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Third Beach

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An easy hike to one of the Olympic Coast's famed wilderness beaches. Walk the wide sandy beach to the foot of a waterfall tumbling from a towering bluff right into the crashing surf. Feeling more energetic? Leave the crowds behind by grunting over Taylor Point to a secluded beach flanked by steep sea stacks and flower pot islands.

Start off on an old road through a scrappy forest of Sitka spruce, hemlock, and alder. The trail has been greatly improved over the last decade. No longer are you at risk of being swallowed by a mud hole on the way to Third Beach. After 0.5 mile the trail veers left, leaving the old road and entering a more attractive forest.

Continue walking and soon you'll hear the surf and taste the salty air. Begin a slow descent, and after 1.3 miles of hiking, voila -the beach! Hemmed in by two imposing headlands, Teahwhit Head and Taylor Point, Third Beach extends for about a mile along Strawberry Bay. Hard to imagine that this wild sweep of coastline was once explored for oil. Luckily for the integrity of the environment and for us hikers, the drillings never proved abundant or profitable.

If you care to escape Third Beach's frequent crowds, hike left (south) 0.5 mile toward the overland trail to admire a waterfall plunging from its heights straight into the pounding waves below.

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 proceed 3.8 miles to the trailhead, located on the south side of the road. Privy available.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 45 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Third Beach — May 27, 2011 — Hiker Kirk
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mudholes
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Hiked from Oil City to Third Beach on the Olympic National Park in Washington State. Rope ladders a...
Hiked from Oil City to Third Beach on the Olympic National Park in Washington State. Rope ladders are great. Someone has been keeping this hike in great condition. We hiked on the beach and we had fire on the beach. Overland portion of the hike was in good but "muddy" condition.

Saw quite a few other hikers over Memorial Day. One group went around Taylor point which on the maps says not to attempt (Danger on maps). Sure enough, they got stuck at the end of Taylor Point heading south to north about 40 yards from the beach and had to wait on the rocks about 30 feet up from the surf! I don't think there dates were much impressed. I called the ranger and left another couple watching them at 3:30 in the afternoon with low tide around 5:30 pm. They were on the rocks in space blankets from 9:30 am (beware, don't attempt to hike around rocks that are marked as "danger").

The park service lets people camp on the beach and make camp fires on the beach (so everyone said). This is a great hike that I have talked to others that had teen age children and they did this hike without any problems!

We didn't have very much hiking between camp sites since this is only a 17.2 mile hike between Oil City and Third beach parking lot. We left one car at Third Beach and left at Oil city and headed north for 3 day easy hike. Not too many rocks compared to the hike we did from Lake Ozett to Rialto Beach. Just check on the tides and carry the tide chart with you (I recommend).

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Third Beach — Sep 03, 2010 — Susan Elderkin
Day hike
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Our third hike of the Labor Day holiday - this time with my parents and my son. Even though they ...
Our third hike of the Labor Day holiday - this time with my parents and my son.

Even though they are so close, the hike in to Third Beach is notably different than Second Beach. The hike is twice as long (1.5 miles one-way) and starts higher, so it is much more level. But it's the forest that is so different. As I mentioned in my Trip Report for Second Beach, that forest is super spooky. But the forest here is just regular. Nothing scary about it, though it does sport a lot of shelf fungus.

Various guidebooks describe a big logjam to climb over to reach Third Beach, but it must have been washed away. No scrambling required. In fact, once on the beach there is almost no driftwood to be found. This is a bit of a disappointment, because it is really fun for kids to play on or around.

Since the tide was high and tidepools under water, we spent our time making and decorating sand fish on the beach. The sand here is wonderful - soft and moldable. We wandered a bit down the beach, then returned up the trail.
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South Coast Hike, Third Beach, Toleak Point — Aug 29, 2010 — copisetter
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mud/Rockslide | Water on trail
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We started from the Third Beach trailhead around 1:30pm on Sunday and passed a number of weekend hik...
We started from the Third Beach trailhead around 1:30pm on Sunday and passed a number of weekend hikers and backpackers heading out of the forest. The trailhead privy was well stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The 1.4 mile trail down to the beach was mellow and fairly wide.

As soon as we got down to the beach we saw some dolphins and seals playing in the surf- not a bad way to start the trip! From there we continued down the beach and up the rope ladders (not for the faint of heart) to the next few beaches, ultimately ending up at the awesome campsite at Scotts Creek. It took less than two hours to get there and we settled in for the afternoon with an early dinner and walk south to check out the tide pools at low tide. There we saw dozens of purple and red starfish and green anemones. If you're looking to explore some tide pools, these were the best we saw on our short trip.

