Northwest Hiking Trails

Cape Alava, Olympic Coast

Trip report by: Wayne Clifford

"I would definitely recommend this trip to a friend."

Cape Alava is one of my favorite family winter/spring hikes. I packed in the easy 3.3 miles with my 16 year old daughter and we spent a couple nights. The 90% boardwalk trail has had many recent upgrades.

Low tides yielded hours of fun observing tide pools. We were graced by many species of wildlife including the wiliey racoon. Plastic buckets with tight fitting lids are now required for food storage... available for low-cost ($1-2) rental from the resort near the trail head. Parking fee at the trail head.

Prepare for rain, storm, and sun. Fires not permitted on the south hike. Small driftwood not readily available for fires at the Cape. Drinking water available for filtering from nearby streams - heavy tanins, but it doesn't tast too bad.

Sunsets are as good as I've seen in the tropics. Petroglyphs a short one mile hike south. Quick hike to the north reveals an ancient shellfish midden sluffing from the adjacent banks. We pondered the origin of the basketball-size "cannon balls" from the easily accessed (at low tide) "Cannon Ball Island." No crowds but it still pays to show up early this time of year.

This is my sixth year of hiking the coast in the winter and I haven't had a bad time yet.

Note :   This is backcountry wilderness travel. Any trail can become very dangerous in winter conditions. You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards and taking the necessary precautions.

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