06/20/19 - Rialto Beach

We have been avoiding the West End because of the massive construction delays on 101 along Lake Crescent, but we finally decided to brave the gauntlet to get back to Rialto Beach. The delays were awful. The WSDOT web site said 30 minute delays, but we were stopped waiting well over half an hour on the way out and about 45 minutes on the way back. Then there was the additional time slowly following the pilot car at 8-10 miles an hour for the miles of road closed for repaving.

That's enough fuming. Rialto Beach was as beautiful as ever. The sand was soft, so the going was rough, but the beach was cool and refreshing. We made our way up to the hole in the wall, stopping along the way to check out the tide pools. There were a few anemones, but no starfish. It was great to get back, but the extra hour and a half travel time was wearing. We'll probably try again in the fall when the construction is over.


The beach

Rocks and sea stacks

A Pacific beach scene


Sea stack silhouette

The ocean

More coastal rocks

The sea stacks, but darker

Beach erosion

Forest and driftwood

Keywords: rialto beach

08/17/18 - Foggy Day at Rialto Beach

There is nothing like a day at the beach. We set our sights on Rialto Beach around low tide, and we lucked out. The coast was shrouded with fog and cool and damp. We could barely see the sea from the parking lot, and as we made our way north we entered our own private world with just us, the Pacific Ocean and the gray.

This is a view from the Barnes Creek parking lot on Lake Crescent. We stopped en route.

Rialto Beach

Along the beach

Flowing to the sea



More seastacks


A starfish


Sea ducks

Keywords: rialto beach

12/22/16 - Rialto Beach Monochrome

We took a short journey out to Rialto Beach on a gray drizzly day. The winter light was fantastic, almost unreal. The sea was wild and open. The sky was full of clouds. We didn't get all that far in the wind and spray, but it was a wonderful walk.

Driftwood and seastacks

Gray water

More driftwood

Another view of the water

Sea stacks

A view south

The Pacific Ocean, not very pacific

Another almost monochrome view

Water into the ocean

Another view south


Keywords: rialto beach, winter

08/13/16 - Rialto Beach

We’ve been having some clear sunny weather, and sometimes it has been a bit warm for hiking inland, so we decided to head out to Rialto Beach where the cold Pacific Ocean keeps things cooler. By the time we arrived any morning fog had vanished. The sky was an intense blue and the waters were calm.

We didn’t go all that far, just up to the first headland. The tide was nice and low, so we could explore the tidepools. We barely noticed Ellen Creek. It flows beneath the sands, so we had to check inland to make sure it was still there. To the north, the sea stacks and tide pools beckoned. We found anemones, but no starfish. We have been following their slow recovery, so this was a little disappointing.

Given that we are having what passes for a heat wave in these parts, it was a relief getting out and enjoying the coolness at the beach. Even the parking lot seemed warm in contrast.

Tidepools, sea stacks and mysterious islands

A river otter on land

That river otter at sea


A view across the water

Mysterious, even on a clear sunny day

A view north to the headland

Another tidepool

Rocks and tidepools

Some denizens

A view south

Keywords: rialto beach, weather

07/31/09 - Rialto Beach

Second Beach is probably our favorite beach on the West End, but now and then we like to get down to Rialto Beach for a bit of variety. It's an easier hike. There's no climb through the coastal forest and no clambering over driftwood. You just park, and you are on the beach.

This time the beach was shrouded with Pacific fog, as it often is in the summer. The seastacks were invisible until we were nearly upon them. There was a lot of driftwood, but it was generally piled up high on the beach, even with a high low tide. In another sign of summer, the little river about a mile from the parking lot ran under the sand to the sea. Most of the year we have to ford the stream, but this time we walked right over it without even noticing.

We made it as far as the first headland climb, up into the rain forest. It was almost like climbing a ladder made of tree roots. At the top, we could look through the foliage and see the rocky outcrop that jutted out to the sea like a lost Mayan temple in some adventure romance. We turned around there. We like our adventures, but we like them bite sized.

The view north

Lots of driftwood this year

Our favorite seastacks

The Mayan temple

The trail to the lost temple

Tide pools

The view south

Keywords: beaches, rialto beach, summer, little river

02/05/09 - Winter Beach

Second Beach is a winter beach, but there is still a lot to explore at low tide. The beach is broad and sandy, and there are even a few starfish in the tidepools. There is some rough going at the south end of the beach since so much sand has washed out for the season. Check our tide tables and look for a good mid-day low tide at Second Beach or Rialto Beach. (You can also see upcoming good tides in the left column of this web page).

The hole in the wall

Seastacks and a broad beach


Starfish are back.

More starfish

More seastacks

It is a rocky road to the cave entrance without sand.

Rough beach and seastacks

We don't know who has been making little leaf faces and leaving them on various trails, but hello again.

