Waves batter against the rocky shoreline, the outline of a double sea stack peaks through a massive arch carved out of an outcropping that juts out into the sea: Rialto Beach’s Hole in the Wall is truly an iconic sight. Hiking Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall is a can’t miss experience in Olympic National Park and deserves a spot on any Pacific Northwest bucket list. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Rialto Beach hike to Hole in the Wall.
Rialto Beach: Hole in the Wall
- Distance | 3.3 miles
- Elevation gain | 100 feet
- Total Time | 1 – 2 hours
- Difficulty | Easy
- Dogs allowed | No. Dogs are permitted on Rialto Beach up to Ellen Creek. To hike all the way to Hole in the Wall, you will not be able to bring your pup so please leave them at home!
Find this hike on AllTrails: Hole in the Wall from Rialto Beach
Known for its black and gray pebbled beach and enormous sea stacks, Rialto Beach is certainly one of the most famous locations in Olympic National Park. But those who step out on the rock-covered beach without embarking on the short journey to Hole in the Wall are seriously missing out!
Hole in the Wall is a large arch carved out of a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean off Rialto Beach.
Getting to Hole in the Wall requires an easy 3.3-mile round-trip stroll along Rialto Beach, a journey that is 100% worth the extra effort. Expect the hike to take between 1 to 2 hours roundtrip.
If you’re looking for a longer adventure, you have the option to extend your hike up to 13 miles along the length of Rialto Beach.
Other Washington Resources
Looking for more to do in Washington?! We’ve got lots of resources to help you plan your trip!
- Beautiful PNW-moody beach views
- Unique rock formations, including the arch at Hole in the Wall and several cool sea stacks
- It’s possible to beat the crowds and enjoy this spot to yourself in the early morning
- Coastal Oregon weather means conditions are often rainy, cold and gloomy
- Popular location means you’ll likely share the spot with many other hikers
- Walking through sand adds an extra challenge to an otherwise easy hike
Where is Rialto Beach?
Covering nearly 1 million acres of land on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, Olympic National Park is one of the United States’ most unique national parks, home to three distinct environments: the coast, the rainforest and the mountains.
Rialto Beach and Hole in the Wall is located in the coastal section of Olympic National Park, near the small town of La Push.
Despite its popularity, accessing Rialto Beach takes a little bit of effort, as it’s quite a long drive from any major cities.
Olympia is the closest major city, located just over 3 hours by car from Rialto Beach. From Seattle, it’s about 4 hours around the northern end of the Olympic Peninsula to get here.
If you are flying in from out of town, the closest airport is the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
The Washington Coast makes a nice extension to an Oregon Coast road trip. From the Oregon Coast town of Astoria, it’s about 4 hours to the trailhead for Rialto Beach and Hole in the Wall.
Where to stay near Rialto beach
The small town of La Push and the surrounding vicinity is the most convenient place to stay for hiking to Hole in the Wall. However, lodging is limited here so Forks, Washington is the next best alternative.
An oceanfront resort just minutes from Rialto Beach featuring oceanview cabins, motel rooms, a campground and RV park and access to the property’s private beach.
Located just 8 minutes from Rialto Beach on the banks of the Quillayate River, this lovely resort features suites with kitchenettes and river views.
Camping at Rialto beach
For a unique camping experience and easy backcountry adventure, it’s also possible to camp on Rialto Beach! Wilderness permits are required for backpacking on Rialto Beach and must be obtained in advance. For trips during the summer (May – September), permits are released in mid-April. Check the Olympic National Park website for more details and exact permit release dates for this year.
There is currently no limit on the number of permits that are released for Rialto Beach. While this means you shouldn’t have any trouble securing a permit, it also means you’ll be sharing the beach with quite a few other campers.
Rialto Beach is a super popular spot to camp, particularly given the short, easy hike in. Don’t expect a quiet, secluded backcountry experience. That being said, having a campfire and watching the sunset from your tent on Rialto Beach is quite an unforgettable experience!
