- Wild but wonderful, Ozette Lake is a treat for the eyes but also a good place to fish, hike, and enjoy a sometimes windy and wavy canoe or kayak trip.
- Not far from the Makah Cultural Center, the area around the lake is rich in Native American history.
What can I see and do at Ozette Lake?
Fishing: Ozette, which is one of the largest natural lakes in Washington State, is home to about a dozen different species of fish including yellow perch, largemouth bass, squawfish, steelhead, and sockeye, Kokanee, and Coho salmon.
In some cases, fishing is catch-and-release only, except that there are no limits on yellow perch, largemouth bass, bullhead trout, and pike minnow. Gear is limited to artificial lures with a barb-less, single-point hook. The season runs from April until the end of October.
Hiking: There are a number of hiking trails that traverse the land around Ozette Lake. Many of them lead to the wonderful Pacific Coast Marine Sanctuary, a 3,300 square mile area that is a fun and educational destination in and of itself.
If you want to head to the sanctuary, choose one of these trails: The Southern Boardwalk Trail, which is 3.3 miles long and leads to Sand Point and Wedding Rock, site of Ozette Indian petroglyphs; and the Northern Trail, a 3.2-mile cedar boardwalk trail that takes you through the picturesque Ozette prairies to Cape Alava.
For something a little longer, try the Ozette Loop, which is 9-miles roundtrip, connecting the aforementioned Cape Alava and Sand Point trails. All are fairly easy to travel.
Kayaking and Canoeing: Ozette Lake is different from many of the others in Olympic National Park in that it has three islands. These islands are favorite destinations for canoers and kayakers who enjoy paddling on the lake but shore paddlers can find a lot of little inlets to explore as well, especially south of the Swan Bay boat launch.
However, simply because of where it is, Ozette Lake Washington experiences 1- to 2-foot waves and high winds, so it can be pretty treacherous for anyone in a boat. Cold water is a huge problem as well. Life jackets should ALWAYS be worn!
Camping: The most popular and most accessible Ozette Lake camping area is a small one by the lake with just 15 sites that accommodate RVs up to 21 feet. It fills up quickly during the summer. Providing you with great views of the lake, it has running water in the summer and pit toilets in the winter.
Erickson’s Bay Campground is at the end of the trail of the same name and is a primitive area that’s sometimes impossible to reach, depending on the severity of the swampy conditions. Don’t plan on it unless you’re really into rugged accommodations!
History and Culture: Lake Ozette was once the site of a Makah Tribal Village, covered by a mudslide around 1700. The area was rediscovered in the 1970s and more than 55,000 artifacts were uncovered. Though the artifacts have gone to the nearby Makah Museum, you can still see the plaque that marks the site.
Where is Ozette Lake?
Take U.S. Highway 101 west from Port Angeles to Washington 112. Follow the highway for about 40 miles to Charley Creek Road. Make a left and remain on this road all the way to Ozette Lake.