The Olympic Coast can be enjoyed with just a couple of hours at your disposal, or over several days if you are planning a multi-day trek. Our outings along the coastal trails were limited to two separate outings. The first was a short visit to Rialto Beach while the second was to Third Beaches south toward Strawberry Point and required 4 or 5 hours.
Any time is good to visit the Coast, but the best times are if you can time your trip with a low tide, combined with some action on the surf.
We heeded the Park’s safety warnings and either used overland routes, or ensured that we understood the tide chart so that we didn’t get trapped anywhere. Aside from reducing risks, the tide charts are helpful in identifying low tide conditions and the opportunity to see the critters left behind in tide pools! If you have a polarizing filter for your camera lens, it’s use will help to reduce or even eliminate the surface glare on the surface of the water to get an even better view of the sea creatures (unfortunately, I forgot mine at home).
Coastal Map – The official map for Olympic National Park contains essential information on which headlands are impassible via the shoreline, and which other areas are only passable at low tide (consult the legend on the map to better understand the risks). The park map, when accompanied by a tide chart, will serve you well to keep you out of harms way.
Tide Chart – This link will take you to the NOAA web site. From there, you can download the tide forecasts for the station closest to where you will be visiting the coast.
You can read more about our visit to Olympic National Park here.
This gallery showcases the scenes that we observed while hiking along the Olympic Coast: