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Cape Alava Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.4 (9)

This is a spectacular boardwalk path through lush rainforest to the ocean.


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Map Key

3.4

Miles

5.4

KM

Point to Point

222' 68 m

High

35' 11 m

Low

258' 79 m

Up

274' 84 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Lush rainforests surrounding a rustic boardwalk make for a wonderful hiking experience for children.

Description

How cool: This trail visits the westernmost point on the US mainland (of the contiguous 48 states)! This is also a popular area for backpackers with permits who can spend a few magical nights savoring the coastal experience. The Cape Alava Trail is well maintained and composed mostly of (sometimes slippery) boardwalk and sections of stairs. Because the change in elevation on this trail is minimal, it is suitable for families and folks of all abilities.

This out-and-back trail starts from the parking area and seasonal ranger station off Seafield Road. Cross the Ozette River and take the right fork onto the Cape Alava Trail heading west. Traverse mostly flat ground with a few rolling sections through ferny, wet forest. The raised boardwalk keeps you out of the boggy areas. The last part of the trail descends a few flights of stairs over the bluff to the beach - use the rope to steady yourself as needed.

At the beach, there are many campsites scattered about and a pit toilet. Depending on the tides, the shoreline can be a wonderful place for exploring tide pools and general beach combing. Check the tide tables with the ranger at the parking lot.

Just to the north, on the sheltered side of Cape Alava, is an important archaeological site. In the 1960's the coastline eroded to expose Ozette Indian stone artifacts, longhouses, and bones - some 2000 years old. In all, archaeologists recovered 50,000 pieces which are now housed in the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. After excavation was completed, the scientists reburied the site and planted vegetation.

Flora & Fauna

Bald eagles, seabirds, owls, harbor seals, deer, rabbit raccoon. Grey whales off the coast in late spring and summer. Cedar, huckleberry.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 9 votes

#6011

Overall
  4.4 from 9 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
11%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#255

in Washington

#6,011

Overall
16 Views Last Month
4,328 Since Apr 1, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

33%
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67%
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Photos

Little bit of coastal meadow
Aug 26, 2017 near Forks, WA
Nearing the coast
Aug 26, 2017 near Forks, WA
That golden Pacific sun is sooooo soothing.
Aug 26, 2017 near Forks, WA
Olympic National Park Cape Alava Trail (by Miguel Vieira)
Apr 24, 2015 near Forks, WA
The Cape Alava Trail traverses dense coastal forests.
Jun 26, 2017 near Forks, WA
Cape Alava
Feb 25, 2015 near Forks, WA

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Check-Ins

Jul 21, 2020
David Scott
Mar 25, 2020
Carly Verboort
Jun 15, 2019
Dat Nguyen
Jul 2, 2018
Isaac Bozeman
Jun 14, 2018
Isaac Bozeman
Jul 6, 2016
Jessie Smith
Apr 8, 2016
Gretchen Kruger
Backpacked in and camped two nights and came back out on the 10th. Birthday weekend adventure with Jon and Tanya 6.8mi
Oct 31, 2010
Jay Perry