We have three favorite beaches on West End of the North Olympic Peninsula. They are all wild, strange and magnificent. The Pacific Ocean is the vast emptiness, and these beaches take one along its edge. Each beach has its own charms. Second Beach is probably the prettiest, Rialto Beach is the most accessible, and Cape Alava is the wildest and most exotic. You can, if you push yourself, visit both Rialto Beach and Second Beach in one day, though you will have to choose which one to experience at low tide. Cape Alava, in contrast, takes a full day to experience. Read on. Follow the links to our beach guides, and get ready to explore.

Second Beach

This is one of the prettiest beaches. It starts with a walk through the rain forest and then descends to a driftwood scramble and the beach. At low tide, this beach is broad and sandy. Head south for the tidepools and the sea cave, but mind the tides. You'll see anemones, starfish, and if you watch the tree line, eagles.

First glimpse of the beach
First view of the beach, through the trees

Seastacks at Second Beach
Seastacks and the sand
Tidepools at Second Beach
Tidepools at low tide

The Cave at Second Beach
The sea cave at low tide


From Route 101, take Route 110 west just north of Forks. Stay on Route 110 and watch for the sign for Second Beach on your left. If you reach La Push, you have gone too far. (1:15-1:30 from Port Angeles)

The Kaleberg Guide to Second Beach

Our Second Beach Panorama

Second Beach (La Push) Tide Tables

USGS Topographic Map of Second Beach

Google Map of Second Beach

The La Push Webcam

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is wonderfully accessible. You can drive right down to the beach, climb over a log or two, and there you are, at the sea. Head north and ford the river at the one mile mark, then continue to the tide pools and the Hole in the Wall. You can continue north through the Hole, but we suggest taking the inland climb through the jungle.

Rialto Beach
A broad sandy beach - at low tide

Between the Pillars
Tide pools and tidal surges

Along the Beach
Rocks and tide pools

Jungle View at Rialto Beach
The jungle passage


From Route 101, take Route 110 west just north of Forks. When the speed limit on Route 110 is lowered near the Three Rivers Resort, watch for Mora Road on your right, just after the resort. Turn right onto Mora Road and take it to the end. (1:15-1:30 from Port Angeles)

The Kaleberg Guide to Rialto Beach

Our Rialto Beach Panorama

Rialto Beach (La Push) Tide Tables

USGS Topographic Map of Rialto Beach

Google Map of Rialto Beach

Cape Alava

This beach is at the end of the world. The drive is long, and then there is the three mile walk through the forest from the Ozette Ranger Station to the sea. After Ahlstrom's Meadow, the trail descends, and then there is the wild, isolated three mile walk among the sea stacks, tide pools, headlands and rocky sand. All that, and the Pacific Ocean. Watch for fawns, eagles and petroglyphs, then return three miles through the forest for a nine mile loop.

Steps along the trail
Boardwalks to the sea

Boardwalk in Ahlstrom's meadow
Ahlstrom's Meadow

Seastacks at Cape Alava
Seastacks and tidepools

The beach at Cape AlavaThe beach at low tide

Petroglyphs at Cape Alava

Fawn at Cape Alava
Fawns on the beach


Take Route 112 west, past Clallam Bay, to Sekiu. West of Sekiu, the road descends and grows twisty. Watch for the signs for Lake Ozette and the Hoko-Ozette Road on your left. Turn left on the Hoko-Ozette Road and take it to the end. (1:45-2:00 from Port Angeles)

The Kaleberg Guide to Cape Alava

Our Cape Alava Panorama

Cape Alava Tide Tables

USGS Topographic Map of Cape Alava

Google Map of Cape Alava

Nuts and Bolts

  • These beaches are wild and remote; don't turn your back on the waves. Check the tide tables. All of these hikes are best at low tide, ideally a tide under three feet.
  • There is much more light than you think, even in the overcast Northwest. Bring and use sunblock and a broad rimmed hat.