Cape Flattery, Washington: The Northwesternmost Point in the Continental US

My husband and I recently took a long-awaited trip in our motor home to the Northwest, where we saw amazing places like Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. But one of the highlights of the entire trip was a little-known spot in Washington: Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point in the continental United States.

The manager of an RV park suggested we visit the cape, located on the Makah Indian Reservation on the northwestern tip of Washington, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We learned the cape was named by Captain James Cook back in 1778 after an opening on the coast “flattered” him into thinking it led to an inland passage.

The Cape Flattery Trail is a 3/4-mile-long, mostly cedar boardwalk that took us past some of the most beautiful coastline scenery we've ever laid eyes on. The sea stacks and sea caves, carved over the eons by crashing waves, are simply amazing–truly a sight to behold!

You can also see Tatoosh Island, named after a Makah chief. Once the site of a Makah fishing and whaling camp, the island now is home to the Tatoosh Island Lighthouse.

We spent an hour or so there, hiking and taking pictures, and saw very few other tourists. It must not be very well known. But anyone who's in the area should visit this breathtaking place. Captain Cook may have been disappointed, but I guarantee you won't be!

The Cape Flattery Trail is around 5 miles west of Neah Bay, a town near the end of State Highway 112 about 71 miles northwest of Port Angeles. The best time to hike is spring and summer; bring a jacket, as strong winds can make it chilly, even in warm weather. The trail is open year-round, but closes during bad weather. A recreation permit is required.

For details, call the Makah Museum at 1-360-645-2711. To learn more about the area, call the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-456-8372.

More to See

The Makah Museum (1880 Bayview Ave.) in Neah Bay chronicles the history of the Makah tribe, including artifacts unearthed from a Makah village buried by a mudslide hundreds of years ago. It's open daily from Memorial Day through September 15; the rest of the year, it's closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, call 1-360-645-2711.

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