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Cape Flattery Washington Vacation

Cape Flattery Washington Vacation, 7 days June-September  More Pictures  |  Map  |  More Info

This is the northwestern most point of the contiguous United States and perhaps the most prized and magnificent in the northwest. It is on Makah reservation land where the Pacific Ocean and The Strait of Juan De Fuca meet. In March of 1778 Captain James Cook named Cape Flattery and that makes it the oldest permanently named feature in the state of Washington. The two hour drive west from Port Angeles is well worth your time and money. And will afford you the most stunning views.


The busiest months are the end of June through the beginning of September. During this time it would behoove you to start your day very early to visit Cape Flattery or any of the areas of the Olympic Peninsula. Before you get too far down the road it is imperative that you purchase a Makah Tribe Recreational Use Permit. We stopped at the marina and only paid $10. The moneys collected provides funding to enhance and preserve the Makah Reservation lands. It also gives you access to a portion of their lands for one year. If you think you can get away without paying, you're wrong. The areas are patrolled and Civil penalties will be applied if you have not purchased your use permit.

The road to the Cape Flattery trailhead is actually a gravel road. It's about four miles and isn't always in the best condition. So take your time and remember you are making memories. The parking at the trailhead is limited. Remember when I mentioned to start your day early, this is why. We visited Cape Flattery and Olympic National Park in mid June and we were told that we were one week ahead of the summer crowds.

cape flattery cedar boardwalk trail picture cape flattery hiking trail washington picture
What used to be a muddy trail through coastal forest is now an easy to navigate and fun 30 minute walk from parking lot to maybe the most breathtaking view on the Pacific Coast. The maintained trail is a mixture of boardwalk made from cedar planks, flattened smooth tree stumps, and of course a natural earthen path. It's less than a mile one way and by the time you get to your destination, if you're smitten with the flora like me, you will have taken about 50 pictures. There are a couple of observation decks that allow you to get a little further out for a better view. In the distance you can see Tatoosh Island. It is now a coast guard station formerly was a whaling and fishing camp used by the Makah tribe.

picture of first view of cape flattery washington

The waters you see from Cape Flattery are part of the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary and the Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. That means recreational use and commercial fishing is prohibited. The restricted area mostly covers the waters on the west side of Washington but also an area surrounding Cape Flattery. Sport fishing and pleasure boating is allowed outside of the sanctuary and wildlife refuge, however get specific info from the marinas so you don't get into trouble. You wouldn't want to pay that fee. At different times of the year you can see three types of whales, humpback, gray and orca. There are also bald eagles, puffins and sea otters playing around the clear blue waters of Cape Flattery.

picture of observation deck over cape flattery in washington state

Shi Shi beach is just south of Cape Flattery. And the road that leads you to this beach is the furthest south you will be able to get on this Indian land unless your blood line is of the Makah people. The Shi Shi Beach hike is memorable and so is the beach itself. Like most of the beaches along the Washington and Oregon coast, timing is everything.

picture taken from observation deck in cape flattery washington

The tidal pools of the pacific coast are the most fascinating. Tidepools can only be observed during low tide so make sure you pick up a tide chart so you can manage your day wisely and without fail. While walking around ShiShi Beach we happened across many people who had overnight camping permits. They said they get their water from the natural streams running down from the mountains. Camping on the beaches in the Pacific Northwest is a summer tradition for many young people, families and students. One of our nights in Sekiu we stayed at a peaceful little campground right on the Straight of Juan de Fuca.You will not be disappointed with the activities of Cape Flattery Washington.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
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