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.

Difficulty Ratings

The difficulty ratings listed here are based on hiking in to a campsite and does not include additional hike destinations on the trip.

  • Easy: Hike in up to 6 miles, and up to 1,000 ft. gain to camp area
  • Moderate: Hike in up to 8 miles with 1,000-2,000 ft. gain to camp area
  • Strenuous: Hike in up to 10 miles with 2,000-3,000 ft. gain to camp area
  • Very Strenuous: Hike in up to 12 miles with 3,000-4,000 ft. gain to camp area

Ozette Triangle

Ozette Triangle - South Sand Point backpacking trip

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.

  • distance & elevation gain to campsite: 4.5 miles, 175 ft. gain
  • difficulty: easy
  • day hike options: Wedding Rocks petroglyphs
  • best months: spring (for better water access for filtering)
  • permits: required in advance from Olympic National Park
  • more info: South Sand Point backpacking trip

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.

  • distance & elevation gain to Chilean Memorial Camp: 4 miles, 200 ft. gain
  • difficulty: strenuous (due to terrain and tides)
  • best months: May to July
  • permits: required in advance from Olympic National Park
  • more info: Rialto Beach to Chilean Memorial backpacking trip

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach backpacking trip

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.

  • distance & elevation gain to campsite: 5 miles, 400 ft. gain
  • difficulty: easy
  • best months: May to July
  • permits: required in advance from Olympic National Park
  • more info: Shi Shi Beach backpacking trip

Tillamook Head

Tillamook Head backpacking trip

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.

  • distance & elevation gain to campsite: 4 miles, 1,200 ft. gain
  • difficulty: moderate
  • day hike options: Clatsop Trail to Indian Beach
  • best months: anytime, although trails are muddier in the winter and spring
  • permits: none
  • more info: Tillamook Head backpacking trip

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