Finding Cape Flattery, Washington

Presented with a full week to fully explore Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, finding the the northwesternmost point in the contiguous United States consumed a full afternoon.

Named by British Explorer James Cook in 1778, Cape Flattery lies at the mouth of the Straight of Juan De Fuca; a 96-mile-long body of water serving as the outlet of the Salish Sea into the Pacific Ocean.

Contained within the Makah Reservation, a day pass is required to park in the lot at the head of a 0.75 mile trail leading visitors to the picturesque overlook of Tatoosh Island and the Fuca standing rock stacks.

Note: The trail is composed of a combination of packed dirt, boardwalk, and wooden “stump” pavers. You can expect a sloped down-and-back hike that will require moderate exertion; this adventure would not be easily navigable for anyone in a wheelchair or a stroller. Parents of younger kids should be aware of steep cliffs and potentially treacherous terrain as you approach the wooden viewing platforms.

Sweeping, panoramic views of a azure inlets, sea caves, basalt rock stacks, and wildlife sightings ranging from migratory whales to sea lions are your reward for making the journey out to the edge of Cape Flattery. In clear weather, the lighthouse on Tatoosh Island should be easily visible.

Time permitting, be sure to stop at the Museum of the Makah Indian Nation in the town of Neah Bay for an in depth understanding of the culture and commerce of a native american tribe heavily influenced by the ocean and trade with other tribes throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

 Happy Trails!

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at