Cape Flattery—A bird and wildlife wonderland

For a feast of feathered friends and other wildlife, head to the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula where the Strait of Juan de Fuca joins the Pacific Ocean. The Cape Flattery area on the Makah Reservation near Neah Bay offers an eyeful for avid bird and marine-mammal watchers.

The easy .75-mile hike to the northwestern-most point in the contiguous United States features earthen pathway, cedar boardwalk and wetland-spanning bridges. Take in breathtaking views along the way from four observations decks where you can set your sights on the Pacific Ocean, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Tatoosh Island, a former Makah fishing and whaling camp, sacred place and home to the historic Cape Flattery Lighthouse.

This wild slice of coast offers dramatic sea caves and abundant sea life. Eagles, cormorants, sea otters, octopi and falcons call this complex ecosystem home. Watch for gray whales off the Cape and sea lions on Snake Rock just east of Tatoosh Island.

In summer, Makah interpreters along the trail share the historic and cultural significance of the area and traditional uses of native plants.

There’s no fee to hike the trail, but you’ll need to purchase a Recreation Permit specifically for parking, available at several Neah Bay locations including the Makah Museum

  1. The amazing biodiversity found in Neah Bay can be partly attributed to an outstanding position between the Washington Coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The Cape Flattery trail leads you on a short walk through coastal forest thick with old-growth Western Hemlock, banana slugs, and multi-colored fungi, eventually leading to multiple viewing platforms that overlook a dynamic rocky shoreline and Tatoosh Island.  There are quite a few wildlife viewing spots in and around Neah Bay in addition to Cape Flattery. 

  2. Great views of Cape Flattery Lighthouse. The sea caves are amazing. The drive from US 101 is a bit far (over an hour) but very worth it. Make sure to use the restroom in Neah… The sea caves are amazing.

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