A day before leaving the fires had become so bad in the Cascades that we decided to head to the Pacific Coast instead. I’d been wanting to do the South Coast Route for a few years now so thankfully everything was already scouted out & already planned.
The following trip report documents our 19 mile backpacking trip starting at 3rd Beach & Ending at Oil City.
The following photos were lightly processed using Adobe Lightroom only. I’ll be posting some of the “Portfolio Images” from this trip in the coming weeks.
Scouting & Planning
Provided Below are the Resources I Used for This Trip
- Checked Weather
- Checked Tide Charts – Also took printed time chart copy with me.
- Reviewed my Topographic Map of the Area – Click Here & Get the Map – The Nat Geo Map linked also shows locations which require low tide to pass. Use the Tide Report above to calculate crossing times for these locations.
- Pack the Proper Equipment – Click Here for My Backpacking, Travel & Camera Gear List
- Checked Olympic National Parks Backcountry Requirements
Trip / Photography Location Map
By making approximate trip maps for all of my backpacking & photography trips I can easily share my planned route, prior to leaving, for safety reasons.
Along with using Google Maps to scout for trips I also always carry a physical map with me on backpacking trips. For most parks I prefer the National Geographic Maps.
Consider All Map Locations to Be Approximate
Trip Report – Details & Logistics
Trip Dates- August 22nd – August 24th, 2015
Reference the Map Above for Locations Denoted in the Following Trip Report
At 7 AM on Saturday morning Lee, Paul & I met at the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle & caught the 7:30 over to the Olympic Peninsula. After stopping for some supplies we drove the Northern route through Port Angeles, past Lake Crescent and over to the Pacific Coast.
After 5+ hours of travel we left one car at the Oil City Trailhead Parking Lot then all packed into my X-Terra and headed up to the Third Beach Parking Lot. For those that only have 1 car you also have the option to hire a Trail Head Shuttle. We decided that starting at Third Beach and hiking South to Finish @ Oil City would best fit our plans.
From the Third Beach Parking lot we started the trek through the old growth forests down to the Pacific Coast of Washington State. This part of the hike was fairly easy and mostly downhill.
Upon arriving on Third Beach we hiked down the shoreline then caught the trail up a ladder back into the forests. Our goal was to camp just south of Toleak Point that evening due to the locations close proximity to a fresh water source.
The rest of the day was spent climbing through amazing old growth forests and pristine beaches as we made our way South on the Pacific Coast. This trail is easily one of my favorites of all time due to the constant change in scenery and elevation.
We set up camp that night, filled up with fresh water & went out to explore for sunset. Camping just South of Toleak Point allowed us easy access to fresh water via Jackson Creek. I use a Katadyn Water Filter for all my hikes on the Pacific Coast. For really “silty” water you can rubber band a coffee filter over the intake valve of the Katadyn.
Overall we covered 8 miles on Day 1 which included some side hikes to different beaches in the area.
After getting a great night sleep on the beach we woke up, immediately got into the freezing cold ocean, then got out for breakfast & coffee. I make it a morning routine to always swim in the ocean when camping on the coast. It’s a great way to wake up!
After relaxing all morning with coffee & a book we left camp around 1PM and headed South down the coast towards our camp for the second night. The hike during day 2 was my personal favorite. After getting a few miles away from the trailhead we no longer saw many other backpackers. We had the place to ourselves for the entire second day & night.
The old growth forests through the second day of hiking were some of the best that I’ve ever seen. The tress in this part of the country rival some of the redwoods in diameter. We spent our day doing a bunch of side hikes off of the main trail which allowed us to explore some of the forests & beaches.
After a great day of hiking we setup camp on the beach, photographed sunset & made dinner.
The last night we camped within 3 miles of the Oil City Trailhead where we had parked our car on the first day. The hike out on the last day was fairly easy, but we nearly ended up getting stuck due to high tide. After scrambling down some of the coastline through rocks & boulders we made it back to the Hoh River as it made its way down to the Pacific Ocean.
More Photos from the Trip…
CLICK HERE For Complete Trip Report Photo Gallery
Want to Stay Up to Date with My Latest Trip Reports?
Sign up for your free Dave Morrow Photography – All Access Membership, get a free 70 page eBook & be the first to know when I release new trip reports, tutorials & other exclusive information.