Rainforest Meets Cliff-hugging Beaches at Toleak Point
Hiking along the Olympic Coast
Beautiful Toleak Point is located on the coast of Washington state in Olympic National Park. More importantly—for my inner Twilight fan—this is where the Twilight books take place. I can’t lie; while we were there, I kept looking for werewolves.
While it rains a lot in the Twilight books, we had perfect weather for our trip. To make the most of the last few weeks of summer, we decided to hike out to Toleak Point. It was so hot with the sun peeking through the treetops that I found myself in a tank top and zipping off my convertible pant legs, which I never do.
The woods were incredibly green. This part of the state is temperate rainforest and all of the green makes for a gorgeous hike. After the walk through the woods, my hiking partner, Andy, and I arrived at the famous Third Beach, a wilderness area.
There are a number of steep climbs on this trail. Some have stairs or rope ladders built in to help hikers, but the particular pitch we chose sported a rope for hikers to hang on to. Fortunately for us, the slope was mostly dry; I’m sure it’s much more difficult and dirty when the slope is wet and muddy, as it likely often is in this climate. However, wet or dry, the steep climb is worth it for the views of the ocean and stacks (which are stone mounds sticking up from the ocean). Some look like spires, some look almost like haystacks.
Climbing back down to the beach, this time on man-made stairs, we continued on, finding smooth sailing all the way to Toleak Point. At that point, I decided to take off my boots and socks and hike barefoot. Where else can you do that?
On the point, we filled our water bottles and set up our tent in the shelter of the trees. Plenty of time was then spent soaking up some sun and enjoying the waves crashing against the sand. All in all, the hike took us on a journey of about 6.4 miles.
Stunning sunset from our first night on Toleak Point
This would have been the perfect trip for relaxing, but I was completely under-prepared for that; a book, my swimsuit, and a towel would have made perfect accompaniments to this trip. But, Andy and I made due. For the rest of the night, we snacked, cooked, photographed, and explored until the sun set behind the horizon.
The next morning, we woke up around high tide. Eating breakfast, we took our time with the hope that the tide would subside enough to give us an easy return trip. However, it was not to be. The tide remained uncomfortably high and we found ourselves needing to cling tight to the rocky cliff as we slowly crossed over the waves. Because of the tide, Andy and I faced a few more obstacles on the return that we hadn’t dealt with the day before, including fallen trees and a landslide from earlier in the year.
Even with these challenging moments, the hike to Toleak Point is more relaxing and had less elevation change than most of the hikes I do. And, even though I did not see any werewolves or vampires, I still thought it exciting enough to turn this into an annual trip with friends (or a good book!).
While our route was 6.4 miles one way, it only made up a part of the South Coast Wilderness Trail which is a full 17 miles and takes two or three days.
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Hiking barefoot on the beach sounds nice. Do you have a favorite beach hike or camping spot? Tell us about it in the comments.
About the author:
Angela Anderson is travel blogger sharing how to make the most of vacation days. She enjoys hiking and backpacking trips to city touring. When she is not traveling and blogging, she lives in Seattle and enjoys the great outdoors, photography, and crafts.
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