Cape Flattery Trail

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery is on the Olympic Peninsula in the Makah Reservation, about two hours from Port Angeles. The trail itself is short and sweet but pair it with the museum in Neah Bay and it makes for a wonderful day trip!

This is the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States, so it is also a bucket list item!

Directions

From the town of Neah Bay, wind up Cape Flattery Road (which turns into Cape Loop Road). This takes about 15 minutes to get to the parking lot.

We did not use any pass to park here. There are pit toilets available at the trailhead.

Route

This is a down and back trail. Once you get toward the bottom, there are a couple of places to get different views just off the main trail.

trail conditions

We went in late July and the trail was damp in places, but nothing dangerously slippery. The trail is mostly a boardwalk, with some stairs, so strollers and wheelchairs are not able to use it. It is a wood boardwalk, so I’d imagine that it is slippery when it rains.

Equipment

Any reasonable footwear is fine for this trail as it is mostly boardwalk and stairs. I wore my minimalist Earth Runners sandals and my husband wore his slip-on Clarks.

the experience

The trail is a little more than half a mile one-way. Going to the Cape is all downhill, so prepare for going uphill on the way back. We went on a Saturday afternoon and it was packed with people, so we filed behind some groups on the way down.

View from one of the lookout areas.

We stopped at a couple of the lookout points and basked in the ruggedness of the Washington Coast. There was a lot to see. Many caves could be spotted along the cliffs. We didn’t see much in the way of marine mammals, but saw many birds. Apparently, puffins inhabit this area, though we didn’t see any.

At the end was a larger lookout point which was a wooden platform. We had to climb about four stairs of a ladder up to it. From here the view was much more clear and you could see Tatoosh Island with its lighthouse about a half mile out.

We went back up the way we came. It was a steady incline, nothing that we couldn’t handle.

the verdict

This is a must see spot. Don’t count on getting any serious mileage or being able to move quickly in here as there are a lot of people, especially on Summer weekends.

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