Cape Alava, Olympic National Park

Cape Alava, Olympic National Park

by | Mar 31, 2021

Cape Alava is a point of land on the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula, about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of Forks and 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Neah Bay, Washington. The cape is the westernmost point in the contiguous U.S., although nearby Cape Flattery to the north, and Cape Blanco in southern Oregon, are also very close longitudinally. The westernmost point at Cape Alava can only be accessed during low tide by walking to the west side of Tskawahyah Island. The cape is located in the coastal strip of Olympic National Park and the Makah Reservation and is accessible via a boardwalk hike of 3 miles (5 km) from the Ozette ranger station to the coast, or south on a trail from Makah Bay.

The cape was named after the Spaniard Don José Manuel de Álava for his role as commissioner during the Nootka Sound Conventions of 1794. The conventions resulted in a series of three agreements made between the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Great Britain. The agreements averted a war between the two empires about overlapping claims to portions of the Pacific Northwest coast.

Just south of the cape is the site of a historical Ozette village that was buried by a mudslide around 1560. Archeological excavation of the Ozette site found six buried longhouses. The excavation went on for 11 years and produced over 55,000 artifacts, many of which are now on display at the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay, Washington. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Alava here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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