The Best Views in the National Parks: Point of Arches

Olympic National Park, WA
point arches

Photo by Greg Vaughn

These sea stacks, lonely figures rising from Shi Shi Beach, are iconic in their own right. But when the tide withdraws, the watery foreground transforms into a secret garden teeming with fish, seaweed, and mollusks—the closer you get, the more you’ll see. “I was really happy to find the tide pools so healthy,” says photographer Greg Vaughn, “because I’d documented the effects of an oil spill along this coast a number of years ago.” Combined with the horizon stretching into the Pacific, this spot offers the most wide-ranging view in the park. Get there via rainforest and beach from the Makah Indian Reservation. Trailhead 36.160328, -109.476963 Season May to September Permit Makah Rec. Pass, $10/vehicle; camping, $5/person per night, reserve ahead