Ozette Coast Loop, Ozette Coast Trailhead, Olympic National Park, Washington
Ozette Coast Loop - 9.2 Miles
Ozette Coast Trailhead
Ozette Coast Loop
|Round-Trip Length:||9.2 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||27' - 27' (253' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-27 net elevation loss (+407' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
A three mile stretch of wild coast joins the Sand Point Trail and Cape Alava Trail to form a 9.2 mile loop through the Ozette Coast of Olympic National Park.
The Ozette Coast Loop is the most visited backcountry destination in the Park, sought for its remote location and relative ease in reaching most sites. Visitors will enjoy boardwalks to and from the beach, open beach travel, Makah petroglyphs, and land and marine wildlife.
Note that while elevation gain is minimal, two challenging headland climbs and obstacles on the beach make this a moderately strenuous, athletically demanding route.
The following description begins on the Sand Point Trail and travels clockwise:
The trail passes information boards and a seasonal ranger station to the Sand Point - Cape Alava trail split (.2 miles : 68'). The Sand Point boardwalk levels through a heavy understory of salal, yellow skunk cabbage, and various fern. The path's muddy flanks are infused with tannins leached from decaying matter in the forest.
The trail rises nominally on the boardwalk through pockets of hemlock, cedar, and Sitka spruce to a crest (2.5 miles : 134'), where it tilts downhill in a uniformly tall hemlock forest to the coast (2.95 miles).
Scale the first of many driftwood piles and turn north on the beach. The beach is an ankle-bending sequence of deep sand, slick rocks, bull kelp piles, driftwood, and fallen trees. An offshore wave break keeps surf light, making tide pools and even some sea stacks easy to reach at low tide.
A red-black circular symbol at 3.55 miles directs you up an impassable headland. Ropes aid this very steep but non-technical climb. Once up it drops right back down, again with ropes and arguably the harder direction.
The obstacle course resumes around a series of fallen trees to the base of a second headland marked by a red-black symbol (3.85 miles). There is no rope assistance on this shorter climb.
Once back down look for the Wedding Rocks petroglyphs near the headland symbol. The rocks are named in part for their suggestive nature, but also include images of marine and village life. Continue north past established backcountry beach sites (5.05 miles) with views of Cannonball Island and Ozette Island.
A red-black symbol marks the Cape Alava Trail (5.9 miles), located in an open grassy slope framing the beach. The trail climbs 215' in just .6 miles into a markedly drier forest fragmented by Ahlstroms Prairie.
Grades moderate through intervals of open space and diminutive pine before cresting (6.8 miles : 245') and dropping steeply on the boardwalk to a bridge (8.0 miles : 47'). Cedar, Sitak, and hemlock dominate the forest once again back to the trailhead (9.2 miles : 27').
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N48 09.271 W124 40.135 — 0.0 miles : Ozette Coast Trailhead
- N48 09.145 W124 40.319 — .2 miles : Sand Point - Cape Alava Trail split
- N48 08.706 W124 40.949 — 1.0 miles : Mild grade on boardwalk
- N48 08.167 W124 41.835 — 2.0 miles : Travel through large cedar and hemlock
- N48 07.650 W124 42.486 — 2.95 miles : Sand Point Beach
- N48 08.094 W124 42.596 — 3.55 miles : Headland climb #1 (rope aided)
- N48 08.441 W124 42.873 — 4.1 miles : Travel up beach
- N48 08.919 W124 43.170 — 4.85 miles : Headland climb #2
- N48 09.059 W124 43.235 — 5.05 miles : Wedding Rocks campsites
- N48 09.645 W124 43.901 — 6.0 miles : Cape Alava Trail
- N48 09.529 W124 43.093 — 6.7 miles : Steep climb moderates thru prairie
- N48 09.215 W124 41.579 — 8.0 miles : Steep drop to long bridge
- N48 09.270 W124 40.134 — 9.2 miles : Ozette Coast Trailhead
- The Ozette Coast Loop Trail is one of the most heavily used backpacking destinations in Olympic National Park. Plan ahead to secure limited backcountry camping permits and desirable sites, Note that campfires are not permitted south of the headland at Wedding Rocks.
- The two headland climbs can be very difficult with heavy packs, and when saturated.
- Maintained trails and headland circumvention trails are marked by circular red and black signs. Always carry a map, as fog may conceal these signs.
- Look for deer, bald eagles, and seals along the coast.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in Olympic National Park. Contact the Wilderness Information Center (360.565.3100) for backcountry camping reservations, permits, and trail conditions. Visit the WIC: 600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
- Quotas and Reservations are in effect May 1 - September 30 for the Ozette Coast. 50% of sites can be reserved in advance. The other 50% is available first come, first served from the WIC during business hours up to 24 hours in advance.
- Permits for quota areas must be picked up at the WIC, or a staffed ranger station during business hours.
- There's a $5 registration fee per group, plus $2 per person (children under 15 excluded). If you don't have access to a WIC, or plan to arrive early or late, call the WIC to arrange your permit ahead of time. Self-registration trailheads have forms, permits, and submission boxes.
- Reservations may be made no more than 30 days in advance. Groups of 7-12 people must camp in designated group sites within quota areas.
- Camping is permitted only in designated sites within quota areas. Campsites are not individually assigned, but are available to permit holders on a first come, first served basis.
- Deviation from your permit itinerary is not allowed in quota areas, except in emergencies. In other areas, permits are not limited.
- Campfires are prohibited between the headland north of Yellow Banks to the headland at Wedding Rocks. This includes Sand Point.
- Food Storage and Bear Canisters: All food and scented items must be secured 24 hours a day. Hard-sided canisters are required all along the coast.
- The Ozette Campground has 15 sites available on a first come, first served basis. Fees range $12-18 per night. Campgrounds can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 21'.
- All sites have a picnic table and fire pit. Park campgrounds do not have hook-ups or showers. Amenities vary; refer to the NPS website for specific grounds information.
- A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Olympic National Park except when fishing in the Pacific Ocean from shore. No license is required to harvest surf smelt.
- A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters. Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Contact the Park before setting out.
- Recreational fishing in freshwater areas of Olympic National Park is restricted to artificial lures with single, barbless hooks (exceptions may apply).
- The use of seines, traps, drugs, explosives, and nets (except to land a legally hooked fish or dip-net smelt) are prohibited.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
- It's illegal to touch, move, remove, or enter archeological objects and structures. Respect Ozette Indian Reservation boundaries north of Cape Alava.
- Pets are not permitted on trails. Pets are permitted in campgrounds and must be leashed at all times.
The Ozette Coast Trailhead is located 69.3 miles from the US 101 - Highway 112 intersection (just west of Port Angeles).
Drive west from Port Angeles on US 101 to Highway 112. Take 112 north 37.8 miles to to the Highway 113 - Highway 112 split. Continue 10.5 miles on Highway 112 to Hoko Ozette Road (just outside the town of Sekiu). Bear left on Hoko Ozette Road and drive 21 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road.
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information: 360.565.3130
Road & Weather Hotline: 360.565.3131
Wilderness Information Center and Backcountry Permit Office (WIC)
Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center
Forks Information Station
360.374.7566 or 360.374.5877
Quinault Wilderness Information Office