A spectacular bay

If you look along the trail, past the dog, you can just barely see a set of steps.

Remember that a few weeks ago I learned the rule, never forget your sticks? Well, I guess I’m a slow learner. I had them in the car when we went to Second Beach in La Push (not to be confused with Beach 2 farther south on the Olympic Peninsula), but my brother and sister-in-law said that the beach was on a boardwalk. What they meant was that the path has some steps created with boards. It was a steep descent, which meant I had to come back up, but more was in store for me than that.

When you get there, however, it is absolutely spectacular. Camping is allowed on the beach, but this is a leave no trace area.

Second Beach Trail

Rating: Tougher

Panting stops: 5-7

Distance: 4 miles, out and back

Elevation changes: 310 feet

Some of the rock formations at Second Beach. My niece is on top of the rock.–Picture credit, Steve Schimmelman

You’ll be too far from the beach to hear the surf when you first get to Second Beach. The parking lot is extensive and runs along the road. The opening to the trailhead is unprepossessing. Walk up to the chain link fence and the porta-potty to find it.

The trail goes up a small rise. It is a good path, with steps inset into it where needed. Once you get over the rise, you encounter a set of switchbacks that go down to the beach. Notice the “keepsake” tree towards the end of the trail, where people have left little tokens.

At the bottom of the trail, we encountered the part that, for me, was more challenging than the return trail up the hill. The beach is blocked by about a hundred feet of huge downed trees that fell into the water and were brought up by the waves and pushed into the back of the beach in stormy weather. There is no trail around these trees. You have to climb over them to get in and out. I did this with the help of my brother on the way in and two brothers and a sister-in-law on the way out, looking for the best path, giving me a hand and moral support. So, bring your sticks! If you have a walking disability, you may not be able to reach the sandy beach.

The beach itself is marvelous. The coast is dotted with haystack rock formations and other geological formations. Don’t miss this one if you feel you can handle the trees and the return walk.

How to get there

Quilete Reservation, La Push, Washington

From Forks

Drive north on US 101 to US 110. Turn west on US 110 and drive 12.5 miles to the trailhead, where the road ends.

Parking and facilities

There is lots of parking at Second Beach, a lot and and an overflow lot. There are also a porta-potty at the trail head and an outhouse near the beach. Camping is allowed but dogs are not, and it is a leave no trace area.


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