Location: Olympic Peninsula Coast
Land Agency: Olympic National Park
Roundtrip: 4.0 miles
Green Trails Map: Ozette, WA no. 130S
Elevation Gain: None
Contact: Olympic National Park
Access: From Forks, drive west on SR 110 to Quillayute Prairie. Here SR 110 splits. Bear right (Mora Road), and drive 5.0 miles to the trailhead at road’s end.
Notes: Dogs permitted on leash up to Ellen Creek.
Good to Know: Kid-friendly, dog-friendly (partial), Snow free winter hike
Flanked by sea stacks and lined with giant logs, windswept Rialto has all the makings of an Olympic wilderness beach. But unlike its wild counterparts; Shi
Shi, Cape Alava, and Toleak Point, you don’t have to hike very far to get here. The beautiful beach begins right from the parking lot.
If the tide is high, venture south along a narrow spit of beach that reaches to the mouth of the Quillayute River. Gaze out at the high-bluffed, forest-capped James Island. Guarding the mouth of the river like a sentinel, for centuries James acted as a natural fortress—protecting the Quileute people from northern invaders.
Along the spit scope the surf and outlying islands for sea birds and marine animals. A myriad of species make their home here where the sediment-rich waters of rainforest rivers meld into the turbulent Pacific.
Rialto Beach stretches northward from the Quillayute River for more than two miles. From the parking lot it’s a 1.7 mile hike to the beach’s northern boundary—the natural barrier, Hole in the Wall. A dramatic sea arch, Hole in the Wall can only be hiked through during low tides. However, the beach to Hole in the Wall can be hiked to during almost any tide.
En route count eagles perched above on salt-sprayed contorted evergreens lining the shore. Listen for the ringing crik-crik-crik of the black oystercatcher. Watch the swelling surf for guillemots, scoters, grebes, and harlequin ducks. Don’t forget to admire the scenery, too of sculpted sea stacks, shelved ledges, and battered off-shore islands. And once you hit the Hole in the Wall, be sure to hike up the short overland trail that guarantees passage around this landform. The view of Rialto from the crest of this bluff is a classic—endlessly captured in photos and memories.
Rialto Beach is one of the 125 hikes featured in my best-selling Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula Book. Pick up your copy today of this thorough guide to trails from the Long Beach Peninsula to the Quimper Peninsula.
For great tips on family friendly lodging and other things to do on the Olympic Peninsula, check out Northwest TripFinder.