Other important details about camping at Hole in the Wall
Below are a few important rules and regulations to be aware of if you are planning to camp at Hole in the Wall on Rialto Beach:
- Groups of larger than 12 are prohibited.
- Camp only in previously used campsites in order to avoid unnecessary damage to this fragile area.
- Water is available at Ellen Creek.
- Pit toilets are sometimes available near the large sea stacks south of Hole in the Wall. Otherwise, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water sources and campsites.
- Pets are not permitted to camp with you at Rialto Beach.
Important Note | It may seem unusual being at the beach, but bears do frequent this area so proper bear storage is essential. The park requires the use of approved bear canisters for camping at Rialto Beach.
Can I have a fire on Rialto Beach?
Can you imagine a better way to spend an evening than cracking a cold beer and roasting a s’more over a campfire while watching the sunset over Rialto Beach? Luckily, camp fires are permitted on Rialto Beach.
However, there are a few important rules to make sure you follow:
- Use only existing fire rings or build your fire directly on the beach.
- You may gather driftwood to use for your fire, but it is prohibited to gather wood from the forest.
- As always, use good campfire etiquette. That includes not leaving your campfire unattended and drowning it completely before leaving or going to bed.
How difficult is the Rialto Beach Hole in the Wall hike?
Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall is a fairly easy hike at just over 3 miles and minimal elevation gain. Because there is not a true trail, the hardest part of the hike is walking through the sand on Rialto Beach. In some parts, the beach is quite rocky and the deep pebbles are a bit frustrating to walk through.
Nonetheless, this hike is suitable for kids, families, and hikers of all experience levels.
When is the best time to hike Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall?
Hiking to Hole in the Wall on Rialto Beach is possible any time of year. The best time of year to visit is during the summer (June through mid-September), when temperatures range from the mid-50s to 60s and the chance of rain is at its lowest.
That being said, Rialto Beach is not a place you should typically expect to pack a towel and bikini and get your tan on. Even in the summer, the Washington Coast is often quite chilly, windy and overcast.
Winter (December through February) on the Washington Coast is fairly mild, with highs in the mid 40s and lows in the upper 30s . However, rain, fog and clouds are all too common, so if you’re visiting during the winter, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket and be prepared for moody coastal conditions.
Spring (March through May) and Fall (October to November) bring slightly warmer temperatures, but rain and clouds are still the norm.
Tides at Rialto Beach
It’s important to check the tide schedule before you hike Rialto Beach to Hole in the Wall. Hole in the Wall cannot be reached at high tide, so it’s best to visit when the tide is lower.
Additionally, if you plan to continue the hike past Hole in the Wall (more on that here), there are additional sections of the trail that aren’t passable at high tide. Make sure you plan your hike accordingly to avoid getting stuck or finding yourself in a dangerous situation.
Important Tip | Make sure you check the tide schedule before you start your hike to Hole in the Wall!
What to pack for hiking to Hole in the wall
- Packable Towel | This little towel packs down tiny and is perfect to bring to sit out on the beach.
- Rain jacket | Even if it’s sunny when you start, it’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket when hiking on the Washington Coast because the weather can be crazy unpredictable! My Patagonia Torrentshell is my all-time favorite rain jacket for hiking.
- Hiking Sandals | Don’t expect a soft sandy beach at Rialto. You won’t want to walk barefoot on the rocky beach. We recommend a pair of comfortable sandals with good traction like Chacos.
- Pullovers (Hers: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip, His: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip) | Be prepared for heavy wind and chilly temperatures on Rialto Beach.
Rialto Beach Hole in the Wall Hike Details
In this section, we’ll give you all the details of the hike to Hole in the Wall on Rialto Beach!
parking & Getting to the trailhead
Parking for Rialto Beach is located at the end of Mora Road. The parking area is fairly large, but since this is a popular spot, it definitely fills up during the middle of the day. Restrooms are available at the trailhead.
