Neah Bay, Washington, Northwest Gateway to Olympic National Park

Explore pristine beaches and the rainforest on the northwestern tip of Olympic Peninsula, home to the Makah tribe.
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Statues and a totem archway at the Makah Cultural and Research Center Museum. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Statues and a totem archway at the Makah Cultural and Research Center Museum. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Seventy-one miles from Port Angeles, you can explore pristine beaches and the rainforest on the northwestern tip of Olympic Peninsula at Neah Bay, home to the Makah tribe. An estimated 1,500 Makah people live in and around Neah Bay today, although prehistoric population numbered between 2,000 to 4,000 people. You can learn about Makah traditions and history at The Makah Cultural and Research Center. The center is home to 300-500 year-old artifacts that were discovered after a storm in 1969-70 hit the nearby village of Ozette, exposing hundreds of well-preserved wooden artifacts.

Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park. Photo by David Krause

Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park. Photo by David Krause

To experience a lush forest and beautiful beach with sea stacks, hike two miles from the Makah trailhead to Shi Shi Beach, walking through a lush rainforest before reaching beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the north. It’s best to wear hiking boots as the last stretch of the forest trail can get muddy. As you exit the forest, note that the walk to the beach is quite steep with ropes to help you navigate down. From the beach, you can walk an additional 2.5 miles to Point of Arches, a magnificent stretch of rocky sea stacks. However, be sure to carry a tide chart with you because high tides have stranded beach walkers.

For a more moderate hike, walk the boardwalks a half-mile to overlooks of Cape Flattery, the most northwesterly point in the Lower 48.

One of several overlooks onto Cape Flattery.

One of several overlooks onto Cape Flattery.

You will need to purchase a $10 Makah Recreation Pass to pursue any activities on the Makah Indian Reservation, including parking at the Shi Shi Beach trailhead and Cape Flattery. You can buy your pass at a number of businesses, including Makah Marina, The Museum at the Makah Culture and Research Center, Washburn’s General Store, Makah Tribal Center, Makah Mini Mart and the Hobuck Beach Resort.

For more information:
www.neahbaywa.com
makah.com
makahmuseum.com

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