cash. The benefit of this is that no one will mess with your car, and you are a short walk from the trailhead. Remember you are backpacking over 4 miles to your camping spot, so pack appropriately, and you are in Washington -- so it might rain! Rain gear is lightweight so I would say just bring it in case. You will also need to make sure your food items will fit in a bear cannister (so don’t bring a whole chicken ;) and you will need to pump your own water from one of two water sources on the beach. Make sure you bring a pump and not the little tablets that you drop into your water, that does not work on this water according to the rangers. They recommend that you filter it before you boil it too. Once you get through all the packing, permits, preparation, and driving you are in for a treat! You’ll take a short walk down to the trailhead from the parking lot and then you slip into the woods. Once you enter the woods you will be completely encased in a canopy of trees, and it is beautiful. There are several little bridges and walkways you will pass by on your way, and a section with benches for a rest. Once you get past the easy part of the trail you will come upon the part that is usually wet. Chances are you will be hiking at least a mile on the wet, muddy part of the trail. At the end of the wooded part of the trail there are two sections where you told onto ropes to help you down because it is very steep! Be careful at this part as that would be a very lame start to your trip to twist your ankle. Shortly after the ropes you will be down on the beach. Walking on the beach is the most comfortable part of the trip, but if you want to camp close to the water source you’ll have to hike quite a ways more once you get to the beach. You can camp in the woods so you will be somewhat protected by the trees, or you can set up your tent right on the beach. Either way you will wake up each morning to glorious views and the wonderful smell of saltwater in the air. Hopefully you will be there at a time where you will catch a sunset or two. My favorite part about camping is always exploring, and drinking that camp coffee. These are two things that are amazing at Shi Shi beach because of the view and the ocean air. You can also hike the beach, or the woods, and explore the awesome tidepools. The views are amazing no matter which way you look, and you will not be disappointed by this amazing spot. This is a place that anyone who fancies him/herself an outdoor person should make at least once in their life!