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Second Beach

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Just south of the village of La Push are three Olympic Coast charms: First, Second, and Third Beaches. Each one is sandy and broad and hemmed in by dramatic bluffs and headlands. And while they're in close proximity to each other, you can't hike from one to the next because those headlands block the way. With roadside access, First Beach is the easiest to get to and so can be crowded. Third Beach requires a 1.2-mile slog down a forested trail. But Second Beach is just right: a hike just long enough to discourage crowds, yet short enough to encourage all who want to see this beautiful beach.

Well-constructed and well-maintained, the trail starts on the Quileute Indian Reservation. Immediately cross a small creek lined with imposing Sitka spruce before beginning a short climb. At the height of the land enter Olympic National Park, and then begin a short, steep descent to the beach, the distant surf growing louder with each step you take. Soon, start catching glimpses of offshore sea stacks through the surrounding towering spruce. Before you know it, emerge on the log-lined shore. Take a deep breath. The beauty of this place just may leave you short of breath.

You can hike a short distance along the beach northward. Do it, for it'll lead you to a natural arch. But to really stretch your legs and get the most out of Second Beach, head south. Over 1 mile of sandy beach awaits your footprints.

Immediately offshore is a consortium of battered islets and sea stacks known as the Quillayute Needles. Crying Lady Rock is the largest of the batch. These forbidding landmarks are part of the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. Inhospitable to humans, they're productive breeding grounds to thousands of seabirds, oystercatchers, murres, gulls, petrels, cormorants, and auklets among them.

Continue wandering. Taste the salty spray coming off the crashing breakers. Eventually you'll come to an impasse, the headland named Teahwhit Head. But before you turn around and retrace your steps, scan the rugged bluff. Teahwhit Head is also graced with a natural arch. In retrospect you may conclude that with two arches, an awesome seascape, scores of pelagic birds, and an inviting sandy shoreline, Second Beach is second to none.
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 left fork (La Push Road), and drive 5.2 miles to the trailhead, located on the south side of the road (you'll pass the Third Beach/Hike 120 trailhead and the Quileute tribal office).

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 20 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Second Beach — Jul 17, 2013 — Amishaimee
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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I took my 13 year old and 3 year old daughter on this haike. I really had no idea how many hills the...
I took my 13 year old and 3 year old daughter on this haike. I really had no idea how many hills there were but we had a blast and all walked out just fine. It would be a great beach to hike on.
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Second Beach — Jul 05, 2013 — seattlegraham
Day hike
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Hiked to this beach early in the a.m. during low tide. Campers were still asleep and the skies were...
Hiked to this beach early in the a.m. during low tide. Campers were still asleep and the skies were grey with marine fog. It was a romantic and wonderful walk along the beach - had the beach to ourselves. The beach gets quite broad at low tide and there are tidal pools full of marine life. As the tide came up the beach disappeared quickly so be observant of the tide. One of the most beautiful stretches of beach I've seen in the world.
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Second Beach — May 04, 2013 — Kahrin
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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My daughter had so much fun on the previous's week backpakcing trip that she wanted to do another on...
My daughter had so much fun on the previous's week backpakcing trip that she wanted to do another one. So we decided on going to Second Beach. And let me tell you it was the best decision ever. Firts of all, I want to Thank all the WTA volunteers who have done an amazing job on this trail, I am sure it was no easy feat bringing all that gravel in!! Second, we just happened to have the unbelivable weather. The temperatures were in the 80"s, amazing beautiful blue skies. And ohhh so orange sunsets. Aside form a couple of backpackers we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. There were lots of day hikers, but they kept pretty much close to were the trail in the tree area begins.
There are tidepools that are covered with starfish, now we know where all of them hang out ;). All in all it was great, and we are definetely coming back. Happy trails everyone and get out and enjoy this wonderful weather while you can :)
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Second Beach — May 04, 2013 — seattlenativemike
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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First off, thanks to the many WTA volunteers who clearly lugged tons of gravel and wood into this ar...
First off, thanks to the many WTA volunteers who clearly lugged tons of gravel and wood into this area to fix up the trail. It was an astounding improvement and much appreciated.

We got here about 6pm to catch the sunset and hopefully get some cool low tide reflections. The tide was coming in but it was still a great evening to be on the beach. Many campers, a few photographers, the usual one lost person at the trailhead who couldn't "find the beach". All worked out well and we took some photos, savored a few warm breezes and then headed into town for some spectacular pizza at Pacific Pizza.
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Second Beach — Apr 30, 2013 — raring2hike
Day hike
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Wanting to take advantage of the minus tides during daylight hours, we headed to La Push for 3 days....
Wanting to take advantage of the minus tides during daylight hours, we headed to La Push for 3 days. Arriving late in the afternoon, but too early to check-in at the cabin, we decided to hike to Second Beach since it was the shortest trail at less than 1 mile to the beach. Having only hiked at Shi Shi Beach on the coast previously, we were absolutely astounded at the trail work to Second Beach; fresh gravel, raised steps, just a lovely trail the entire way. Checking the recent trip reports, I learned why the trail was so perfect: it was the location of "WTA’s first Volunteer Vacation of 2013." Many thanks to this crew for the hard work and beautiful trail.

We arrived at high tide but with still enough sand to enjoy strolling towards the natural bridge to the north and then a little ways south past some sea stacks.

After spending day 2 of our trip at Hole-in-the-Wall and Third Beach, we chose to return to Second Beach on our last day. This time we arrived at the beach 2 hours before a -1 tide and headed to the far south where we explored sea stacks and tide pools and spotted the other natural bridge far off shore.

We determined there was a lot more sea life at the south end and well worth the mile or more of beach walking. As we were leaving the beach about a half-hour after low tide, we pasted many groups coming in. We'd recommend arriving 2 hours before the low tide which allows plenty of time to explore all the tide pools and sea stacks well before any danger of in-coming tides cutting off access.

And one more aspect that added joy to this hike -- we spotted several Wilson's Warblers in the deciduous trees lining the trail. Their chattering trill and bright yellow body with black cap made them easy to identify.
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secondbeach.jpg
Second Beach, by Galiwalker.
WTA worked here!
2013
Location
Second Beach (#22)
Olympics -- Coast
Olympic National Park
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain 350 ft
Highest Point 250 ft
Features
Coast
User info
Good for kids
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails La Push No. 163S
Custom Correct South 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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