Cape Flattery Trail

Makah Indian Reservation, Washington

Distance0.6mi
Elevation Gain299ft
Trailhead Elevation320ft
Top320ft
Elevation Min/Max33/320ft
Elevation Start/End320/320ft

Cape Flattery Trail

Cape Flattery Trail is a hiking trail in Makah Indian Reservation, Washington. It is 0.6 miles long and begins at 320 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 299 feet. Near the trailhead there are parking and restrooms. The Hole-in-the-Wall (elevation 0 feet) bay can be seen along the trail. There are also a coastline and benches along the trail. Near the end of the trail is a picnic site.

Cape Flattery Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike makes a short traverse through the Makah tribal wilderness to reach the crest of Cape Flattery, where stark cliffs rise above sea stacks and grottoes carved out by the thundering surf.

This spot is one of the most dramatic “land’s ends” on Earth, marking the northwesternmost point in the coterminous United States. Cape Flattery was named by Captain James Cook, the European discoverer of the Hawaiian Islands, who dubbed this important nautical landmark that “flattered” him with the hopes of finding a safe harbor (there was none)."

"A newly constructed half-mile trail leads to a platform overlooking the westernmost point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery, and Tatoosh Island with its red-towered lighthouse. Children will be delighted by the chance to look down on whales and sea lions from the viewing platform.

The trail descends gently on boardwalk, log rounds, and stone steps through dense forest, offering three other viewing platforms with different perspectives on the cliffs and coves. Along the way, rock portals below extend out on either side of the cape. The day I was there, a baby whale was spouting and swimming back and forth directly below the platform."

"Cape Flattery, the most northwestern point in the contiguous states, is the home of the Makah Nation. It was named in 1778 by British Capt. James Cook for the point of land that “flattered us with the hopes of finding a harbor.” You will take a short boardwalk hike through an enchanting forest to the lip of a cliff above the surf.

From a platform, you can watch puffins bobbing on the waves, look out at the lighthouse on Tatoosh Island, perhaps see seals and whales in the distance—if the weather in this cool and rainy place cooperates (bring a jacket). In summer, free guided tours of the cape are provided. The first 3.2 miles are paved. The remainder is well-maintained, low-clearance two-lane dirt and gravel. High clearance is advisable for the short, optional segment at the end that leads to a viewpoint."

"Perched at the farthest northwestern tip of the Lower 48, Cape Flattery is a habitat of rain-drenched and windswept woodlands. Thanks to a 0.75-mile trail that spans wetlands on wooden boardwalks, it is easy to reach the five viewing platforms on land owned and administered by the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay. This is a great spot to catch a glimpse of rugged sea stacks, Tatoosh Island, and caves carved in the rock alongside the viewing platforms that host nesting cormorants in the summer. It is also a prime location to see such birds as Tufted Puffin without the need to jump in a boat for a pelagic birding trip.

Habitats: Cliffs, mixed forest. Specialty birds: Common Loon; Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants; Harlequin Duck; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Blue Grouse; Black Oystercatcher; Ruddy and Black Turnstones; Rock Sandpiper; Heerman’s, Bonaparte’s, Mew, Thayer’s, and Western Gulls; Common Murre; Pigeon Guillemot; Marbled and Ancient Murrelets; Rhinoceros Auklet; Tufted Puffin; Spotted and Northern Pygmy-Owls; Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds; Pileated Woodpecker; Red-breasted Sapsucker; Pacificslope Flycatcher; Hutton’s Vireo; Northwestern Crow."

"Cape Flattery protrudes from the very tip of the Olympic Peninsula and forms the northwesternmost point in the Lower 48. Fittingly, visiting this remote location really gives you the impression of being at the end of the world. Waves pound the cliffs and sea caves at your feet, while winds contort the trees and carry off any hats not strapped down carefully enough.

The Makah Indians, who own this land, manage the cape as a nature sanctuary, and you can understand why; it’s a marvelous location for viewing wildlife, including sea otters, various species of whales, and a host of interesting birds. They could just as easily manage it as a scenic viewpoint, however, as the vistas of islands both near and far, dozens of jagged rock pinnacles, and dramatic clifflined coves are exceptional. For such a short and relatively easy hike, the rewards of this outing are hard to beat."

"A short day hike across the Makah Indian Reservation to a craggy headland that marks the northwesternmost point in the lower 48 states, 1.2 miles round-trip.

This hike makes a short traverse through the Makah tribal wilderness to reach the crest of Cape Flattery, where stark cliffs rise above sea stacks and grottoes carved out by the thundering surf. This spot is one of the most dramatic “land’s ends” on Earth, marking the northwesternmost point in the coterminous United States."

"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 on an old road, descending through a mist-drenched forest of Sitka spruces."

Cape Flattery Trail Reviews

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11/4/2018
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8/12/2018
An easy, beautiful hike with many, many gorgeous views. This is a great place for kids. The drive from Port Angeles to Cape Flattery is long and curvy, but there is wonderful scenery to enjoy on the ride. There are awesome lookout points at the end of the trail, including Tatoosh Island. The coastline is spectacular. My niece and nephew and I had fun identifying the birds--we were fortunate to see Bald Eagles, Murres, Oystercatchers, and a variety of gulls.
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8/15/2012
This is a sightseeing trial and the views make it worth the walk. It is a combination of gravel and rough cut lumber elevated walkways. There are several very short side trails to lookouts that provide vantage points to the Pacific coastline. From the final raised platform there is a view of the lighthouse, Straights of Juan De Fuca, the Pacific Ocean and Canada. Here you are at the northern most point of the continental US. This is a trial you will share with a lot of people don’t expect it to be deserted even as far out of the way as this trail is. You will need to buy an annual visitor pass from the Makah Nation to park in the lot at the beginning of the trail. The only facilities are pit toilets in the parking lot.
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9/6/2011
This road is now completely paved. The hike along the trail is very cool. There was so much fog that we couldn't see anything once we got to the overlook.
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4/26/2009
Not a long hike, but some amazing views, of the Pacific, and some great historical information along the way. Take an hour and check this out if your in the area.
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Cape Flattery Trail Photos

Trail Information

Makah Indian Reservation
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Views
Features
Makah Indian Reservation (tribal visitor’s permit required)
Local Contacts
USGS Cape Flattery; Custom Correct North Olympic Coast
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018