Cape Flattery

Dense coastal forest and dramatic ocean views draw visitors to Cape Flattery, the rocky headland that forms the northwesternmost point in the lower United States. James Cook, who stopped at the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in March 1788, named it Cape Flattery because an opening along the coast flattered the captain with the hope of finding a harbor.The .5mi Cape Flattery Trail provides relatively easy access. The muddiest parts of the trail are covered by a sturdy, raised boardwalk made from cedar slabs. Passing through towering stands of western red cedar and Douglas fir with a green understory of ferns, salal, mosses and grasses, the trail culminates in four clifftop observation platforms, providing views of the turbulent blue-green waters of the Pacific; wild, rocky inlets pierced by sea caves; Tatoosh Island with its lighthouse; and the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Seals can sometimes be seen on offshore rocks. It was at Cape Flattery in 1788 that the Makahs had their first glimpse of the house on the water people, as they called the Americans exploring the coast in a ship manned by Capt. Robert Gray.In 1994, in an effort to preserve the area's rugged character and marine life, the coastal waters around Cape Flattery became part of the 3,300sq mi Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Closed to seabed mining and oil and gas exploration, the sanctuary extends some 135mi from Cape Flattery south to Ocean City, protecting one of the largest concentrations of seabirds in the continental US, the world's largest octopus species, transplanted sea otters (hunted to extinction locally in the 19C), migrating gray whales, seals, sea lions and other coastal wildlife.

Useful information


Cape Flattery Trail Rd., 98357 Neah Bay

Nearby tourist attractions

Makah Cultural & Research Center
Makah Cultural & Research Center
Neah Bay