Bottle Beach State Park
Calling all birders!
Bottle Beach State Park sits on the tide flats of Southern Grays Harbor, where it plays host to more than a million migratory shorebirds and sea birds in spring. The park's ADA-accessible trail is an official Washington State Birding Trail, designated by the Audubon Society. More than 130 bird species, including raptors, have been known to alight for a quick meal at Bottle Beach.
The boardwalk and trail lead past Redman Slough to a picturesque beachhead viewing shelter. Drop down to the mud flats below, and explore remnants of a dock built in 1890 to serve Ocosta, a boom town that quickly went bust and disappeared by the 1950s.
Bottle Beach does not allow dogs or camping, but yurts and cabins, and pet-friendly RV sites are available at nearby Twin Harbors and Grayland Beach state parks.
Bottle Beach State Park is a 64-acre, day-use park with 6,000 feet of shoreline on Grays Harbor. The open tide flats are the park's most significant feature. The park sits on the site of Ocosta by the Sea, a ghost town once slated to be the Pacific Coast terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad and a major port city.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
- Hiking trail
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- 0.7 miles of ADA hiking trails
- 0.7 miles of hiking trails
Other activities & features
- Bird watching
- Wildlife viewing
The Bottle Beach Interpretive Trail consists of a trailhead, parking lot, 0.7 miles of ADA accessible trail, three wildlife viewing platforms or blinds and approximately 9.5 acres of restored habitat.
- The trails are for pedestrian use only. No motorized vehicles, horses or bicycles allowed.
- Dogs are only allowed at the park during hunting season, from November through February. Service dogs are allowed at all times.
Bottle Beach State Park lies within the accustomed territory of multiple Southwestern Coast Salish tribes. The Lower Chehalis bands are most closely associated with the present-day park site and with the broader Grays Harbor area.
Bottle Beach State Park is set on the historic town site of Ocosta. Near the end of the 19th century, plans were made to establish a deep water port in the area, and the Northern Pacific Railroad chose Ocosta for its Pacific terminus of the transcontinental railway. This move would have helped importers and exporters expand into and out of the country's interior. As the boom ensued, prospective investors from the east were solicited, "...nothing can prevent making this the most important harbor north of San Francisco, if not the chief harbor of this Pacific Coast," read an early advertisement.
In 1890, Northern Pacific purchased much of the town property and began selling lots. On May 1, the first day of sales, more than 90,000 dollars' worth of lots were sold. Soon, the Ocosta settlement sprouted a school, three hotels, three churches, a bank, a post office, the Ocosta Lumber Company and the Ocosta Brewing Company. By 1894, the town had more than 400 residents.
The idea of the deep ocean harbor disintegrated almost as quickly as it had formed. An economic downturn, railroad realignment and sedimentation undermined the possibility of Ocosta becoming a principal port, and the Northern Pacific Railroad shifted attention to Aberdeen-Hoquiam, which offered a more developed port for shipping. By 1909, Ocosta's population had dropped to 150 and city lots were selling for $30 each. Over time, the town faded away, and few signs of its existence are visible in the current-day landscape.
The name Ocosta derives from the Spanish word for coast, "costa," with the "O" having been added to create a more agreeable cadence. Redman Slough, which runs through the park, is named for Reuben Redman, who was one of the first Euro-Americans to settle in the present-day park area in 1858.
Bottle Beach State Park owes its existence largely to the efforts of Ruby Egbert and Bob Morse, two passionate birders who advocated for the park's creation as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. Egbert and Morse captured the attention of Grays Harbor County, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy, multiple Audubon chapters and the University of Washington. These organizations all worked together to create the park. State Parks began acquiring land area in 1993 with Egbert personally contributing money to the effort. The park opened in 1995 and the Ruby Egbert Natural Area within the park was named to honor Ms. Egbert.