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Cape Flattery

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Hike to the northwesternmost point in the continental United States. Here, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific, Cape Flattery protrudes into a sea of tumultuous waters. A land of dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and deep narrow coves, Cape Flattery exhibits sheer rugged beauty. Scores of seabirds ride the surf and scavenge the sea stacks. Watch for whales and sea lions too. And the sunsets... they're simply divine.

Thanks to the Makah Indian Nation, the stewards of this land, a well-constructed trail leads to this remote corner of the Northwest. Start through a mist-drenched forest of Sitka spruce. Utilizing boardwalks and steps, drop to a series of promontories that provide stunning vistas of rugged Cape Flattery. At 0.75 mile reach the final viewing platform teetering on the edge of terra firma.

Admire the cape's abrupt contours of sea stacks, caves, and forbidding sheer cliffs. A hostile environment of strong currents, swift breezes, and frequent storms-all forces responsible for creating this stunning landscape.

But nature has a way of adapting to such brutal conditions. Look carefully at this intimidating world where sea meets land and you'll see life. Lots of life! Puffins and guillemots surf the turbulent waters. Murres nest in the fortresslike cliffs. Oystercatchers probe the tidal pools left behind on offshore reefs. Sea otters, once on the brink of extinction, bob in the protected coves. Whales can often be spotted farther out.

People, too, have adapted to this landscape, which is often draped in fog and receives over 100 inches of annual rainfall. Directly offshore is Tatoosh Island. Named for a Makah chief, this 20-acre treeless island once served as a summer fishing camp for the Makahs. The U.S. Coast Guard first constructed a lighthouse on the island in 1857. The current structure is automated. Now only sea lions, seals, and scads of seabirds live on Tatoosh.

The Makahs have declared Cape Flattery a nature sanctuary-an enlightened move for this wild world sitting on the brink of the continent.
Driving Directions:

From Port Angeles follow US 101 west for 5 miles to the junction with State Route 112. Turn right (west) on SR 112, continuing for 64 miles to the community of Neah Bay. (Alternatively, take US 101 to Sappho and drive SR 113 north to SR 112 and then on to Neah Bay. This way is longer, but not as curvy.) Just past the Makah Tribal Museum is Washburn's, where you can purchase the required recreation pass. Continue west on Bayview Avenue for 1 mile, following signs for "Cape Flattery and Beaches."Turn left on Fort Street, and in 0.1 mile turn right on 3rd Street. In another 0.1 mile turn left on Cape Flattery Road. In 2.5 miles pass the Tribal Center. Proceed for another 5.1 miles to the trailhead. Privy available.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 20 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Cape Flattery — Apr 01, 2014 — RunGentlyOutThere
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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On the way to Cape Flattery. (Usual 'if the link works' disclaimer) https://plus.google.com/phot...
On the way to Cape Flattery. (Usual 'if the link works' disclaimer)

https://plus.google.com/[…]/5998438196191557345?authkey=CLvGh_eTt7HKFQ

Record day for eagle sitings.
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Cape Flattery — Jan 03, 2014 — Kelsie
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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The rugged beauty of Cape Flattery is not to be missed. We visited on a sunny and clear day, sharing...
The rugged beauty of Cape Flattery is not to be missed. We visited on a sunny and clear day, sharing the trail with several other hikers and their dogs. Other than a few puddles of water/mud, the trail is in good shape. Don't forget to pick up your Makah Recreation Pass ($10, valid through end of calendar year). We purchased our pass at the Makah Museum, another destination I would highly recommend to those visiting the Neah Bay area. During our four day stay in Sekiu, we saw numerous gray whales in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, eagles and a herd of elk at the Cowan Ranch Heritage Site.
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Cape Flattery — Dec 28, 2013 — duckie
Day hike
Issues: No water source
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absolutely awesome. trail is a lot of boardwalk planks, which were not slippery in the light mist. i...
absolutely awesome. trail is a lot of boardwalk planks, which were not slippery in the light mist. it was relatively busy, and altho clearly posted there were many dogs on the trail. it was downhill for most of the way in, but climbing out didnt seem like an issue at all.
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Cape Flattery — Oct 05, 2013 — Nursemerlyn
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Mudholes | Water on trail
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Beautiful and amazing! The trail itself is in great shape. The best part was that we saw 2 Humpbac...
Beautiful and amazing! The trail itself is in great shape. The best part was that we saw 2 Humpback Whales! Can't wait to go back for a second look someday!
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Cape Flattery — Feb 17, 2013 — Emily's Dad
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail
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Today was such a perfect day for hiking. The trail was superbly groomed. Other than a couple minor...
Today was such a perfect day for hiking. The trail was superbly groomed. Other than a couple minor puddles there were no other issues. Be prepared for sick kids though on the winding roads all the way out there.
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cape flattery zachary oliver.jpg
Rounding Cape Flattery. Photo by Zachary Oliver.
Location
Olympics -- Coast
Makah Indian Nation
Statistics
Roundtrip 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain 200 ft
Highest Point 250 ft
Features
Coast
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Dogs not allowed
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson & Babcock - Keokee) p.250-252
Green Trails Cape Flattery No. 98S
Custom Correct North Olympic Coast

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerCape Flattery
48.3844166667 -124.715666667
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