Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches, Shi Shi Beach Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches - 8.6 Miles
Shi Shi Beach Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||8.6 Miles ((includes beach walk to Point of the Arches))|
|Start-End Elevation:||75' - 0' (198' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-75' net elevation loss (+352' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Shi Shi Beach is located just west of Neah Bay and the Makah Indian Reservation in Olympic National Park.
Shi Shi Beach (pronounced shy shy) stretches 2.3 miles south to Point of the Arches, a complex of sea stacks, grottos, arches and tide pools at the northwestern-most tip of the continental United States.
Note: A $10 Makah Recreation Pass is required in addition to National Park fees. These can be purchased at several locations in Neah Bay. Overnight parking is not permitted at the Shi Shi Beach Trailhead. Overnight parking can be secured from private landowners .6 miles before reaching the trailhead:
The trail begins in a new-growth forest to a boardwalk lined with salal and salmonberry. Salmonberry is particularly abundant along the trail, producing quantities of edible fruit by late June.
The trail forks right (.25 miles) into a markedly older hemlock - spruce forest with large ferns and skunk cabbage. It crosses two bridges and pitches up through intervals of boardwalk and narrow, head high brush.
The trail rises to a second fork and bears right on a perennially muddy road bed (.75 miles : 120'). Social trails parallel the main to avoid the worst spots, but with only nominal improvement.
You'll reach the National Park Boundary at 2.0 miles and drop 160' with rope assistance to Shi Shi Beach (2.05 miles). Turn left (south) toward Point of the Arches and look for bald eagles as you progress.
The beach is wide and obstacle-free, with only Willoughby and Petroleum creeks to cross (3.5 miles) before reaching Point of the Arches (4.3 miles).
Tide pools are easy to access on the north side, but are only exposed at low tide. A short, rugged scramble leads south to second and third coves with a matrix of tide pools and sea stacks.
Be mindful of tides, as passages between tide pools, coves, and sea stacks can quickly close and make the return quite difficult.
Beach travel ends at 5.35 miles, where a steep, rope-assisted headland climb drops into a fourth cove (5.85 miles). It immediately scales another headland and drops to a fifth cove on the north edge of Seafield Beach.
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N48 17.622 W124 39.918 — 0.0 miles : Shi Shi Beach Trailhead
- N48 17.615 W124 40.590 — .5 miles : Level travel through coastal forest
- N48 17.517 W124 40.688 — .75 miles : Bear right at marked fork
- N48 16.965 W124 40.824 — 1.45 miles : Muddy travel in hemlock forest
- N48 16.495 W124 40.710 — 2.0 miles : National Park Boundary
- N48 16.501 W124 40.791 — 2.05 miles : Shi Shi Beach
- N48 15.333 W124 41.088 — 3.45 miles : Cross Petroleum Creek
- N48 14.853 W124 41.933 — 4.3 miles : Point of the Arches
- N48 14.413 W124 42.288 — 5.35 miles : Rope climb over headland #1
- N48 14.227 W124 42.107 — 5.8 miles : Rope climb over headland #2
- N48 13.819 W124 41.925 — 6.45 miles : North edge of Seafield Creek Beach
- The Shi Shi Beach Trail is well-defined but variously overgrown, slippery, and muddy. Wear good shoes and expect a few blind turns through the brush. Carry extra socks for the ride home.
- Expect large crowds at Shi Shi Beach, especially on summer weekends.
- Tide knowledge is critical to safe exploration of Point of the Arches' tide pools, coves, and sea stacks. It's possible to become stranded by high tides with no outlet at Point of the Arches.
- The Intertidal Zone is a coastal area exposed to air at low tide and submerged at high tide. Sub-regions and micro-habitats within support specially adapted marine organisms such as anemones, barnacles, sea stars, urchins, crabs, mussels, snails, sea cucumbers, sponges and kelp. Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches are among the best places in Olympic National Park to explore this life zone.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- There's a $5 registration fee per group, plus $2 per person (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time. Self-registration trailheads have forms, permits, and submission boxes.
- Food Storage and Bear Canisters: All food and scented items must be secured 24 hours a day. Hard-sided canisters are required on all beaches in Olympic National Park.
- Fires: Driftwood fires are permitted at Shi Shi Beach.
- Water: Water is available from Willoughby and Petroleum creeks. Note that it's stained with tannins leached from decaying matter in the forest.
- Camp in pre-existing sites only. Some sites are accessible south of the beach access point along a social trail just behind the beach. Other sites are accessible by walking the beach toward Point of the Arches.
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
- A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
- Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
- The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
- Additionally, a $10 Makah Recreation Pass is required to access Shi Shi Beach. These can be purchased at the museum, and from several stores in Neah Bay.
- Pets are not permitted on Shi Sii Beach.
The Shi Shi Beach Trailhead is located in Neah Bay, 70 miles from the US 101 - Highway 112 intersection (just west of Port Angeles).
Drive west from Port Angeles on US 101 to Highway 112. Take 112 north 64 miles to Neah Bay (you'll pass through Clallam Bay and Sekiu en route).
At the west end of Neah Bay, turn left on Cape Flattery Road and drive approximately 2 miles to the Wa'Atch bridge. Turn left and cross the bridge, where you'll come to a fork. Bear left on Hobuck Road, which becomes Sooes Beach Road (note that either fork will eventually lead to the TH). Follow Hobuck / Sooes Beach Road to the trailhead on the right.
Note that overnight parking is not permitted in this lot. Overnight parking can be secured from private landowners (marked by signs) .6 miles before reaching the trailhead.
Road in this area can be confusing. Pickup a map along with your Makah Recreation Pass before leaving downtown Neah Bay.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office