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Cape Alava

Olympic Peninsula > Pacific Coast
48.1537, -124.6687 Map & Directions
6.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
100 feet
Highest Point
350 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Rivers
  • Good for kids
  • Coast

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Take a beautifully constructed boardwalk a little more than three miles out to the wild Olympic Coast. If you can snag a permit, camping here is divine. If not, while away a few hours playing in the water or ambling along the beach. Continue reading

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Hiking Cape Alava

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.

Hike Description Written by
Tami Asars, WTA Correspondent

Cape Alava

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 48.1537, -124.6687 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

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. There is a bathroom with running water at the trailhead. 

More Hike Details


Olympic Peninsula > Pacific Coast

Cape Alava (#32)

Olympic National Park

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Cape Alava

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