Backpacking over the weekend was amazing timing - whales, eagles, an otter,...
Sand Point (Ozette Loop)
Sand Point (Ozette Loop)
This truly is a must-see. The Olympic Peninsula is full of Washington's most remote coastlines, and Sand Point Beach is one of the finest: imagine sandy beaches, the mighty Pacific, seals, eagles, tidal flats, and sea stacks. Awesome.
The route to the beach is part of the popular Ozette Loop trail, a 9.0 mile triangular path that starts at Lake Ozette and includes Cape Alava and Sand Point Beach as the other two tips of the triangle (with a primitive beach connector in-between).
The full loop can be done in either direction (most people head up to Cape Alava first so the prevailing winds are at their back during the beach section), but for our hike we decided to take the quick spur out to Sand Point, set up shop, and then explore along the beach at our leisure.
From the trailhead, cross the bridge over Ozette River and at the junction a quarter-mile in, head left to Sand Point (the right goes up north to Cape Alava). From here it's a raised boardwalk trek out to the coast. Mind your step and enjoy the lush greenery of cedar, spruce, and ferns all around.
Disembark the trail at the beach, and take a note of any distinguishing markers that will help you return to the trail – with miles of similar-looking trees and sand, you don't want to miss your return trail. Low tides can bring up to 600 feet of exposed tidal flats to explore – you can expect to see tons of sea life – but always exercise caution on the slick rocks and make good decisions regarding the incoming tides so you don't get swept out to sea. We're serious. If you plan on camping, it's worth wandering up and down the beach for a good spot as there are many to choose from.
The ranger station at Lake Ozette (located at the trailhead and open June through Labor Day) is a wealth of info for maps, Makah Indian historical sites, tidal information, bear canisters, and camping. However, to make reservations to backpack and camp, you'll want to call the Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles.
Permits & Tips
Olympic National Park entrance fee required. Wilderness overnight fee required (purchase at ranger station). Camping reservations are required at Cape Alava, but not at Sand Point Beach. Toilets and water available at trailhead. No pets allowed. No fires allowed at Sand Point. Bear canisters required if camping. Bring a water filter if you plan to get water from a stream at the beach. Olympic National Park info here.
How to get there
From Highway 101, head north on WA-113 and continue on as it becomes WA-112.
About 2.0 miles past the town of Sekiu, turn left onto Hoko Ozette Road (which shares a name with Ozette Lake Road later down the road) and follow for 21 miles (paved) to the trailhead near the Lake Ozette campground. Ranger Station and parking are clearly signed.