Recently sister and I decided to take a drive through the olympic peninsula in search of a hike that involved mountain goats. They're adorable, super photogenic, and haven't killed anyone in Washington since 2010. We found goats, no vampires, got our shoes soaking wet, and glamped!
After some switchbacks through an old growth forest, a climb up a trail that made us channel our inner mountain goat, and a careful crossing of what people were calling a glacier (it was just snow) we were absolutely sure we were nearly to the top! NOPE! Despite a number of hikers going the opposite direction saying we were almost there, it doesn't feel that way when you're going uphill. Steps led up the rest of the mountain where we found a number of goats that had little fear of people.
The hike was about 7 miles total, 3.5 miles up hill, then turning around to do 3.5 miles downhill. A lot of hikers had poles to help them along, but they didn't seem super necessary. There are some rocks to climb up, so your hands will get a little dirty, and the glacier is slippery. If it's foggy when you go (like it was for us) you can lose the trail when it crosses the snow. Just look the muddy snow, with footprints. Every time we thought the path ended, we always found it again. Bring snacks, water, and your inner mountain goat.
Pushing onward we went in search for the glittering vampires everyone had been talking about. Forks, WA is probably the last place I would go if I was a vampire, which is why we weren't too surprised to not find any. We glamped (glamorously camped) near La Push, werewolf territory, and ate breakfast on first beach. There was a pre-made fire pit, and a few dry driftwood logs so we made a fire to keep warm. It may have been July, but nobody told La Push. Hats and gloves were necessary.
There was no cell reception in Forks or La Push for either of us, so just something to keep in mind if you also end up here and realize pretty quickly it's time to go in search of another hike and adventure. We chose to drive to the far corner of Washington State, partly to say we were there, and try to see Canada.
If you ever find yourself in Forks, WA looking for glittering vampires and leave disappointed, don't forget how far you've come. From there it's less an 1.5 hour drive to the tip of Washington.
The hike to and through shi shi can be between 4 and 8 miles round trip, depending on how far you go. Time it right with the tide schedule, and try to get there at the lowest tide point if you want to do the entire hike. It's a muddy two miles from the parking lot to the beach. REAL MUDDY. I read this before and didn't take it seriously, despite the fact that it was also raining. There are some side trails that go around the swampy trail, but for the most part, your feet are going to get wet no matter what.
Once the mud us over and the path through the forest ends, it's a steep climb down to the beach, luckily a rope has been placed there to help guide you. For this reason I wouldn't recommend bringing pets to shi shi. Keep in mind once you climb down, you have to climb up as well.
We didn't camp at shi shi but it would be an amazing place to stay over night. There are several private lots that offer overnight parking. I have read that a Makah recreation pass is required as well.