When we told our family that we were planning on traveling for a year, my dad and stepmom, Kathy, requested that we spend time with them in the Pacific Northwest, near their house in Gardiner, Washington. We planned the first part of our trip to their house, up the California and Oregon Coasts. Plans were set for our arrival on a Monday evening in mid-April.
Unlike our drive up the coasts of California and Oregon, which took twelve days, we made short work of Washington and drove from the Washington/Oregon border at Astoria to my parents’ house near Discovery Bay, in five hours through the interior of the state. Near six in the evening, we pulled into their driveway and were greeted by my dad a minute later as we were unloading our bags from the car. As we entered their house, Kathy hugged us and we could smell the pork roast dinner she was preparing for us. Later, as we were gathered around the dinner table finishing our meal, my parents asked KC and I what we wanted to do while we were visiting. Months ago, we had planned a trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with them to the town of Tofino and the near by Hot Cove Hot Springs. However, there were a couple of days on either side of the Tofino trip where we had no plans.
While my love of the outdoors partly came from my father, I was hesitant to suggest some of the hiking in the nearby Olympic National Park because of my father’s recent foot injury and because I suspected Kathy would not enjoy spending our time together hiking in the forests as much as visiting local towns. KC was not aware of this and suggested hiking to the Olympic Hot Springs in the Olympic National Park on the next day. To my astonishment, my parents not only agreed to the hike, but also seemed excited about it. Kathy even suggested going to Cape Flattery, the western most point of the contiguous United States, which included a 1.5 mile round-trip hike to the cape’s point.
The next day, we woke up early and started the long two-hour drive from my parent’s house to Cape Flattery. We stopped for breakfast in Port Angeles at one of their friends’ café. After breakfast, we stopped twice for bathroom breaks, and once to view a beach right off the highway. Since Cape Flattery is on Makah Tribe Land, we had to stop in Neah Bay to buy a permit to enter the tribal land to hike.
Once we parked and started hiking, it was a gentle slope down to the edge of the point with the trail alternating between mud and boardwalk. Like most other areas along the Washington coast, the hike to the cape went through a rainforest with vibrant greens and moss. On either side of the trail, there were views of the blue water crashing on the rocks below. At the end of the trail, you can look left and see the open Pacific Ocean or you can look right and see the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
This was a nice hike that the four of us enjoyed and I would recommend this as a relatively easy hike for all levels of hiking. Besides the great views throughout and at the end of the hike, there is the bragging point that you’ve been on the western-most point of the contiguous United States. In addition to hiking, Neah Bay is well known for fishing.
You can find more information about the Cape Flattery Trail here.