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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

97%

Runnable

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

Runner Notes

Boardwalks can become very slippery when wet or frosty.

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

#5792

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

#247

in Washington

#5,792

Overall
21 Views Last Month
4,252 Since Apr 1, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

33%
0%
67%
0%
0%
0%

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
Cape Alava
Feb 25, 2015 near Forks, WA
Gap in the trees from Cape Alava at low tide
Dec 26, 2018 near Forks, WA

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