After Toleak Point hike last year for my birthday, Andy and I decided to do it again as an end of summer hike and invite friends. I was more than happy to lend out backpacking gear. The hike is gentle with some obstacles along the way, including watching and dodging the coastal tides. High tides can cause long wait times or wading through crashing waves leaving crossing to the brave and creative.

Early Saturday morning, we left Seattle and drove to catch the Edmonds ferry to the Olympic Peninsula. Riding the WSDOT ferries across the Puget Sound never gets old. As we waited in line to board the ferry, the sun began to rise and lit up the surrounding mountains, including Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Olympic range in the distance.

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After arriving in Kingston, we drove to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to rent a couple of bear canisters, along with our hiking permits. Bear canisters are required for the rodents on the peninsula-not for bears. Check out the Olympic National Park page for more information. From the Port Angeles visitor center, we headed towards La Push to the trailhead.

The hike starts at the Third Beach trailhead through the forest to the beach itself for roughly a mile and a half. Hiking to the crashing waves’ rhythm, hike along the beach until the first climb up the bluff to Taylor Point. A rope is there for the wet, muddy days but isn’t needed.

Hike down to Taylor Point reaching a small beach area. Here is where you may have to wait for low tide before making the climb up Scott’s Bluff. A little steeper than the first climb, ropes are helpful here. The second part of the elevation gain to get to the bluff has a rope ladder before reaching a flat trail through the last shaded section of the hike.

The trail winds through the forest before gradually descending back to the ocean and walking along the sandy beach. Take off those hiking boots and walk barefoot passing Graveyard Point and Strawberry Point with views of sea stacks off the coast and into the distance. Keeping my Chacos accessible, I wore them when walking over bug-infested dried seaweed. The bugs were small and didn’t seem to care much for us.

We then found a great camping spot just shy of Toleak Point to pitch the two tents and hammock we would call home for the night. Once camp was set, we gathered firewood, filtered fresh water, and headed to the tide pools at the point to explore since it was low tide. Wading through the water and taking my time, I saw barnacles, starfish, hermit crabs, and lots of colorful seaweed.

After exploring the tide pools, we headed back to camp, collected more firewood, and started a fire as the sun began to set. It was one of the most vibrant and beautiful sunsets I have seen.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out, drinking wine out of carton, and photography. My friends even surprised me with a small piece of chocolate cake with a birthday candle.

We slept in the next more to time our hike out with the tide. I had fun climbing down the ropes we climbed up the day before.

Below is the video shot of hiking the trail. Check out the Washington Trail Association’s South Coast Wilderness Trail to Toleak Point for more information.

*Bump up the quality for optimal viewing.

Do you have an end-of-summer tradition?

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