Overview of the North Ozette Coast, Washington

IMG_20160513_195436.jpgA couple weeks ago, Louis and I both had a last minute 4-day weekend and decided we would use it to backpack the North Ozette Coast located within the Olympic Wilderness and National Park area. Similar to the Lost Coast write up, we will break up this trip into several different posts including daily trail reports and tide reports.

Olympic Wilderness Coast is located 4.5 hours west of Seattle. The upper most portion of the coast (Shi Shi Beach) is a part Olympic National Park, while the reminder of the norther coast is a part of Olympic Wilderness area. Our choice of transportation for this trip is taking a flight from LAX to Seattle and renting a car to drive to the coast. 

The Quick and Dirty 
Location: The trail head is located at the Ozette Ranger Station within the Olympic Wilderness and Nation Park. The Ozette Ranger Station is located about 4.5 driving hours away from Seatac. You can drive your cars on the ferries for a shorter drive during light traffic hours to save some time, otherwise, it’s probably more time efficient to do the entire drive.
Distance: 12-miles one way from Ozette Ranger Station to Point of Arches/beginning of Shi Shi Beach.
Duration: 2.5 days and 2 nights backpacking
Good to know: 

  • It’s important to time the river and high tide crossing while hiking along the coast. We thought the tide crossings we encountered during this hike was a bit more tricky compared to the Lost Coast. 2.5 days was not enough time for us to cover the distance we wanted to cover due to the high tides.  I will do a separate post on all the crossings we encountered during our hike and link it at the end of this post.
  • Overnight wilderness permit is required in advance to hike from Ozette ranger station to Shi Shi beach from May 1- through September. Fax in permit at least a week in advance to ensure getting a spot. The cost is $5 per person per night. Make sure to read the permit verification and understand the actual permit needs to be picked up by 2PM the day of reservation at the Port Angeles Wilderness Information Center (WIC) not the Ozette ranger station during off seasons (October-end of May). We made the mistake of going all the way to Ozette Ranger Station because I didn’t read the permit properly. Lucky for us we bumped into the ranger at the Ozette station and he was kind enough to write us a permit and lend us bear canisters in order for us to make it to camp that night. The ranger informed us the Ozette ranger station is seasonal and usually open daily around the end of May.
  • Bear canisters are required for this section of the hike. You can borrow one ($5 donation suggested) at Port Angeles or Ozette station during summer hours.
  • Camp fires are allowed along the coast, this saved us big time on the trip because we had purchased a bad fuel canister from REI and wasn’t able to use our stoves for cooking. There are plenty of areas to collect drift wood for a good size camp fire to keep warm at night.
  • Bring sturdy gloves to avoid rope burns while you tackle the overland trails during high tide!

See links below on a summary of each day’s hike:

Day 1- Ozette Ranger Station to Cape Alava

Day 2- Cape Alava to Shi Shi Beach (We didn’t end up having enough time getting to Shi Shi)

Day 3- Seafield Creek back to Ozette Ranger Station

Tide crossings between Ozette Ranger Station and Point of the Arches

Useful references we used to plan for this hike:

Topo map of our planned itinerary 

Kevin’s Travel Blog- Lake Ozette to Shi Shi Beach (Great summary on the hike)

Joe Becker Photo Blog- Great advice found on this blog about carrying gloves to help with the over landing climbs 

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