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Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint

News From the Site Coordinator

Orcas last seen from here 11/27/2012 - J and K pods headed south, widely spread out.


This viewpoint is named for Charles Richey Sr., who operated Richey’s Alki Community Drug Store in the early to mid-1900s. Located just south of Alki Point, this is one of the best spots in Seattle to see whales and other marine life.

 The intertidal area below you is part of Constellation Park Marine Reserve. Complex habitats and favorable currents support a rich diversity of invertebrates, fish and waterfowl.

Where the Whales Are

Orcas sometimes swim spectacularly close to shore here. Fall and winter are the best time to see resident orcas here. Transient orcas are increasingly seen in these waters, but their travel patterns are less predictable. 

To see a whale from here, look across the channel towards the mid-channel buoy, and watch for spouts (blows), dorsal fins, or splashes. The shape of the spout is a clue to the kind of whale you are seeing. Gray-whale spouts are heart-shaped, while orca blows are shorter and bushy.

Closer to shore, you might see the raised flipper of a rafting sea lion, or a river otter hunting for a meal.

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

Beach Dr SW & 63rd Ave

Seattle, WA 98116


4:00 a.m.–11:30 p.m.

Whale Trail Features

Whale Trail Sign


  • accessible
  • picnic-area

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

Marine Mammals Rarely Seen Here

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries