Washington's Coast
Washington State Department of Ecology



Portage Head, Washington's northern coast

"From a human-shaped world you are about to step into a terrain
dominated by other forces. The sea makes the rules."

--- National Park Service sign at the trailhead to Cape Alava

Islands, sea stacks, and rocks are scattered along Washington's northern coast. Islands range from partially isolated points to true islands several acres in size. Cannonball Island connects to Cape Alava during low tide.
Cape Alava and Cannonball Island
High rocky sea cliffs front most of the northern coast. The highest cliffs along Washington's coast can be found at Cape Flattery. Wave-cut platforms rise 120 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
Cape Flattery sea cliffs
Waves are slowly wearing away the land, leaving more erosion-resistant sea stacks standing in the surf. Pocket beaches can be found in protected areas. At Point of The Arches, a string of needle formations lead out to sea.
Point of the Arches
The Olympic Coast Sanctuary
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary covers over 3,300 square miles of Washington's coastal waters. More than 600 islands in the Sanctuary provide breeding grounds for birds and marine mammals. 29 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises pass through the sanctuary. Some of the largest colonies of seabirds in the United States are are found here.
Olympic sanctuary waters
Within Olympic Coast Sanctuary waters, the continental shelf extends 8 to 40 miles offshore. Submarine canyons slice into the continental shelf and slope.
Sea floor and coastal terrain
Images courtesy of Shoreline Aerial Photos of Washington, Department of Ecology.

Shoreline Aerial Photos of Washington, Department of Ecology See Washington's incredible marine shoreline from above. An amazing aerial tour.
Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary Web site, NOAA Pictures, maps, events, educational resources, and vessel regulations. The sanctuary provides habitat for diverse marine mammals and is a critical link in the Pacific flyway.

Cape Flattery Trail, The Makah Tribe Get trail information and directions to this trail where you can view Tatoosh Island while standing on the most northerly tip of the contiguous lower 48 States. The trail meanders through forests to cliff-side observation areas.

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