Cape Alava Loop is two hikes in one: a forest stroll and a walk on the beach. For those who don't have time for a 9-mile loop, the short hike on a beautiful boardwalk through forest is just the ticket. Take the Cape Alava Trail out to the beach and back for a 6.2 mile hike.
Start your hike at Lake Ozette. Eight miles long and three miles wide, Lake Ozette is the largest unaltered natural lake in Washington. Cross the Ozette River on a beautiful arched bridge and away you go. A quarter mile in, come to a trail junction and stay right—the trail to the left will be your return trail if you choose to make a complete loop.
Before long, your trail becomes a beautiful cedar boardwalk through dense forest of western redcedar, licorice ferns, salal, and other evergreen varieties. Use caution on the boardwalk if wet or icy, as the planks can occasionally become slippery. The elevated path gently meanders through the understory, gaining little elevation as you continue onward.
Pass through an area called Ahlstrom’s Prairie at 2.25 miles. This giant, soggy meadow was once farmed by two Swedish immigrants who filled the 160-acre bog with sheep, cattle, and vegetable gardens. Today, any evidence of the farming has given way to native plant and animal life.
The roar and smell of the ocean becomes unmistakable as you approach the wild coast of Cape Alava. At 3.3 miles, arrive at the beach and enjoy the views and creatures that live in this isolated place. Tskawahyah Island is not far off, standing as a giant rock guardian complete with freestanding trees adorning the top. Watch the winter sun sink lower in the sky and return the way you came.
- 6.2 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 100 feet
- Highest Point
- 350 feet
Hiking Cape Alava
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.1537, -124.6687 Open in Google Maps