On our way back to Kalhowya Campground after we did the Cape Flattery trail, we stopped at Shi Shi (pronounced Shy Shy) beach. I have mixed feelings about this hike. The hike itself was long (but we knew that going into it). Aside from the length, the trail is muddy and it rained 80% of the time we were hiking. It IS a rainforest – but, well, I don’t know what I expected – but it wasn’t that.
All of this would have been worth it, if when we got to the end of the trail and hiked down to the beach – if the beach had been nice. When we went – and I don’t know if this is normal – but it was COVERED in dead crab carcasses. They were EVERYWHERE.
After being so wet, and getting out in the sand and getting sand stuck everywhere – because we weren’t going to hike for 2.5 miles (each way) just to stand on the edge and not enjoy the beach, I wish the beach would have at least been nice. I am sure this is a seasonal thing (we went mid-July).
On a side note, the parking lot isn’t huge (no RV parking). There are bathrooms at the trailhead, but that is it. It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get down to the beach from the parking lot. With the rain and the mud, our progress was a lot slower. It was just over 2 miles down to the beach. I think it took us only about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get back to the truck. We spent about 30 minutes on the beach, only a short time but the rain picked up so we started back. If the weather is similar to when we went – I would plan on 4-5 hours for this stop.
Must-Haves for the Shi Shi Beach Hike
Once you get down to the beach you can just soak in the views, camp in the wooded area just behind the beach or keep hiking down to the arches. We weren’t able to do this because of time and the weather but would love to at some point. If you want to camp on the beach, there is a $20 overnight fee to park. Otherwise, you just have to have a Makah Recreation Pass. The area is all managed by the Makah Tribe. The pass is inexpensive and we got ours at the Museum on our way up to Cape Flattery. There are a few different places you can get a pass.
Hiking poles are a MUST-HAVE on this hike. There are just too many slippery muddy messy trail spots to not have something to help you balance. While there are some side trails that go around the more muddy parts, these can still be slippery so be careful.
You will also want to wear ponchos. I recommend water sandals (something like these) that are comfortable for hiking. No tennis shoes/boots and socks. That would be unbearable when they get wet and muddy then full of sand. Take a lot of water and snacks, you can even try to take an umbrella – but the trail and trees will make it almost impossible to use. That is why I recommended a poncho – with a hood.
What I loved about the Shi Shi Beach Hike
OK, now I have to actually write about how much I loved the Shi Shi Beach hike despite all of the rain, mud, and crabs. The trail itself was well maintained and SO BEAUTIFUL. The views out over the ocean when you can glimpse them are spectacular. The view from the beach is also beautiful. On a more clear day, I am sure you could see for miles.
This is a great trail to do at least once. If you have extra time and want to explore – do this trail. If you are strapped for time, skip this over. While it is beautiful, I didn’t feel like there was anything that you couldn’t enjoy on other great trails and beaches that are close.
I hope this helps you prepare for a LONG wet hike.
More places in Washington State to explore…
Be sure to read more about our road trip through Washington, Oregon, and California. We have shared the following so far:
- Top 5 Favorite Things to Do at the Thunderbird RV & Camping Resort
- Thunderbird RV & Camping Resort Review
- Lodgepole Campground in Washington
- Grove of the Patriarchs
- Narada Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park
- How to spend 1 day at Mt. Rainier
- Salt Creek Recreation Area
- Cape Flattery Trail Hike