The coast of Washington is well known for its dramatic scenery of rugged sea stacks, dense coastal forests, large pieces of driftwood, and often misty shoreline. We had never been this far north on the west coast, so we were incredibly excited to explore Rialto Beach during our visit to Olympic National Park. A walk along Rialto Beach offers an opportunity to enjoy ocean views, tide pools, and unique rock formations. Keep reading for details on walking down Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall.
Getting to Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach sits on the northwest part of the Olympic Peninsula near the Quileute town of La Push. You may have heard of this spot if you are a fan of the Twilight series. From the 101, which is the main road leading around the Olympic Peninsula, turn west onto WA-110 (La Push Rd). Turn right onto Mora Rd and follow it all the way to the coast. This road pretty much dead ends into the Rialto Beach Parking Area. We recommend arriving early during peak season to ensure that you get a parking spot.
We visited in April of 2021 when the Indigenous communities of the Olympic Peninsula had closed to visitation due to the pandemic. Before your visit, check the National Park Services webpage and take a look at map to ensure that you comply with regulations and closures as you explore the Olympic Coast. Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall sits within National Park boundaries. This was open during our visit, while some of the other popular beaches nearby were closed.
A pass is required to visit Rialto Beach. It is best to purchase your pass online and print it beforehand. An Olympic National Park day pass is $30 for a private vehicle and is good for seven days. An annual pass for this park is $55.
Alternatively, you can purchase an America the Beautiful annual national parks pass for $80. Ours had just expired, so we picked ours up along with a bear canister at the REI in Olympia the day before.
Hiking Rialto Beach to Hole in the Rock
Hike Type: Easy out-and-back trail, so this is a great option for kids and hikers of all levels
Distance: 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) round trip
Elevation Gain: Very minimal
Duration: 1-2.5 hours
Regulations: Drones are not permitted. A wilderness permit is required for camping in the backcountry. Leashed pets are permitted on the beach during the day. Do not disturb the wildlife in tide pools.
The Hike to Hole in the Rock
After breakfast at our campsite near the Hall of Mosses, we drove straight to Rialto Beach. Before our trip, we took a look at some tide tables online to ensure that we made it to Hole in the Rock during low tide to be able check out the tide pools and see the famous window through the sea stack formation.
We parked near the beach and began our hike north, walking among enormous fallen trees lining the beach. It was a chilly spring morning and fog hung low over the coast. It wasn’t long before the sun warmed us up and the fog dissipated.
There were not many people hiking along the beach, but many of the backpackers camped along the forest line were beginning to awake and pack up for the morning. Eagles and seagulls soared around us as we crossed an icy stream.
After about 30 minutes of walking, the coastline became rockier and sea stacks jutted up in front of us. At the base of these rugged formations, the low tide revealed the many pools containing a variety of sea creatures. We spotted anemones, crabs, and small fish as we made our way along the rocks to the Hole in the Wall. At low tide, the Hole in the Wall was completely exposed and we could walk through the arch to the other side. Use caution on the slick rocks near Hole in the Wall and do not attempt to walk through it when the waves are flowing over the rocks.
After spending time admiring the unique coast surrounding Hole in the Wall, we made our way back down Rialto Beach the way we came.
Camping at Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach is a popular spot to camp. If you want to sleep along the stunning coastline, you must obtain a backcountry camping permit in advance. It costs $8 per adult per night plus a $6 reservation fee. Olympic National Park annual pass holders do not have to pay the $8 fee. For more reservation and other information, click here. We didn’t plan ahead enough, so we camped near the Hall of Mosses, but we would love to come back and backpack to a spot along the coast.
This is a great backpacking trip for beginners because the hike along the beach is easy and you don’t have to hike too far before reaching some of the spots. Backpackers had set up all along the coastline, so arrive early if you want your choice of spots.
As always, please use Leave No Trace practices. Pack out all your trash and belongings, camp in existing spots, and use existing fire rings. Pets are not allowed on Rialto Beach overnight. There are a couple streams in the area, but water sources are limited, so it is best to pack in your own water. Bear proof containers for food and other fragrant items are required.
If car camping is more your thing, checkout the nearby Mora Campground. These spots also fill up, so make your reservations as far in advance as possible.
What to Bring to Rialto Beach
Passes: As mentioned above, you need a pass to visit Rialto Beach and camp here.
Water: An essential for any hike. There isn’t much fresh water along this hike.
Sun Protection: Bring a hat/sunscreen/sunglasses as there isn’t much shade as you stroll along the shoreline.
Layers: It can be chilly and breezy on the beach, so bring layers, even in the summer. A rain jacket is a good idea too since this area receives frequent rain.
Beach Accessories: If you want to hang out and enjoy the beach, bring your towel, suit, surf board, etc.
Water Shoes: The entire hike down Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall goes through sand, over sharp rocks, and across a stream. Your feet will likely get wet and sandy, so we recommend a water-friendly, but sturdy shoe, such as Chacos or Tevas.
Camera: This is a beautiful place to shoot landscape and wildlife photos. There’s also stunning scenery if you’re wanting a killer Instagram post.