Thanksgiving Hike to Cape Flattery & Shi Shi Beach

With a long-weekend off of work and ample opportunity to unwind, I chose to venture to the most northwestern point in the contiguous US, Cape Flattery.  I also completed much of the Shi Shi Beach hike which is south of Cape Flattery and part of the Olympic National Park.  Both of these destinations are on the land of the Makah Tribe, which means “people generous with food” in the Salish language.

The weather forecast called for heavy rain and 20-mile per hour winds.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun break through the clouds on my drive there.  It remained sunny throughout the entire duration of my adventure.

The drive from Bremerton, WA to Neah Bay, WA is in many portions difficult and requires quite a lot of concentration.  Once past Port Angeles, WA, one of the primary routes to Neah Bay, WA is Hwy-112, also known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway.  RoadTripUSA.com has this to say about the route:

Though it looks like a great drive on the map, Hwy-112 is a very narrow and winding road with some surprisingly steep hills and thick woods that block much of the view, all of which (in addition to the plentiful logging trucks) can make it less than ideal for bicycling or even a scenic drive.

Arriving at Neah Bay was a relief.  Using the recreation areas on the Makah Tribe’s land requires a permit that can be purchased for $10 at numerous stores in the small town.  I visited Washburn General Store to purchase mine and the employees were very friendly.  Shi Shi Beach requires an additional Olympic National Park wilderness permit which can be purchased in Port Angeles at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center.

The trail to Cape Flattery transitions between dirt, gravel, and boardwalk.  It is a short jaunt at .75 miles to the end (1.5 miles round trip).  The walk provides great views from the four observation decks along the trail.  It is known to be a fantastic whale watching area but I was only greeted by the many birds that live there.

Here are a few of the photographs that I was able to take while at Cape Flattery.Photo of the caves and water at Cape Flattery

Photo of Cape Flattery Lighthouse

After leaving Cape Flattery I drove south to the Shi Shi Beach trailhead.  I did not adequately research the location and was not aware that it was a 4-mile hike (8 miles round trip).  I did not complete the final 1.3-mile portion of the hike to the picturesque Point of the Arches; it was too late in the day and I did not pack a headlamp in my day pack so I did not feel comfortable night hiking.

The first 1 mile of the hike is relatively easy with a clear trail and board walk.  The last portion of the forested trail was much more difficult because it was predominantly 1″-3″ deep mud and water.  Prior to arriving to the beach there is a steep and highly eroded trail down the cliff side that requires focus because there are few handrails and many gaps where you could easily tumble off the cliff.  There is also no clear entrance to the beach so it requires walking through the brush at the bottom.

Here are a few of the photos I grabbed while there:

Photo of Shi Shi Beach, Neah Bay, WA Photo of Shi Shi Beach, Neah Bay, WA Photo of Shi Shi Beach, Neah Bay, WA

Thanks for reading!  Until next time…

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