I visited Cape Flattery for the first time in March of 2020. My goal going in there was to have an amazing adventure, beyond what the public knows about.
I consider Cape Flattery to be one of the most beautiful spots you’ll find on the entire Washington Coast and in this post I’ll be sure to show you why that is.
What is Cape Flattery?
It is the north western most point of the United States where you can explore beautiful scenic areas and enjoy camping as well as hiking activities. But while these are the normal things people do here, I sought to do see and do more:
Here are the 5 adventures you can explore at Cape Flattery:
- Sea cave explorations by the main Cape Flattery trail.
- Cape Flattery’s hidden beach (and how to get there).
- The beach trail to get to the hidden beach.
- Kayaking through Cape Flattery’s sea caves.
- Finding the secret bunker.
Many of these things I sought to do when I first came here.
And this is something I am not alone in and I know it’s possible because I saw people doing it when I was researching this area.
And because of that, I wanted to do the same things and overall exploring Cape Flattery in a way that few people know about (legally of course).
And so prior to visiting, I had browsed tons of forums, sites and videos on YouTube seeking information on these subjects but couldn’t find anyone giving me specific instructions on where to go or what to do.
Just vague, “maybe this is possible” answers. It’s very similar to my experiences at Coyote Gulch, and just like with that spot, I kind of had to figure it all out on my own when I was there.
But overall, all of my research and experiences showed that everything I listed above is possible do to at Cape Flattery, but I suppose people who have been to this spot or live there, either don’t know about them, or don’t want the public to know about it and I can’t blame them because after visiting this place and seeing the potential it holds, I can see why people wouldn’t want the public to know (also because many of the outside activities there can be very dangerous).
What happened when I visited Cape Flattery (before I show you the 5 things):
Despite all the research and info I had gathered, I still had to explore this place as though I had never done that research. So I spent hours looking for trails off the beaten path to find access to the sea caves, the secret beach I saw.
Unfortunately other than exploring the main overlook attraction, which is the most common spot everyone visits when they go to Cape Flattery, I ended up failing. But because I had done so much scouting, talked to locals and went into many legal areas, I had learned about what I need to do next time to visit these spots and do the activities I’m about to tell you.
So basically, everything I’m about to share with you comes from my experience, but because I hadn’t done it myself (not for a lack of trying trust me), you may be able to do this when you go, but before you read them:
Here are 5 major disclaimers about Cape Flattery you need to read:
1) Going kayaking or exploring the sea caves here is dangerous, especially if you’re not experienced. Hiking down to the sea caves may result in slips, falls and possible death.
2) Respect the land in Cape Flattery as it’s on an Indian reservation.
3) Explore these places I’m going to telling you about at your own risk. What I learned that I had to do will take a lot of risk to see.
4) If you’re not in good shape and don’t time these activities at Cape Flattery right (low tide, high tide stuff), don’t do them, just explore the main attraction and enjoy the public areas (they are gorgeous).
5) Make sure that you look for signs of private property or no trespassing signs if you decide to try these things, because there’s areas that you can’t go into here and again, respect the land and other people’s privacy.
I made sure there were no signs telling me this when I explored.
Here is a map of Cape Flattery and the secret spots you’ll find there:
And by the way, if you’re someone who knows about these areas better than I do (likely the case), and you’re comfortable sharing details on them, please do below!
So let’s get into each one:
1) Cape Flattery’s main trail has another one leading you to sea caves:
When I visited this place, there is 1 main parking lot where the public goes.
This parking lot takes you into a short trail (1/4 miles) to the main overlook at Cape Flattery and this is probably the most common photo you see of it:
Yes it’s absolutely stunning here, but when I went here, this is where the official trail “ended”.
However, if you continue to go north west, there will be another unbeaten trail that will take you closer to another viewing area (you’ll be able to see the lighthouse on the island further into the Pacific Ocean).
It is on this secondary viewing area where you’ll get much closer and get a better view of some of the many sea caves at Cape Flattery.
Now you may be tempted to hike down to these sea caves, but I am warning you that it’s dangerous for numerous reasons, but if you want to get closer to the sea caves, this is one of the ways you can do that.
You can actually see it from the viewing area but getting to it is something that I wasn’t able to figure out until later. Here is an Instagram post I found of someone who was able to get to an area which is above the secret beach:
How this dude got there, I can only imagine, but he won’t give out the details.
I tried to find this spot and honestly, it’s THEORETICALLY possible if you follow the river next to the Cape Flattery parking lot downstream, but:
I must warn you: The bushes and wilderness there is so difficult and dangerous to navigate that it isn’t worth it.
I spent HOURS trying to find some secret trail around this spot but I couldn’t. Going through the wilderness area is possible, but it’s also likely possible you’ll break your feet navigating the uneven land there. It was just too dangerous to do alone, so I went to find other possibilities.
But that spot the person in the Instagram post above overlooks that secret beach and it is possible to access it via kayaking.
You won’t see it as you drive to the Cape Flattery parking lot, but parallel to the road you’re on is a beach that is accessible during LOW tides in this region and I suspect that if anyone is actually able to WALK to the hidden beach from above, that this is how they do it.
In fact, one of the locals I talked to and asked for advice on this is the one who told me about this access.
4) Is kayaking possible at Cape Flattery? Yes.
Here is a video of someone exploring both the sea caves and the hidden beach there:
Now when asked about tours or where to find kayak spots, you can’t find an answer to this and none of the forums I looked at did either.
But even if you find a place that rents kayaks, there isn’t any place near Cape Flattery, but suppose you actually do come with your own kayaks, you still have to get down to the beach to even go to the awesome places.
My suspicion is that the next spot I’m going to show you (which the local I spoke to revealed to me) is where it’s possible to get your kayak to and/or get to the beach on foot so you can walk to Cape Flattery and it’s hidden beach:
5) The secret road leading to a bunker, the beach and possible kayak access.
Were it not for the local, I wouldn’t know or find this place. There exists a secret road that was actually inaccessible due to too much mud (so I had to walk across it), but it leads what I can only describe as a bunker and near that bunker is a short but steep hike down to the beach:
From what I gathered, if there is any chance to kayak or walk to the hidden beach and explore the sea caves without all the crazy danger, this is the way to do it:
- Find the road I talked about (2-3 KM from Cape Flattery).
- Walk to the bunker.
- Hike down to the beach.
- Take the 2-3 KM walk to the hidden beach (during low tide only!).
- If you wish to kayak, this is also where it seems possible to do.
I am going to make an even bigger effort to figure out and do all of these things next time I go but with all the lessons I learned from my first visit to Cape Flattery, I will make up for and improve upon the next time I visit.
And again, if you know about this area and how to access these spots, I would love if you can confirm the things I said.
Other questions about Cape Flattery:
How long is the trail to Cape Flattery?
The trail hike to Cape Flattery lookout from the parking lot is 1/4 mile one way.
What is Cape Flattery known for?
There are a lot of things Cape Flattery is known for including having the most sea caves on the Washington Coast, being a beautiful area to visit and also being the north western most point in the lower United States (not counting Alaska).
Is Cape Flattery worth visiting?
Yes! Cape Flattery is an amazing area to explore and offers what is in my opinion the best sights on the entire Washington Coast.
Can you swim at Cape Flattery?
Yes, but it is extremely dangerous as Cape Flattery is located on cliffs. You need to hike down to the beaches and there are no official trails to do it. It is much safer to access the many beaches south of Cape Flattery instead.