Keywords: rialto beach, second beach, tides, trails, winter

05/01/08 - Rialto Beach

We were out at Rialto Beach the other day, and it shows signs of winter. The sand is dark and gritty, and the tide pools relatively bare. You can see the rough current in the little river about a mile north of the parking lot.

Keywords: rialto beach, winter, little river

07/26/07 - Driving Time and Distance Map of the North Olympic Peninsula

We get a number of questions from people trying to plan trips to the North Olympic Peninsula and not sure of how far it is from one attraction to another. Olympic National Park is a big park comprising the central part of the peninsula and much of the Pacific Coast. There are no roads through the middle of the park, and there is no long coastal road to follow. This makes planning a trip a bit tricky. Even getting from La Push to Rialto Beach, a distance of perhaps a mile or two along the coast requires driving inland to the bridge at Mora, so the total drive is perhaps 11 miles and takes about 25 minutes. Hurricane Ridge is not very far from the Hoh Ranger Station as the raven flies, but it is several hours drive.

To help the many visitors to the park and surrounding areas, we offer this Kaleberg Driving Time and Distance Map of the North Olympic Peninsula. It is based on the distances as computed by Google Maps, but we have used our own estimated driving times rather than the Google estimates. Google has some peculiar ideas on how fast one can drive on various park roads, and they still have the Hurricane Hill Trail from Whiskey Bend to Hurricane Hill as an automobile road! We're sure that was a trail, even before Google was founded. We've also taken some liberties in defining certain intermediate locations which do not appear on any map. In general, things like Elwha Turnoff and Hoh River Crossing are not marked as such on any other map you might find, but are useful junction points linking roads and turnoffs, just what you want for planning your drive.

Driving Distance Time Map for the North Olympic Peninsula

Keywords: maps, science, port angeles, hurricane ridge, hurricane hill, hoh rain forest, elwha, la push, lake crescent, obstruction point, rialto beach, la push, spruce railroad, kale

04/12/07 - Rialto Beach

We were able to get past the one mile crossing on our latest visit. There is much less water flowing in the stream there, so the water is only a few inches deep down by the ocean. Watch for the tumbling rocks, and don't stop for long. The water will undercut you.

We sighted several eagles, some starfish, and the crew, with tents, carts and cameras, out on a Tommy Hilfiger fashion shoot. It was quite a production.

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, eagle

03/26/07 - Wild Water at Rialto Beach

One of the problems with visiting Rialto Beach when one is very clumsy is that about a mile north of the parking lot there is a river to cross. Most of the time this river is rather shallow, so we wade across. One time, the tide was so low that we could cross near the ocean where the river ran under the sand. On our last visit, we could not cross at all. As you can see in the picture to the left, or more graphically in our video, the spring rains have filled the river nicely. The water was deep and the current strong.

Even if we had not been so clumsy, our crossing was unlikely. Most of the crossing logs have been washed away. A few intrepid sorts had managed to cross on some logs a bit upriver, but this was beyond us. We'll be back at Rialto Beach again soon, and we'll hope the high waters have subsided.

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, spring, spring rain

06/13/06 - Return to Rialto Beach

We have been missing Second Beach, which is still closed due to a failure of our government to complete a sensible land swap with the Quillayute tribe. So, we decided to go back to Rialto Beach, and it turns out that we have forgotten just how beautiful it is there. We explored up past the first headland and had a little jungle journey, and we took lots of pictures. While we still miss Second Beach, Rialto Beach has a lot to offer, even to us Kalebergs.

UPDATE 06/21 - We've added a panorama of the beach for those who have wondered what the seastacks must look like from a helicopter.

Between Two Seastacks at Rialto Beach
Hurricane Hill Trail
Hurricane Hill Flowers

Keywords: rialto beach, beaches, flowers, hurricane hill, second beach, kale

07/20/04 - Rialto Beach and Second Beach

Rialto Beach is one of the most accessible of the West End beaches. You can even park right at the beach and climb over some driftwood to get at the waves. They even have a wheelchair accessible picnic area.

Since we like to get some exercise, we usually head out to Second Beach which is just across the Quillayute River. There is some satisfaction with the 3/4 mile rain forest walk you have to take to the surf, but Rialto beach offers instant gratification.

Of course, if you do get a mile or two north of the parking lot, you'll find a nice little headland climb if you want to continue. We usually just turn around and check out the sea stacks again.

Rialto Beach
Aside from sea stacks, like the one shown below, and nice walking beach, you can also see pelicans, seals, cormorants, and bald eagles. They were near extinction back in the 1960s, thanks to DDT, but now they have made a comeback.  We  often find them high on the tall trees just beyond the driftwood line on the beach.

Sea Stack at Rialto Beach

Keywords: second beach, beaches, birds, rialto beach, eagle