Backpacking Third Beach to Toleak Point

Backpacking Third Beach to Toleak Point in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park’s Third Beach to Toleak Point is an interesting, beautiful, and adventurous hike manageable for most backpackers.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  13.6 miles
Trailhead(s):  Third Beach
Elevation Gain:  1,379’
Trail Type:  Out & Back
Dogs:  No
Difficulty:  Moderate
Permit Required?  Yes
Considerations:  Bear Canisters Required, Use of Permanent Ropes for Climbing to Overland Trail Portions, Trailhead Parking Limited – Get There Early
Season:  Year Round

Overview

Olympic National Park’s Third Beach to Toleak Point is a fun, interesting, beautiful, and adventurous backpack.  It is accessible to most, although you must be comfortable carrying your backpack up and down ladders and ropes (more on that in a moment).  The cliffs, sea stacks, wildlife, driftwood, and rugged beauty of the coast all combine for a memorable experience.  If you enjoy being at the coast and you enjoy backpacking, don’t miss this one!

Now, looking at the trail stats above, you may have been struck by “Elevation Gain.”  Yup, that’s right!  Backpacking on the Olympic Coast is not just a beach stroll.  The Coast is rugged and has impassable headlands in areas, requiring the use of permanent ropes and ladders (marked by orange and black symbols on trees – see slide below) to get above the beach and on to the overland trails.  The ups and downs required to travel along the coast add up, resulting in elevation gain.  Additionally, some areas have no overland trails, requiring you to wait until low tide to pass through the area (note that you do not want to get caught in these areas at high tide – people have died being caught by the tide).  The hike from Third Beach to Toleak Point encompasses all of these challenges, but the pay-off is worth the effort.

The backpack starts at the Third Beach trailhead.  Parking at the trailhead is very limited, so get there early morning to ensure a spot.  The hike begins on an overland trail through the coastal forest, eventually reaching the beach.

Once at the beach, the hike becomes a combination of beach and overland hiking, using ropes and ladders to reach the overland portions of the trail.  Just past the Scott Creek camping area, however, there is no overland trail and passage to Toleak Point requires waiting for low tide to continue on the beach.  (The links below contain Olympic National Park links to tide charts.  Make sure you know how to read and use the charts  to ensure safe passage.)

The route from Third Beach to Toleak offers a number of camping areas with room for a large number of backpackers – which is a big positive because this is a very popular backpacking trip.  Although backcountry permits are required, none of the designated camping areas on this hike are limited by quota, so you do not have to stick to a particular itinerary.  Just find a camping spot in one of the designated camping areas, pitch your tent, build your fire with the ample driftwood, and look and listen to the ocean.

Now get out there and enjoy!

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

  • Olympic National Park Information:

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/south-coast-route.htm

  • Olympic NP Coastal Hike Planner:

https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-coast.htm

Backpacking Third Beach to Toleak Point Slideshow

(Click image to expand.)

Gear We Use for Backpacking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for backpacking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Olympic National Park's Seven Lakes Basin Loop

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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