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Hole-in-the-Wall

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Hike to a real hole in the wall of a place: a genuine natural sea arch carved by surf and wind in an out-of-the-way section of the wild Olympic Coast. And while the Hole-in-the-Wall is an outstandingly beautiful place, the hike there via Rialto Beach doesn't exactly suffer from a dearth of spectacular scenery. Flanked by sea stacks, lined with giant logs, windswept and strewn with cobblestones, Rialto has all the makings of an Olympic wilderness beach. But unlike its wild counterparts, you don't have to hike very far to get here. The beautiful beach begins right from the parking lot.

Rialto Beach stretches northward from the Quillayute River for over 3 miles. From the parking lot it's a 2-mile hike to the beach's northern boundary at Hole-in-the-Wall. This dramatic sea arch can only be hiked through during low tides. However, the beach can be hiked during almost any tide. But before you bound across the surf-blasted beach, gaze seaward out to high-bluffed, forest-capped James Island. Guarding the mouth of the Quillayute like a sentinel, for centuries this island acted as a natural fortress, protecting the Quileute people from northern invaders.

Begin your hike northward across Rialto Beach. Like a giant split-rail fence, surf-battered logs line the beach. Admire their symmetry, but never climb on them during high tides; a wave can easily jostle them loose, trapping and endangering you.

A salt-blasted maritime forest rises behind the rows of downed timber. Look for eagles perched in the higher trees. Along the gently sloping beach, 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. Sculpted sea stacks, shelved ledges, and battered offshore islands will keep you oohing and aahing.

At 1 mile you'll come to Ellen Creek, the end of the line for four-legged beach hikers. Crossing Ellen Creek may be tricky. Look for a log, or take your boots off and plod through the tannic and chilled waters. Hole-in-the-Wall, now coming nicely into view, lies 1 mile farther.

Once you hit the Hole-in-the-Wall, if the tide is out stroll through it for a whole new meaning to barrier-free hiking. Comb the adjacent tidal pools. Hike up the short overland trail that guarantees passage around this landform if the tide is in. The view of Rialto from the crest of the bluff is a classic, endlessly replicated in murals, photos, and memories.
Driving Directions:

From Port Angeles follow US 101 west for 55 miles to the junction with State Route 110 (signed "Mora-La Push"). (From Forks the junction is 2 miles north.) Continue west on SR 110. In 7.7 miles at Quillayute Prairie, SR 110 splits. Take the right fork (Mora Road), proceeding 5 miles to the road's end and the trailhead. Water and restrooms available.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 10 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Hole-in-the-Wall — Feb 14, 2014 — Krista Dooley
Day hike
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Why not celebrate Valentine's Day on the coast after checking out the Twilight tour in Forks? As...
Why not celebrate Valentine's Day on the coast after checking out the Twilight tour in Forks?

As the tide was going out we had a great walk along the beach to the Hole-in-the-Wall. At the trailhead there was a collection of walking sticks available to use. While the tide was going out, we had to use a large log to cross a stream.

This is an easy hike to enjoy with some good opportunities to explore tidepools around the Hole-in-the-Wall.
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Rialto Beach, Norwegian Memorial, Chilean Memorial, Sand Point, Hole-in-the-Wall — Dec 28, 2013 — Stefani
Multi-night backpack
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The weather held out perfectly for a weekend adventure. 3 days 2 nights, camped at Cedar Creek and Y...
The weather held out perfectly for a weekend adventure. 3 days 2 nights, camped at Cedar Creek and Yellow Banks. Not many people past Rialto until we got to Sand Point.

Pictures:
http://stumpystray.blogspot[…]ures-la-push-to-ozette.html
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Hole-in-the-Wall — Jul 21, 2013 — bb
Day hike
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We started about 3pm to take advantage of the evening low tide and were well rewarded. The weather w...
We started about 3pm to take advantage of the evening low tide and were well rewarded. The weather was something like a very low overcast or light mist but that actually added to the other worldly scene between the forest and the surf. We had lots of company but there is plenty of room for all. Ellen Creek is easily crossed so don’t worry about that one bit – even easier than most muddy trails. On the way to Hole-in-the-Wall we saw 2 eagles perched in dead snags, people watching I guess. There are numerous sea stacks to explore and at low tide there is an abundance of tide pool life. Hole-in-the-Wall is reached before long and is the subject of countless photo sessions. Actually one of the earlier sea stacks has a hole that could possibly be reached during the morning (6am!) low tide or one of those super low tide days. On the way back we saw a seal and several cormorants grabbing dinner while the sea gulls seemed content with playing in the surf.
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Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach — Apr 29, 2013 — raring2hike
Day hike
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Taking advantage of the minus tides, we spent 3 days on the beaches near La Push. Day 2 was dedicat...
Taking advantage of the minus tides, we spent 3 days on the beaches near La Push. Day 2 was dedicated to hiking to Hole-in-the-Wall. The weather was far from ideal with strong winds and frequent rain showers but in between these unpleasant weather patterns, we delighted in the sun breaks and even were treated to several rainbows.

Our biggest concern was the crossing of Ellen Creek about half way to Hole-in-the-Wall. When we reached Ellen Creek, we weren't sure what would be the best way to cross. My husband decided to try finding logs upstream while I chose to remove my shoes and socks and find the shallowest part to wade across. Ellen Creek was calm and smooth upstream but looked very deep. The lower part appeared very swift almost making me dizzy just looking at it rushing past. Fortunately, it was close to low tide and the mouth of the creek didn't appear to be very deep so that was where I headed. By now my husband had already safely crossed the logs (though he did say they were wet and slippery and I would not have liked crossing on them) and was waiting for me on the other side. The water was only ankle deep though splashed up to my knees as I walked. The water was swift and as I looked down and saw 5-inch diameter rocks rolling past me and the rushing water making me dizzy, I froze and clung to my walking pole. Then I realized looking down was a bad idea so I changed my focus to the other side where I was headed and soon I too was standing safely on dry sand. On the way back we both just crossed at the mouth; it was no big deal the second time through.

After exploring the tide pools and walking through Hole-in-the-Wall, we climbed the overland trail to get a nice view of the sea stacks and beach below.
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Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach — Jun 30, 2012 — banfennid
Day hike
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It was a beautiful rainy day when we started out around 2 PM -- almost no one was out due to the wea...
It was a beautiful rainy day when we started out around 2 PM -- almost no one was out due to the weather. Still, we had an easy walk from Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall. The tide wasn't a problem for us as we'd timed it well, and while it was raining it wasn't dangerously stormy. Climbing the trees to cross Ellen Creek was fairly easy -- they are slippery, but they're also really wide. The beach is a mix of pebble gravel, larger rocks, and sand. It's harder going than most trails, but it does have the arguable virtue of being almost entirely flat. We didn't see much wildlife due to the weather, just two gulls and a raven. Once you get to the tidepools on the far side of Hole in the Wall, though, there are starfish and anemones.

Unfortunately, some of the trash from the Japanese tsunami has started to come in. We'd read about that on CoastSavers and come prepared. My companion and I packed out about half a lawn and leaf bag of Styrofoam and plastics out with us, along with some random pieces of clearly American litter. There was almost nothing on the Rialto side of Hole in the Wall, but it gets worse further north where fewer folks hike.

Still, a beautiful hike, and we were happy to help preserve such a gorgeous place.
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Eric Jain.JPG
Hole in the Wall. Photo By Eric Jain.
Location
Olympics -- Coast
Olymic National Park, Wilderness Information Center
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Features
Coast
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Ozette No. 130S
Custom Correct North Olympic Coast

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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