Cape Flattery – why did we go there?

posted in: Hiking, USA | 15

First off, where is Cape Flattery? Well, it’s on the Washington state coastline and is a long way from the nearest city, Seattle. By now after reading the last sentence, all of you have looked at Google Maps and wondered why the hell we wanted to go to Cape Flattery. It’s a simple and not so long story to explain, the simple truth of it was, that I wanted to cycle from Boston on the east coast to Neah Bay on the west coast (which is the nearest settlement to Cape Flattery, about six miles east) back in 2013 but the plan never got the go-ahead (needed a lot of money to do the trip and didn’t raise the necessary funds at the time). As we were exploring nearby Seattle, we opted for a road trip to Cape Flattery as a day trip.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
The Curious Explorers at Cape Flattery

First off, I couldn’t believe how long it took us to get there. Getting there was a bit sluggish, traffic jams at a floating bridge, the morning traffic on the highway near Tacoma and then the long winding roads along the coastline as we approached Neah Bay (which took about one hour from the freeway). The journey seemed to take forever but we had exciting moments like another driver sticking up his finger at us for no reason whatsoever, patting a cute dog whilst we wait for a jam to clear and having a dodgy cup of tea at Starbucks.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
The traffic jam we got caught up in
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Good chance to give our legs a bit of a kick start in the traffic jam.
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Driving the long coastal road towards Neah Bay
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Beautiful coastline we followed – what a great day of sunshine we had for this.
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
With a view of Vancouver Island (Canada) on the otherside of the bay.

We arrived at Neah Bay in the middle of the afternoon and had a quick lunch. This sleepy settlement had not a soul in sight. All we could hear was the crashing of the waves against the shore and the odd pick-up truck passing by. There seemed to be nothing to do here apart from have some food at the two restaurants and I think we saw a school. At the restaurant we told the waitress we were heading to Cape Flattery. Now as this was in a park (but not in a National Park), we were told we need to pay $10 to go and park the car up there and this was the last chance to pay it.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Lunch at Neah Bay
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
View from our restaurant window. Pleasant is the word to describe the view.
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Neah Bay

Six miles up the hills later we parked up at a parking lot at the end of the road. There are some toilets here and information about the park. There were even handmade walking sticks to borrow for the hike. Now this is a comfortable hike for all people (but I wouldn’t go down the trail in a wheelchair or scooter). The path is smooth at first and goes through woodlands but when the path goes down towards the cliff edge, there are tree roots and rocks to avoid tripping over.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

Eventually we got to the cliff edge and there are various viewing points, a couple looking down to the south and seeing the rugged coastline, some to the north where we could see Vancouver Island in Canada (and it’s not that far either) and to the west in the big blue ocean, is the island Tatoosh Island where there is a lighthouse but we couldn’t see it due to the mist.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Looking out towards the Kessiso Rocks to the south of Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Made it to Cape Flattery!
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
The viewing balcony at Cape Flattery

Now there is another reason why I wanted to come here. Cape Flattery is the most northwestern point on mainland USA (out of the forty-eight states not including Alaska and Hawaii) and has been on my bucket list for a long time. Ok, there are other various points I want to go to in the USA to tick off but this one was one of them.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
Coastline to the north of Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
The coastline around here is stunning

The hike took us about thirty minutes to get down to the cape and about forty to go back up. For us it wasn’t that hard but for those who find hiking through woodland difficult with a hill to go back up, then it is durable but allow more time. Our drive heading back to Seattle was more pleasurable and we did it non-stop. No toilet breaks, no breaks for cup of tea’s out of Starbucks and no stops for photos of the beautiful woodland of the Olympic National Park. We are not sure if this appeals to everyone but if you are doing a road trip in the area, then we would say it is worth checking out this area, however it does gobble up most of the time of the day.

Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking
We loved the looks of this tree. Not sure why but we love it. It’s got a spooky feeling to it. What do you think guys?

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Cape Flattery, Washington, USA, Hiking

15 Responses

  1. How ambitious of you guys. Planning to cycle from Beantown to the West Coast. I love it. Right up my physical fitness alley.

  2. We just left the pacific northwest after living there for ten years. Seeing posts like this makes me a little home sick. The hiking and forest landscapes are so beautiful and the coast is rugged and majestic. These tips are great for anyone looking to explore the PNW.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

  3. I’ve never heard of Cape Flattery, it looks beautiful. I do love the forest in the north of the west coast, love the green tones!

  4. What a beautiful area! I go to Seattle fairly regularly but haven’t been here so will have to include it next time. I’m also intrigued that it is the northernmost point for the contiguous states – now I’m inspired to start a whole new bucket list (northernmost point, southernmost point, etc)!!

  5. Washington State is such a gorgeous place! The scenery is fantastic, the hiking endless, and the coastline stunning! I can see why Cape Flattery is so appealing!

  6. Love the backstory of how you ended up in this location. I hate it when I run into unexpected traffic 🙁 All worth it though when the location is gorgeous with endless hiking trails!

  7. The water is so blue! & what an adventure! The PNW sure has some of the most gorgeous scenic vistas in the world.

  8. I have to admit guys, I had never heard of Cape Flattery before your post. What beautiful scenic place to visit. Wow that sounds ambitious and exciting to want to cycle from Boston on the east coast to Neah Bay on the west coast. You may not have done it back in 2013 but what about you and Claire trying to do it now? I can’t believe someone stuck their finger up at you guys for no reason.

  9. Renata Green

    Obviously, the long and complicated trip was pretty rewarding. I’d love hiking in such a secluded and deserted area, just focusing on nature – and myself.

  10. I’ve been to Seattle a few times, but I’ve never heard of Cape Flattery. It looks like there are some great places to enjoy nature around there. If I ever go back, I’ll have to remember this place

  11. Oh my gosh it’s gorgeous!!!!! Can definitely see why you wanted to visit! I’m based in Vancouver and have driven down to Seattle countless times but never heard of this place. Will definitely have to check it out if I’m ever headed south again because I seriously can’t get over how beautiful the coastline and blue and emarld green waters are. Plus, a 30-min hike sounds totally doable!

  12. I’ve seen some of Washington State, mostly the Mount Baker area, and I it is nice country. I’ve not been close to Cape Flattery, and the scenery is gorgeous. If I wanted to get off the beaten path in Washington State, this would be a good option.

  13. Ha I almost googled the location but I was hoping you would explain more. But now I still need to google for my visuals lol. But this place looks awesome! What a great day trip! And good thing you had a great drive back!

  14. Great pictures, looks like a fab place for a nature walk and to enjoy the coast. I had never heard of this place before. I love reading about off the beaten-track places like this. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Interesting name for a place! It looks really beautiful. Surprised I’ve never heard of it! I’ll definitely have to see it if I’m ever in the area

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