As usual, we recommend getting an early start (checking the tides of course), to best avoid the crowds and enjoy some solitude at Hole in the Wall. We started our hike around 7am and the parking lot was nearly empty when we first arrived.
Note | If you are camping overnight on Rialto Beach, there is a separate backpackers parking lot adjacent to the main lot. You will need to make sure you park here, as overnight parking is not permitted in the main lot.
starting the Rialto Beach hike
From the parking area, find the trail heading north towards the beach. Once you reach the beach, the trail disappears. Here you’ll have a nice view of James Island and Little James Island, two large, flat sea stacks off the coastline.
Continue along the gray rocky beach heading north while you soak in the moody coastal views. The forest comes right up to the edge of the beach, and piles of driftwood lie along the edge of the shore.
At about a mile from the trailhead, you’ll cross a stream known as Ellen Creek. Depending on the time of year, you may have to get your feet wet to cross the creek. We’d recommend hiking in a pair of athletic sandals, like Chacos or Tevas, rather than hiking boots or tennis shoes for this hike.
Double sea stacks
Continue another half a mile and you’ll come upon a set of two enormous sea stacks. It’s worth getting up close for a really nice view looking out between the two sea stacks into the ocean. In the rock shoreline below the double sea stacks, you’ll also find numerous teeming tide pools.
Tip | Keep an eye out for wildlife! We saw numerous beautiful bright starfish, as well as a bald eagle on our hike to Hole in the Wall.
Hole in the wall
After passing the sea stacks, you can see a small outcropping that juts out into the water. Hole in the Wall is just on the other side of the little peninsula. To get there, you will walk over the large boulders along the bottom of the rocky cliff. The rocks here can be quite slippery, as they are largely covered with algae and seaweed, so use caution as you make your way around to Hole in the Wall.
Turn the corner and the famous Hole in the Wall will come into view. You can walk through the arch and turn around for a spectacular view looking through Hole in the Wall to the ocean and the twin sea stacks you passed by earlier.
Safety tip | Do not cross through Hole in the Wall at high tide. A good rule of thumb is that if water is covering the ground underneath the Hole in the Wall arch, it is not safe to continue.
Tide pools at hole in the wall
The large boulders around Hole in the Wall are teeming with little tidepools, home to a variety of sea creatures, like star fish, anemones, crabs, small fish and more!
Please remember to leave no trace as you explore the tide pools, as the sea life that makes these little pockets home is incredibly fragile. Avoid walking through the tide pools and stick to the bare rocks. Never pick up or touch the anemones and other creatures living in the tide pools, and of course, do not take anything with you – this includes clams, rocks, and seaweed.
Tip | The best time to explore the tide pools is at low tide.
Extend the hike
The section of Rialto Beach around Hole in the Wall is certainly the most popular and scenic, but Rialto Beach itself actually continues for quite a bit longer.
If you’re interested in extending the hike, it’s possible to continue on Rialto Beach for another 5 miles or so past Hole in the Wall. It’s a great way to leave the crowds behind and explore a quieter section of Rialto Beach. Along the way you’ll be treated to more sea stacks and beautiful coastal views.
There are also more camping sites past Hole in the Wall. If you’re planning to backpack and want a quieter camping experience, you may prefer to continue a little further down Rialto Beach.
Other Washington Resources
Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do in the Pacific Northwest? You may also be interested in the following:
- Best Hikes on the Oregon Coast
- Hike to Short Beach: A Secluded Beach near Oceanside
- How to Find Secret Beach on the Oregon Coast
- Why Oceanside is Worth a Visit: A Hidden Gem on the Oregon Coast
- Hobbit Trail in Florence, Oregon: A Magical Forest to Beach Hike
Questions about hiking to Hole in the Wall on Rialto Beach? Let us know in the comments section below!