The beach is calling to you...but not just any beach. It's time to visit awesome Rialto Beach. Not only is Rialto one of the most popular beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, it's also one of the most accessible. Park you car and you're there! So if the thought of a long hike through rough terrain isn't exactly your idea of a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon, then Rialto is destined to be in your top "five faves."
Located only 56 miles west of Port Angeles, Wash., off U.S. Highway 101, they say this beach sees more tourists than any other beach on the Olympic Peninsula, and yet, you can walk for miles, slip through Hole-in-the-Wall at low tide or fly a kite in the salty breeze – with no one around. And if you're seeking adventure, surfing's an option too!
Once past the parking lot, the drift wood and sea stacks will remind you of the wintry storms that sometimes bluster through, and if you come at low tide, the tide pools alone are worth the trip. So walk along a cobbled beach, watch waves crash onto offshore stacks, spot a bald eagle or a brown pelican soaring overhead ... Isn't it about time?
Camping and Hiking. No reservations are necessary if you enjoy camping on the beach under the stars, but you will need to obtain a permit by phone or in person at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles. As in other Park areas, groups are limited to no more than 12, hard-sided food containers are required, camp fires are only permitted on the beach and "Leave No Trace" is the beach code of ethics. Be sure to check the tides and bring a map.
Lodging. Mora Campground (2 miles from trail head) is located just off the beach, with 94 secluded campsites suitable for backpackers to those who carry a good portion of their earthly good along with them. One loop is open all year with full services. Two other loops are available if needed. Water and toilets are available.
Ranger naturalists provide short guided hikes, campfire programs and daily interpretative talks beginning July 1. A Park Ranger station and pay phone are available two miles from the beach, near the campground. Call the Ranger Station or stop by for a tide chart and information on hiking along the coastal beaches. The Quileute Visitor Information and Convention Center, on Highway 101, can also provide local information.
Several other area lodging opportunities are available, the closest being Manitou Lodge Bed and Breakfast, Olson's Resort (360-374-3142) and Three Rivers Resort (360-374-5300) and Quileute Oceanside Resort (360-374-5267.)
Getting there. From Forks Washington northeast on Hwy 101, a 20-minute, 12-mile drive will bring you to Rialto Beach. Turn right off 101 on to Hwy 110, and follow it to Mora Road. Bear right on Mora Road and follow the signs to Mora Campground and Rialto Beach, just across the river from the tribal village of La Push.
Wilderness Information Center (WIC) Port Angeles 360-565-3100
Mora Ranger Station 360-374-5460
Surfrider Foundation Olympic Peninsula Chapter