This coastal trail was recommended by Cameo, a local gal I met during my Deer Ridge Trail hike. She called this a local’s favorite so even though it wasn’t on my itinerary, flexibility and deviation from any type of plan are key components of my current lifestyle.
When it comes to coastal hiking, I’m a bit green, although I backpacked the southern section of the Lost Coast trail a few years ago. Learning about tide charts, overland trails, headlands, coves and points, it was something I was looking forward to experiencing and gaining much needed skills for a more challenging hike on my itinerary.
Since I was hiking this loop (triangle) in a day, I decided to start on the trail to Cape Alava. My rationale was that I would arrive near low tide and have a few hours to hike the beach leg prior to high tide limiting access. I could then relax and enjoy the beach for as long as I wanted on the south end before returning to the trailhead.
Cape Alvala is the official begin/end of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) with this section of trail being beach walking. Most hikers use the Ozette trail for entry/exit.
Notice the rocky shoreline, tides out which means lots of tide pools. Low tide was at 7:49am, this photo was taken at 10:00am.
There was a lot of garbage on the beach, most too large to be collected without equipment. You could tell a lot came from cargo ships and fishing vessel. I’ve also heard we are starting to see debris from the Tsunami.
Date Hiked: 5/7/16
Road Trip Day #78
- Ozette Triangle Trail – NPS
- Ozette Triange Trail – Washington Trail Association
- Map – NPS Olympic Wilderness Trip Planner (free from Visitor Center)
- Trail Guide – Olympic National Park & Vicinity by Douglas Lorain
- Map – USFS Olympic Peninsula 2014 edition
- Barefoot Jake (lots of local trail intel and amazing photography)
- The NP campground at Lake Ozette (second largest natural body of freshwater in western Washington) provides for convenient overnight car camping. It’s a $20 per night, no-reservation CG. There are a couple other nearby options if this is full.
- According to my Trimble Outdoors Navigator app, this was a 12 mile, 1900′ elevation gain/loss trip.
- Don’t expect complete solitude. Given my early morning start I had the first and second legs to myself, saw a few campers along the beach, but encountered a parade of hikers on the third leg (from Ozette to Sand Point). A ranger told me while there is a quota system, there can be upwards of 200 people camped on the Sand Point beach during the summer. There were at least 50 cars in the parking lot early the morning after my hike, indicative of the number of overnighters.
- If you want to camp on trail, you’ll need a permit. You can either stop at the NP Visitor Center in Port Angeles or the Ozette Ranger Station for self-registration. You can obtain bear canisters (for the raccoons) at both locations (I believe). Be sure to ask for the Wilderness Trip Planner map as it shows the campsites, impassible headlands, low tide passage areas, and fresh water locations. They will also provide you with a Tide Chart and explain how it works for the area you’ll be visiting. Note: I was told fresh water must be boiled or filtered, that chemicals will not work sufficiently (to kill a bacteria?).
- The tide maps are available from the Visitor Center and are posted at most trailheads and ranger stations. If unfamiliar, take time to learn how to read. (link)
- Nearest resupply is Port Angeles.
- Lake Crescent is between Port Angeles and Ozette Lake and looks to offer plenty of detour opportunities.
- Link to my other jaunts in Washington