Hit the Beach This Winter

Hike through the Hole-in-the-Wall

On a cold winter’s day, there’s nothing quite like an escape to the coast to marvel at the power of nature as waves crash on the rocky shore below towering sea stacks, where the lush rainforest meets the sea. Migrating whales, seals, and otters can be seen frolicking in the water as eagles and sea birds fly overhead. Winter is a relaxing season here, as the summer crowds are long-gone.

One of the most popular destinations on Washington’s Wilderness Coast is Hole-in-the-Wall. This arch, created by tens of thousands of years of erosion, can be walked through at low tide, and climbed over when the tide is in. You may see bright green anemones against a backdrop of pink rock formations, scuttling hermit crabs, and sea stars in one of the many tidal pools. This particular beach is a wonderful place to find rocks made of quartz, jasper, and agate.

L. Lisa Lawrence

L. Lisa Lawrence

An easy walk on the beach, this hike is suitable for the entire family, although the crossing at Ellen Creek can be challenging when there’s been a lot of rainfall and the tide is in; it may require crossing a log or getting your feet wet. Carry a tide chart, and be careful.

After the hike, stop by the store at the Three Rivers Resort where the Mora and LaPush roads meet (also known as the “treaty line” for Twilight fans) for gas, supplies, gifts, and a few extra layers of clothing if you need it, and of course for the conversation. The restaurant serves up a full menu, including big burgers like the Werewolf — double meat, double bacon, double cheese, ham, and the works for under $6! The resort also offers warm cabins if you want to stay overnight and aren’t into winter backpacking.

When you go

Olympic National Park information
Three Rivers Resort in Forks information
Distance: 4 miles, round-trip
Elevation gain: None
Difficulty: Easy
Good to know: Dogs are not allowed past Ellen Creek.

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