Mora Campground and Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park
Mora Campground is located near the mouth of the Quillayute River on the Washington coast. The campground is tucked away in old growth forest and some of the campsites give great views of the river. We were fortunate to spend one night at Mora with the entire campground to ourselves in January. It was a very cold night, but we managed to stay snug in our tent and sleeping bags.
There two short trails near the campground. One goes to James Pond and the other goes along the slough (the Slough Trail). Both meander through the tall forest, though the fall storms of 2006 caused a great number of trees to fall. When we took the trail we had to climb over limb and trunk and hope to find the trail on the other side. There were several spots where it was difficult to follow the trail. But the trail was otherwise enjoyable, we saw a river otter diving in the slough below - probably trying to catch fish for dinner. Mora campground proved to be a great place to enjoy the forest and convenient place to stay to only two miles away from the popular Rialto Beach, which is known for the Hole-in-the-Wall and for great tide pooling in the summer months.
We've been to Rialto Beach twice during the off season and both times the parking lot was full. I don't know how they manage traffic during the busier months. Rialto Beach is somewhat difficult to walk - the beach is composed of mainly smoothed pebbles of just about every size. It makes walking on the beach somewhat of a workout, but the sound of the waves picking up rocks and throwing them against each other is an amazing sound of nature.
One can backpack out on Rialto Beach, but the high foot traffic would make it less than desirable, unless you backpacked a greater distance than how far the usual crowd goes. Still the beach is beautiful and the sea creatures in the tide pools abound. When we hiked out in January, the many bald eagles were very actively calling from the tree tops. On separate occasions, we watched gulls try to swallow seastars whole. It was an entertaining site - first watching the gulls fight over the seastars, then watching the gull try to swallow it. It's pretty amazing what they can fit in their mouths and crops!
Great Blue Heron
Other Critter List
Northern River Otter (1 adult with 2 young)
California Sea Lion
Located: near La Push,
Directions: off of hwy-101, follow Hwy-110 (1 mile north of Forks) to Mora Road. Continue on Mora Road.
Mora campground pdf