We woke up to a gorgeous day and headed south around 9am for some more exploring while the tide was low. We made it all the way past Toleak Point where you can look out and see Alexander Island after crossing Goodman Creek. The ladders south of Toleak had some wooden pieces missing making the climb a little spicier than usual. We only saw about 2 or 3 other couples throughout the entire day and otherwise had the beaches to ourselves. We saw a bunch of banana slugs, wildflowers, birds, one bald eagle, and some seals and otters throughout the day. The blueberries were just a week or so too ripe for eating.

We had turned around and had lunch back at the south end of Toleak Point around 1pm, just in time to beat high tide at camp. It was definitely helpful to have water shoes (Chacos/Keens,etc) as the rocks were slippery and we had to wade through the water a few times coming back. The point just south of Scotts Creek is impassable at high tide but there is an unofficial trail just behind it that we found and used with ease. We made it back to camp by 4pm just in time for naps and an early dinner. Since we had to get out early the next day, we packed up and hiked 1.5 hours back to Third Beach to camp for the night, arriving just before sunset. As we woke up to pouring rain, we were happy to only have to hike out 1.4 miles to the trailhead. Overall, a wonderful and very unique adventure!




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Third Beach — Jun 03, 2010 — CougarInTraining
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail
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While this beach isn't as pretty as Second Beach, it is beautiful in it's own way. The sounds of th...
While this beach isn't as pretty as Second Beach, it is beautiful in it's own way. The sounds of the beach are louder than either of the other two La Push beaches, as the waves are much larger and come crashing in at a rather high pace when the tide is coming in. Probably the best La Push beach to camp on. The trail is well kept, minus the very end where you have to either rock hop over a small creek or do some tedious maneuvering through washed up logs.
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Third Beach — Feb 14, 2010 — Tiggerldy
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
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This was a great hike, even in mid-February. The weather was very un-coast-like. It was warm, not ...
This was a great hike, even in mid-February. The weather was very un-coast-like. It was warm, not windy and dry. The parking area was fairly crowded. Since it is still the "wet" season (is there a dry season here?), there were was some muddy spots, but nothing a good pair of hiking boots can't handle. The first half mile or so is through a younger forest that looks as though it was logged in the last 30 years or so. Once the path turns 90 degrees you enter the 1921 storm blowdown area. This area was victim to a freak wind storm in 1921, where the winds were over 170 MPH!! The storm flattened the forest. The current forest has grown since 1921. There are winter 2009/2010 windfalls in three places on the trail. They should all be removed soon, according to the very nice ranger we met on the trail. The first and secons are fairly close together. The first you should look to the left and use the roots and debris as steps to get up and over the tree. Swing a leg over, straddle the tree and gently slide down teh other side. The second is leaning across the path on the root ball of another windfall. The hole left by the root ball is full of water and very muddy. Either a) got the left again and repeat the same procedure as the first one, or b) use the remaining branches on the tree to swing your body under the right side of the tree (swinging over the mud). The path will eventually get steeper and switchback-y. There are two benches, but one is moss covered. Enjoy this part, it gets steeper and muddier at the cliff edge/creek ravine. Stay on teh main path!!!! The slope here is clay and when it is wet no monster tredded hiking boots in the world will stop the sliding. About 25 feet from the bottom a tree has fallen up the hill. It snapped in half and the top lies parallel to the bottom. (yeah, fun!) Don't panic! This will be removed soon, the ranger said. If it is still there then follow these instructions, unless you are under 3 feet tall. Go over the first branch, it is skinny and flexible. Grab teh protruding branch in teh center of the trunk, hold on here! Carefully, swing your left leg around the trunk. WATCH YOUR FOOTING HERE! You are on teh endge of the cliff and again it is slick clay. holding on still swing your right leg around as well. Remove your pack and duck under the second trunk. My friends and I dislodged a few branches and tossed them down the ravine to make this easier path. (they were already loose, just stuck on other branches) At this point continue to the end of the path and over the logs to the beach. My friends went over the logs and to the south on the beach. (I can't clibs all those logs safely.) There is a slide that has given birth to a waterfall and small creek.

Thanks to the ranger who advised us of the pending clean up!!!!
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Third Beach.jpg
Photo by Slugman.
Location
Third Beach (#23)
Olympics -- Coast
Olympic National Park
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain 280 ft
Highest Point 280 ft
Features
Coast
Waterfalls
Old growth
Wildlife
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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