Post Summary: Hole in The Wall Hike at Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park
Looking for that epic trip to experience the Washington coast’s rugged and wild beauty?
While the weather is unlikely to cooperate (make sure to pack your raincoat!), you’ll be sure to find beauty around every corner at Rialto Beach.
The Hole In The Wall hike at Rialto Beach is one of those places that is worth the visit any time of year. It brings the best of Washington – the sea stacks, tide pools, and stunning shoreline are just the beginning of what you can experience here!
In this post, we’re sharing how to get to Rialto Beach, what to expect hiking on the amazing Hole In The Wall trail, and the best views to explore when you arrive. Let’s go!
Note: The pictures included in this post were taken on a rare, warm sunny day in August for reference!
Hike The Hole In The Wall Hike at Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach and Hole In The Wall Map
The Hole in the Wall Hike at Rialto Beach is located on the Washington State coast. It is one of the many beaches that are a part of the Olympic National Park. Rialto Beach is unique for its moody nature, huge driftwood logs, and amazing scenery.
You can access this beach easier than most Washington beaches. You’ll drive next to the Quillayute River on an easy, maintained road until you reach the coast! There are options to stay 5-minutes away at the Mora Campground, or in a cozy Airbnb or hotel nearby in Forks, Washington.
Getting to Rialto Beach requires a 15-mile drive (20 minutes) west from Forks, Washington, or even farther, a 1.5 hour drive from Port Angeles, Washington.
Pro Tip: You’ll need a National Park Pass to visit Rialto Beach. You can purchase an America The Beautiful annual pass online, or a day pass at a local ranger station. The closest station to Rialto Beach is the Lake Quinault Ranger Station.
What Kind Of Park Pass Do I Need For My Adventure? Find Out Here.
Click here to discover an entire road trip route covering all the beautiful stops on the Olympic Peninsula.
Hole In The Wall Hike Trail Details
What To Expect On The Hole In The Wall Hike
Distance: 3.4 miles out and back. The trail is on the sandy beach, with one area that must be crossed during low tide.
Difficulty: Easy BUT, only fully accessible during low-tide. Check the tide charts before visiting.
Do You Need Permits? You must have a National Park Pass to park your car in the lot. If you intend to camp, you must obtain a permit at the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles or Lake Quinault.
Hiking Time: Two hours out and back.
Features of Hole In The Wall Hike: Tidepools, rocky beaches, sea stacks, driftwood, wildlife sightings.
Be Prepared: The Complete Olympic National Park Packing List
For a brief overview of the hike, you will experience sea stacks, rocky shores, tide pools, and landmass only passable during low tide. Get ready for a classic Washington hike!
The Hole in the Wall Hike at Rialto Beach will begin with a 1.5-mile walk north along the rocky shore.
Pro Tip: Pack an extra plastic bag with you to pick up trash along the way. This beach is one of the cleaner ones on the coast, but it’s always nice to leave a place better than you found it!
Bald eagles and other wildlife frequent this area, so keep a close eye on the tops of the trees! We spotted a pair, so we spent some time waiting to see if we could capture a portrait of them in action.
Photography tips for capturing wildlife: Stay a safe distance from wildlife to prevent them from getting spooked. Use a zoom lens to get a closer look. In the picture below, we used a Canon 100-400mm lens.
Read More: 8 Easy Tips To Enhance Your Travel Photos
After a 1.5-mile trek up the shore of Rialto Beach, you will arrive at a section of the beach that will require passing during low tide. Make sure to check out the tide charts before you plan your trip!
And now, my friends, you’ve reached the Hole In The Wall!
This is an extremely photogenic spot, and arguably the best photography opportunity on Rialto Beach. To get the perspective of the sea stack directly in the middle of the “hole”, cross through the hole (during low tide, of course) and walk about 100 yards away to find the right perspective for you.
Below, you can find our photography compositions.
Photography Tips For The Hole In The Wall At Rialto Beach: Bring a wide lens. For this trip, we used a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Mark II lens. Depending on your positioning on shore, you can make the hole look giant, or extremely small! Play with perspective and find out which one you like best.
Once across and through “Hole In The Wall”, you’ll also be able to experience the Rialto Beach tide pools. Keep reading below for some tips and etiquette for experiencing this amazing part of the Washington coast.
