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Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle)

Olympic Peninsula

The Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle) is two hikes in one: a forest stroll and a walk on the beach. Take the Cape Alava Trail out to the beach and back for a 6.2 mile hike, or continue south along the beach to connect up with the Sand Point Trail for a 9.4 mile loop. Continue reading

Location

Olympic Peninsula -- Pacific Coast
Jump to Map & Directions

Length

9.4 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 100 ft.
Highest Point: 350 ft.

Rating

4.23 out of 5

(57 votes) Log in to rate
  • Wildlife
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Established campsites
  • Coast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass

WTA worked here in 2014!

When the doldrums and ho-hums of the winter blues come rolling in, hop back on the trail at a most unexpected place: the coast! While snow may be falling in the high country, the shoreline never sleeps and always abounds with life. On a recent trip, sea lions barked from a rocky sea stack, otters frolicked in ocean waves and eagles sat watching from high perches above.

The Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle) is two hikes in one: a forest stroll and a walk on the beach. Take the Cape Alava Trail out to the beach and back for a 6.2 mile hike, or continue south along the beach to connect up with the Sand Point Trail for a 9.4 mile loop.

Start your hike at Lake Ozette. At 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. At 0.25 mile, 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, or head south to make a loop.

Turn left to head south along the beach, passing the ancient petroglyphs at Wedding Rocks. Bearing visions of whales, hunters, and sailing ships, these old petroglyphs were carved by ancestors of the Makah tribe using various tools, including rocks and bone.

Aside from being under legal protection, these remarkable features are culturally significant and important to the Makah tribe. Please respect them as you pass by.

From Wedding Rocks, hug the shoreline until you arrive at Sand Point, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. From there, look for a large disk indicating a trail near the woods. This is the return trail that will take you back to where you started. The complete loop totals 9.4 miles.

WTA Pro Tip: The Makah Museum in Neah Bay is world class. Get to know and understand this living, vital community by visiting. Find out more at makah.com

Extending Your Hike: Overnight camping is allowed. Obtain a permit by contacting Olympic National Park (www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-coast.htm). Bear canisters or hard-sided food storage containers are required, primarily to deter the area’s clever raccoons, who have figured out how to work toggles, zippers, and plastic container lids.

Hike by WTA Correspondents
Tami Asars

Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle)

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.1536, -124.6679 Open in Google Maps

Trailhead

Olympic Peninsula -- Pacific Coast

Cape Alava-Sand Point Loop (#31)

Olympic National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano – Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Ozette No. 130S map

Getting There

From Port Angeles, head west on U.S. Highway 101 for about 4.5 miles. Turn right to continue west on State Route 112 for 38 miles. Turn right to continue on 112 west towards Neah Bay. Continue for 10.5 miles, turning left Hoko Ozette Road / Ozette Lake Road. Follow this road for 21.2 miles to the ranger station and trailhead.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle)

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