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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 — Apr 29, 2013 — raring2hike
Day hike
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Taking advantage of minus tides, we spent 3 days on the beaches near La Push. Since the week's minu...
Taking advantage of minus tides, we spent 3 days on the beaches near La Push. Since the week's minus tides occurred early in the morning and we'd used our window of low-tide-opportunity to hike to Hole-in-the-Wall, we decided to check out Third Beach in the afternoon which was during a higher tide. This beach is a lovely sandy beach, but since we find the sea stacks and tide pools more interesting, we just headed south, looked at the waterfall and then headed back. Next time we'll plan to take the WTA guide's advice and explore beyond the waterfall to "Taylor Point to a secluded beach flanked by steep sea stacks and flower pot islands."

We thoroughly enjoyed the 1.3 mile trail to the beach which is in pretty good condition with only a couple muddy spots—nothing serious. We were awed by the backlit lacy hemlock branches of the saplings contrasting with the dark, slender trunks of the mature trees.

The only slightly challenging part of the trail was when we arrived at the beach. We needed to cross the creek by climbing over logs or wading. We chose to climb over the logs which proved a bit of a chore for my short legs. Maybe I should have ducked under a log or waded or maybe there's a better method of reaching the beach which we missed.
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Third Beach — Sep 27, 2012 — where's my toque
Multi-night backpack
Features: Ripe berries
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Four of us took in an out-and-back three-night trip out to the Olympic coastline, starting and endin...
Four of us took in an out-and-back three-night trip out to the Olympic coastline, starting and ending at Third Beach and going as far as Mosquito Creek. Gorgeous weather and clear beach greeted us on day 1, day 2 was misty and the tide turbulent, sunny but much beach debris on days 3-4. Trail clear for most part, although markers weren't very clear at the two consecutive creek fordings--look for small orange flags. Fires were permitted only within high tide line. Creek water safe to drink after filtering (Giardia incl.) or boiling, clearest at Toleak Point. Chilly but above freezing overnight. Elk, deer, bald eagle, river otter sightings, one set of fresh bear tracks found in sand on day 4 near Strawberry Bay. Very little human traffic. Wonderful hike, felt like summer still, wore shorts and T-shirts during the day!
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Third Beach, South Coast Wilderness Trail - Toleak Point — Jun 22, 2012 — Cary
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Overgrown | Mud/Rockslide | Mudholes | Water on trail
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Arrived at Third Beach parking lot to learn that a car there had been broken into the night before a...
Arrived at Third Beach parking lot to learn that a car there had been broken into the night before and a cooler had been stolen from under a truck while hikers were sleeping inside. Permit box at parking lot did not have any more permits in it. Taylor Point headland trail extremely muddy, long stretches of standing water and deep mud on trails but no blowdowns. Giant's ladder that used to be at north side of Taylor Point headwall has been washed away. Both Taylor Point and Scotts Bluff have hiker-hung ropes to help with steep muddy scramble up slopes that require use of hands. Headwall trail markers are very tough to find because they are faded or have washed away. Trail improvements that have been installed, like stairs and giant's ladders, are in disrepair. Pit toilet on North side of Toleak point has been repaired. Eight or more parties camped at Toleak the nights we were there. Plan on taking your time to enjoy the birds in the woods and the tidepools on the coast. Tide tables and the ability to use them is critical for safe passage and enjoyment of this route.
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Third Beach, South Coast Wilderness Trail - Toleak Point, South Wilderness Beach — May 12, 2012 — PNA
Overnight
Issues: Mud/Rockslide
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A friend was visiting this weekend, and we decided to do a short trip south from the Third Beach tra...
A friend was visiting this weekend, and we decided to do a short trip south from the Third Beach trailhead. There sure are a lot of possible names for this trail in the WTA database - I only included a few, and don't which might be "correct" or "incorrect".

The parking lot was surprisingly uncrowded, given the prolonged forecast for great weather. Numerous people were headed for Toleak Point, but we didn't go that far. The hike to Third Beach is nice, and in pretty good shape. We just kept hiking south from there, crossing up and over Taylor Point. The very first part of the climb up from the beach is steep clay, which was fine when dry, but might be pretty difficult when wet. The forest stretch has some pretty wet mudholes, although they seemed to be drying out quickly. Then the drop down to the next beach is in good shape. We had to go over Scott's Bluff both ways, which is again a steep clay surface on the north end. There is no marker for the north end of the trail!! You just have to look for the ropes going up the slope. This is probably a slippery mess when wet. The south end is all forested and brings you right to Scott Creek, where there are a few campsites in the woods, and a few spots on the sand that are fairly high. We camped there, but walked down as far as Strawberry Point (which has nice campsites on either sand or in the very sparse trees).

Most of these beaches seem to be actively eroding, and probably would not be passable at a high tide or high surf. But they are easy walking for the most part. Bringing gloves could be very helpful when using the ropes - a lot of them are pretty abrasive and quite small diameter.

Didn't see much in the way of wildlife, although there were raccoon, fox (?), deer and otter tracks on the sand. Eagles and robins and winter wrens were about it for birds. We did have very bold mice at night and chipmunks in the daytime - be careful with your food!

Not a lot interesting in the way of flowers - Trillia, elderberries, a twinberry, salmonberries, and the last of the swamp lanterns.

It was a really nice, relaxing, lazy trip to enjoy the nice weather and the sound of the surf. And some bouldering. And walking barefoot in the sand.
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Third Beach — Feb 03, 2012 — Barking Sasquatch
Multi-night backpack
Issues: Blowdowns | Mud/Rockslide | Mudholes
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Two nights south of Third Beach in Olympic National Park, with a day hike from Toleak Point to Goodm...
Two nights south of Third Beach in Olympic National Park, with a day hike from Toleak Point to Goodman Falls

When snow up high prevents access to mountain trailheads, what to do?! Go hike the beach! Tim and I planned this weekend trip back in January, and this weekend’s sunny weather cooperated.

We stayed Friday night at Scott Creek and Saturday night at Toleak Point. We encountered one pair of campers at Scott Creek, saw one site occupied at Strawberry Point, and found several campsites occupied at Toleak.

The only difficult water crossing was Scott Creek. It ran fairly deep all the way to the ocean. Depending on how high and wide it is running, you may be able to cross carefully on a driftwood tangle closer to the woods. The entire trail was passable, but quite muddy in several spots along the overland sections. We found all the ropes in place, but on the Third Beach end of the overland trail across Taylor Point, the trail marker sign was missing. Instead, it was marked with orange forestry tape. Also, because of a muddy landslide, the north end of the overland trail leading to Scott Creek was difficult due to soft, deep mud. You may want to try to choose a route along the rope that has firm dirt, or you may lose a boot to the muck!

A pair of bald eagles hunted over the ocean in view of our Toleak camp site, or perched above us in the tree tops. We talked with campers who had seen an otter on the rocks at low tide. And of course, raccoons abound, and they seem to love hunting in the tide pools that form at low tide.

The sea stacks make for majestic scenery along this entire stretch and help add character and interest to already stunning sunrises, sunsets, and moonsets. Goodman Falls was beautiful.
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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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