Rialto Beach is one of the most accessible of the West End beaches. There are no long walks through amazing forest or across flower strewn meadows. Here, you just drive to the beach, park, get out, and walk. This may make Rialto Beach a bit more crowded than some in the peak season, but it is still has its share of sea stacks, open sand, tide pools and, of course, the wild Pacific Ocean.
How to Get There
Head west from Port Angeles on route 101 and continue past Sappho. Before you get to Forks, keep your eyes open for the signs to route 110 to La Push. The turn is right after the Smokehouse Restaurant. Follow the road west until you get to a little restaurant and general store on your right. They have good espresso and excellent blackberry pie here. Go right, just after the restaurant/store, following the sign for Mora Beach. Take this road past the ranger station and on to Rialto Beach.
The Kaleberg Hike
The walk starts right out of the parking lot and follows the beach north. We recommend coming at low tide, but you can traverse the beach quite nicely no matter. Check out the tidal pools and dramatic rock formations.
After about a mile, you get to a river. You can ford, or you can cross on a downed log. This is less terrifying than it sounds. If you blow it, you can get your feet wet, up to the ankles. If we can make it across, you almost certainly can.
The beach continues for another mile or so, the same wild, wonderful country. Then, you get to the headland. You can stop here and watch the waves breaking on the shore, or you can follow the headland trail, which heads up steeply with an array of roots and rocks you can use as steps. It is a hard climb, but easy footing.
If you want to keep going, just head on down on the other side. The beach continues for miles, though the going gets rough, so we are told, perhaps five or six miles further on. We haven't really gotten past the top of this climb. We were most impressed with what we had seen, but we were getting tired that day, so it was back to the car. Whether you wimp out like us, or head on, or even if you don't get too far from the parking lot, Rialto Beach can be a lot of fun to explore.
Check the tide tables if you want to explore the caves and tide pools.
For more more recent pictures, maps and other information on Rialto Beach from the Kalebergs, check out this page.