Coastal Backpacking Locations
Backpacking at the coast can be challenging – with traverses over headlands, muddy trails, and needing to be mindful of tides. But there’s nothing that compares to backcountry camping in these coastal locations.
- My Backpacking Gear List – A Lightweight and Affordable Approach
- PDF Guide: How to Plan Backpacking Trips
- Guidebook: How to Get Started Backpacking
Washington’s Olympic Coast is truly wild, with access limited to hikers and backpackers for long stretches of coast line. This trip to South Sand Point includes a day hike to see ancient native petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks.
- I Heart PNW trip report: South Sand Point backpacking trip
- distance & elevation gain to campsite: 4.5 miles, 175 ft. gain
- day hike options: Wedding Rocks petroglyphs
- best months: spring (for better water access for filtering)
Olympic Coast – Rialto Beach to Chilean Memorial
Washington’s Olympic Coast is a wild coast – with extremely limited access to vast sections of it. About 70 miles of this incredibly scenic coastline is part of the Olympic National Park and accessible to hardy backpackers willing to time their trek at low tide to round headlands, or to use ropes to climb steep slopes to reach overland trails.
- I Heart PNW trip report: Rialto Beach to Chilean Memorial backpacking trip
- distance & elevation gain to Chilean Memorial Camp: 4 miles, 200 ft. gain
- best months: May to July
Shi Shi Beach
Camping at Shi Shi Beach on the northern Washington Coast is an unmatched experience – with incredible sea stacks, sunsets, sea caves and plenty of beach to explore. The hike in is also one of the muddiest as it works its way through dense coastal forest.
- I Heart PNW trip report: Shi Shi Beach backpacking trip
- distance & elevation gain to campsite: 5 miles, 400 ft. gain
- best months: May to July
The Oregon Coast offers very few opportunities for backpacking. The hiker’s camp on Tillamook Head, while intended for people thru-hiking the Oregon Coast Trail, has a designated camp area with wood shelters as well as space for tents. This camp area is located high above the coastline in a forested setting.
- I Heart PNW trip report: Tillamook Head backpacking trip
- distance & elevation gain to campsite: 4 miles, 1,200 ft. gain
- day hike options: Clatsop Trail to Indian Beach
- best months: anytime, although trails are muddier in the winter and spring
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