Lake Ozette – an introduction

Posted by Ken Campbell July 20, 2008 0 Comment 2430 views

Lake Ozette is the 3rd largest lake in Washington. Eight miles from top to bottom and five miles from side to side. It is located within the coastal strip of Olympic National Park.

The trailheads at Ozette are popular jumping-off spots for coastal hikers. The Cape Alava-Sand Point-Lake Ozette triangle is one of the most popular trails in the state. The triangle is roughly equalateral, three miles a side. The trails that originate at the Ozette ranger station are largely boardwalks, timber sidewalks through the forest and across the prairies.

The lake lies 29 feet above sea level.

Streams and rivers flow into the lake from every side. Lake Ozette drains an area of more than 140 square miles. The topography of the basin is steep, with peaks rising 210 to 300 feet not far from the lake shore and high points in the watershed approaching 600 feet.

The only access to the lake is via the Hoko-Ozette road to the north shore. It’s about 20 miles from the Ozette campground to Sekiu, but it sems much further.

Lake Ozette is home to thirteen species of fish including sockeye, kokanee and coho.

Beginning in 1892, many Scandinavian settlers made claims around the lake, buiding a little community on the lake shore, about 2 miles from the ocean. Dairy products were packed by trail for sale at Clallam Bay and shipment to Port Angeles, Seattle, and elsewhere. There was a store, a church, and a post office. The population peaked, however, at about 130 claims at which point the Olympic Forest Reserve was established, which pretty much wiped out the real estate market.

In addition to the two trails mentioned above, There is a third that winds from the lake to the Pacific coast. It is possible to launch a canoe at the ranger station, paddle south into Ericson’s Bay, and set up camp under the spreading fir and spruce in a comfortable boat-in only campground. A hundred yards or so to the south of the bay is a trail that cuts across the heavily forested spine of park land that separates the lake from the ocean. I have been here before, but it has been a long time.

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