Before you start your hike back, climb up to the top of the Hole In The Wall and see Rialto Beach from above.
The hike is doable but extremely steep. Make sure to test your footing before committing to your step! From the top, you’ll find a visitor-made footpath, with steep edges on either side.
Read More: 11 Amazing Hikes To Take In Washington State
On your return trip back to the car, make sure to spend some time taking pictures of the beautiful sea stacks just off the shore. We found it very advantageous to come before sunset, to capture the sun behind the rocks for an ethereal look.
Want more like this? Keep reading below for some of the best photography opportunities at Rialto Beach…
The Best Views at Rialto Beach
1. The Star of the Show – “Hole In The Wall Hike”
There is no doubt that this is the highlight of the entire hike, and possibly even all of Rialto Beach! This water-carved sea arch is a magnificent display of nature.
Make sure to time your visit to arrive at the Hole In The Wall during low tide. This will ensure you have full access to exploring in and around the arch.
2. Rialto Beach Tide Pools
Some of the most popular tide pools in the Olympic National Park are located at Rialto Beach. You can access them by taking the 1.5-mile trail northbound from the parking lot, crossing through the “hole” and arriving on the other side. Here, the tidepools are abundant!
Tidepool Etiquette Tips (Courtesy of The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary):
- Wear water-safe shoes to protect your feet. Double check your footing before committing to a spot to prevent slipping.
- Step on rocks with bare surfaces to prevent killing any marine life that clings to the surface.
- Do not collect wildlife or take anything from tidepools or the beach…
- WITH THE EXCEPTION OF TRASH. Bring an extra plastic bag and collect any garbage you encounter.
- Watch the tide for ‘sneaker’ waves and be alert to the ocean’s position at all times.
- Never force an animal off of its spot. If it doesn’t want to release its grip, leave it be.
- If you care to peek under a rock, put it back exactly how you found it to preserve organisms living on the shady underside.
3. Amazing Sea Stacks
Rialto Beach has an incredible collection of sea stacks. Most prominent is the one directly offshore, that resemble two rocks right next to each other. During low tide, you are able to walk right up to it.
Pro Tip: Come a few hours before the sun sets to capture the light rays off the sea stacks. You won’t regret it!
Love Sea Stacks? You Have To Check Out Cape Flattery
4. Huge Driftwood Logs
There is no shortage of sun-bleached driftwood logs at Rialto Beach. Spend some time wandering through and climbing around these enormous beauties.
Rialto Beach in the colder months actually has some of the best winter hikes in Washington! From the dreary coast to the weather-stripped trees, if you’re looking for that classic Pacific Northwest moody feel, you can’t get more PNW than here at Rialto Beach!
5. Moody Fog During Sunrise and Sunset
If you have the time, we highly recommend coming early to experience the sunrise, or better yet, staying for a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rialto Beach On The Olympic Peninsula
How Far Is Rialto Beach From Seattle?
Rialto Beach is approximately a 4-hour drive from Seattle. You can opt to take a ferry across the Puget Sound and drive through Port Angeles, or you can begin south and drive through Olympia. Both routes will take the same amount of time.
Is Rialto Beach Dog-Friendly?
The National Park Service requires dogs to be on-leash, and allowed only during daylight hours at Rialto Beach. They are allowed as far north on the beach until Ellen Creek. If you plan to go beach camping, however, dogs are not allowed during overnight camping permits.
Can You Camp On Rialto Beach?
Yes, but you’ll need to obtain a permit. Make sure to explore our guide to camping on the Washington Coast to prepare for your trip!
Where Should I Stay Near Rialto Beach?
There are many accommodations near Rialto Beach. You can camp at Mora Campground ($20 per night), which is the closest option. You can also stay in the nearby town of Forks, WA which is a 20-minute drive between locations.
Note: Mora Campground and other nearby campgrounds fill up FAST, especially in the summer season. If your heart is set on camping near the ocean, we recommend getting The Dyrt Pro. It’s our favorite way to find camping at sold-out campgrounds. Especially with their feature – Dyrt Alerts.
Dyrt Alerts work like this: you select a sold-out campground and the date you want to camp there, The Dyrt then scans every few minutes for cancellations and quickly sends you a Dyrt Alert when your campsite becomes available!
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For a complete breakdown of the best accommodations, read our guide on where to stay near Olympic National Park.