Last week we took a road trip to Cape Flattery, the most northwest point of the continental United States. After passing Port Angeles the drive gets a bit dizzying as the westward road slowly winds along the coast. The trail we were searching for leads to a set of pristine sandstone sea cliffs that have been protected by the Makah Indian Tribe for the past 500 years and when arrived we were immediately surrounded by the darkness cast by giant old-growth trees.
Once on the trail, we found ourselves happily running on bridges over wetlands and skipping across lines of cross-cut tree stumps towards the water. After about 3/4 of a mile, the faint sound of crashing of waves can be heard and we found treehouse-like observation decks made of cedar resting along the edges of the cliffs. From these lookouts, we watched the constant approach of waves from the Pacific Ocean which have riddled the sandstone peninsula with sea caves, and on a stormy day, the vibrations of these crashing waves can be felt underfoot. The trail finally ends at the edge of a stunning sea cliff with a clear view of seal islands and the Pacific Ocean. It's one of the most stunning places we've found since being here.
- This spot is 5-6 hours from Seattle, so make it an overnight trip and plan to explore one or two other destinations along the way. Shi Shi Beach, Hobuck Campground, Lake Ozette, Lake Crescent, Elwha River and Hurricane Ridge are all great options.
- Get started early. You'll probably only average 35 miles an hour once you get past Port Angeles due to the slowly winding roads.
- This is great place to watch the sunset, and once you get here you won't want to leave. Pack an insulating layer, a sitting blanket, snacks and a headlamp for your walk back.
- Buy your food before getting to Neah Bay.
- For restaurants on your drive back go to Granny's Cafe or Blackberry Cafe.
Directions to Cape Flattery:
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.