Cape Flattery in 24 Hours
Time from Seattle: 5 hours 45 min (ferry in route)
Cape Flattery has been a trip I've been dying to do for some time now. I finally was gifted a free weekend and I knew just what to do with it. I spent no time at all packing just the necessities for a night away from home.
What to Pack
Sleeping bag/blow up mattress (because car camping! Yay!)
Sweater (some kind of layer for nighttime)
18-135 mm lens
We left on a Saturday directly after the Huskies vs. Rutgers game (who we killed to say the least), caught the 4 p.m. ferry, and were on the road by 4:30 cruising through Bainbridge Island.
Pro Tip #1: Get gas at the Shell station on the reservation right after the Bainbridge Island bridge. You'll need it for the trip and it's cheap!
Bonus! You'll get to cross the world's second longest floating bridge. The Hood Canal Bridge measuring a solid 6,521 ft in length. Fun fact of the day ;) Next up, you'll pass through a couple tiny but adorable towns including Discovery Bay, Discovery Port and Blyn before reaching Port Angeles. DETOUR: If you have time, the Dungeness Spit is a beach-goer's dream (although, I wouldn't recommend a bikini). 11 miles of sandy beach surrounded by water on three sides (aka, a peninsula) juts out into the Straight of Juan de Fuca.
This is where, if you're like me and pay more attention to photo opps than the road, I'd suggest you switch drivers. The drive follows the curvature of the Straight's coastline. Inlets, caves, and sea stacks begin to appear. We just happened to hit the epic scenery as the sun began to set; incredible doesn't even begin to describe the view! The only downside: we were still 30 minutes out and had yet to set up our tent, much less find a place to do so. We stumbled upon this tiny fishing establishment in one of the coves right before Neah Bay, and with about five minutes of daylight left, we pulled over and set up camp. A fire and a few roasted hot dogs later, we crawled into our sleeping bags and ptfo (Urban Dictionary).
7 a.m. we were up and packed, ready for our day at Cape Flattery. As a partial Seattleite, it's no surprise that I was craving my daily dose of coffee. Neah Bay saved me with an English Toffee Latte at their tiny espresso stand across from the water. We also may or many not have found a slightly nicer camping establishment there as well. Oh well, it's about the experience right?
A few minutes drive later we arrived at the entrance to the Cape Flattery trail. The trail, about 1.5 miles round trip, isn't a difficult one, with most of it board walk; hence the combat boots, jeans and flannel. You know all those trendy pics you see on Instagram? It's doable! There are tons of little trails branching off the main path that I highly suggest taking! It brings you to the edge of the cliffs and closer to the water. The famous spot is right off the main trail farthest to the left.
Pro Tip #2: I'd suggest getting there around noon. We arrived at about 8 a.m. to find a little fog here and there and an overcast sky. This makes the water less blue and your pics more monotone!
Keep heading down along the trail and you'll find a little rope hanging down a rock face to a tidal area. Above is a flat area that's perfect to hang out on for a while, listening to the seals and staring out at the lighthouse. Further over is a large wooden platform allowing a better view of a couple massive caves.
Overall, the trail took us about 1.5 hours, given we spent our time hanging out here and there and photographing every inch of the Cape. Leaving at 10, we arrived back on Bainbridge at about 1:30. If you're determined, 24 hours is all you need for this alluring destination. It's close to home so there's no excuse to get out there! It's also the northernmost part of the continental United States! I guess that's two fun facts for the day... no shame.