Cape Alava Campground Hike
This is a easy out and back trail to Cape Alava Campground in Olympic National Park. Parking can be found just beyond Ozette Campgrounds across the one lane bridge.
You'll walk over boardwalks most of the way through the forest, through a few meadows, and find yourself at the edge of the forest going down to the ocean. Many campsites along the shore are available, but bear cans or ropes are required for all food. Bears have been spotted on this trail, so carry bear spray and be aware.
Pay attention to the tide tables listed on the ranger station to know if you will have more or less shore to explore.
This trail starts on the bridge right by the bathrooms at Lake Ozette Camp and takes you into the forest. A quarter mile in, you will come to a Y that leads to the Wedding Rocks (left), or Cape Alava (right). Stay right and find yourself on boardwalks almost the entire way. While this trail gains very little elevation overall, it should be noted that there are a decent number of stairs that go up and down through the forest. Wear shoes/boots with good tread, as the boardwalk can be slick when wet. The boardwalk is well maintained and any holes/missing planks are quickly replaced during the heavy trafficked seasons. Bear spray should be carried at all times and ample noise made while hiking, as frequent bear sightings are putting this path in danger of being closed temporarily.
This trail hosts a variety of vegetation and an incredible number of mushrooms, so keep your eyes peeled. The prairie you will cross at 2.25 miles once housed farm animals and gardens, but has since been reclaimed by Mother Nature. Around 3 miles in, you should be able to hear the roar of the ocean, and will find a rope leading down to the beach at 3.3 miles. Cross the wood plank to the right to go to the campsites, or continue downwards towards the shore. Practice leave no trace principles and pack out what you bring and what you find. You will likely find many pieces of trash along the shore that the ocean has brought in that are too big for the average day hiker to pack out (such as an actual sink, a giant rubber barrel, or even dead sea life). If you time your hike right, you can watch the sun set over the ocean before making your way back.
This trail is also popular for being part of the Ozette Triangle. You can extend this hike by continuing south along the coast to see the Wedding Rocks. After 3 miles, you will come across Sand Point and find the big circular disk that marks Sand Point Trail, which will take you back to the junction of Wedding Rocks and Cape Alava, where you started. This triangle is 9.4 miles in total, as opposed to the 6 miles for just doing Cape Alava out and back.
These a very easy hike almost exclusively on boardwalks with stairs going up and down. As long as the distance isn't a problem, this trail is easy for younger children. It is also a popular backpacking destination for young scouts.
Rate this Hike