WA – Olympics – Ozette Triangle

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.

Both inland legs of the trail were probably 90-95% boardwalk. I loved the feel and look. So much variety and you couldn’t help but feel like you were in a fairyland.

Much of the flora added to the feeling.

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.

Cape Alava

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.

I believe this is Tskawahyah Island, a protected and sacred American Indian site.

Crazy how those trees grow, a bit like the old flattop haircuts.

Racing the tide, I didn’t have much time to beach comb and search the tide pools, but I did find a few treasures.

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.

The amount of large driftwood logs on this beach is telling of high tide.

Many petroglyphs can be found in an area called Wedding Rocks. Since I hadn’t researched details in advance I didn’t spend much time searching; however, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a few.

These tide warning signs indicate areas that should not be accessed during high tide, which on this date was 2:30pm (photo taken at 11am)

With the sun in my face, I wasn’t able to get any good photos of Sand Point, but this gives you an idea.

You can tell this rock is easy to get around during low tide, but dangerous during high tide. Notice the peek-a-boo hole?


Date Hiked: 5/7/16

Road Trip Day #78


Jan’s Tips:

  • 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

One thought on “WA – Olympics – Ozette Triangle

  1. Beautiful Hike, Just when I thought the photo of the tiny flowers shaped like mini lanterns was my favorite, but then wait, the Petroglyphs photo is my favorite now, and that last arch photo is kinda cool too 😉

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