Neah Bay’s Cape Flattery Wildlife Tour is an Oasis for Birds and Marine Mammals

View of the tree-lined rocky coastline and churning white water from the end of the Cape Flattery trail

Cape Flattery is as wild as the wildlife

The focus of Neah Bay’s Cape Flattery wildlife tour emphasizes marine wildlife and Olympic Peninsula birds.  The relatively common occurrence of Gray Whales, Sea Otters, and Sea Lions make Neah Bay’s Cape Flattery Tour a popular destination.  The importance of a naturalist guide and spotting scope can not be overemphasized.  The Cape Flattery coastline demonstrates the power of tides and storms through sea caves, sea stacks, and rocky islets.

Check out our tour rates and guide service for destinations west of Lake Crescent

Rainbows, like the one pictured, show the full visible colors of the electromagnetic spectrum

Neah Bay’s Cape Flattery

4 hours (160 mile) roundtrip drive from Port Angeles

A Cape Flattery wildlife tour provides a must-see Olympic Peninsula tour destination that is not in Olympic National Park.  Cape Flattery is considered the northwestern-most point of the continental United States and is located on the Makah Reservation. 

The Gray Whale tail or fluke is seen just before it descends below the surface of the water

After a short walk on the Cape Flattery trail, enjoy views of Tatoosh Island, sea stacks, sea caves, and a cacophony of currents and wave action.  It is not uncommon to see Tufted Puffin, Gray Whale, Sea Otter, or Sea Lions with a spotting scope and knowledgeable wildlife and birding guide.  In fact, the Gray Whale fluke (tail) photographed was taken on a birding tour to Cape Flattery, not from a boat.

A photographer stands against Hobuck Beach in Neah Bay supporting a huge camera lens with both hands

Northwestern-most point in the continental U.S.

The amazing biodiversity found in Neah Bay can be partly attributed to an outstanding position between the Washington Coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The Cape Flattery trail leads you on a short walk through coastal forest thick with old-growth Western Hemlock, banana slugs, and multi-colored fungi, eventually leading to multiple viewing platforms that overlook a dynamic rocky shoreline and Tatoosh Island.  There are quite a few wildlife viewing spots in and around Neah Bay in addition to Cape Flattery. 

A large group of Steller Sea Lions sit in the sun on a rock visible from the end of the Cape Flattery trail

Best drive outside of the park

Once you leave Clallam Bay, the drive to Neah Bay on highway 112 is arguably the best stretch of road for stunning views of Washington’s rocky shoreline, including headlands and rocky outcroppings.  The road hugs the Strait of Juan de Fuca and many pullouts lead you down to the both rocky and sandy shorelines.  Bald Eagles will use every appropriately large tree adjacent to the water for nesting in the spring.  Pastures provide good spots for potential Roosevelt Elk viewing.  This drive should never be rushed as Gray Whales can literally swim right past you.     

A Cape Flattery naturalist dressed in vivid read and black looks through a spotting scope at Tatoosh Island in the distance

Closeup of a Peregrine Falcon looking over its back with a dark helmet against a white neck, yellow cere, yellow eye ring, and stripped blue-gray back perched on a lichen-lined tree branch

Neah Bay is a precious gem

The Makah have made Neah Bay their home for countless generations.  Neah Bay’s Cape Flattery tour concentrates on wildlife and leaves the cultural aspects of Neah Bay to be interpreted by the Makah people.  Ideally, you will plan to visit the Makah Museum either during your Cape Flattery tour or at some point during your Olympic Peninsula visit.  Neah Bay does not have fee stations like in Olympic National Park but there is a $10 Makah recreation pass that allows visitors to support Neah Bay's natural attractions like Cape Flattery.

A Great Blue Heron stands on an overhanging Douglas Fir branch

Olympic Peninsula wildlife and hiking tours biodiversity lists

Unlocking the biodiversity of distant West End Olympic Peninsula wildlife and hiking tour destinations will be an exploration of discovery.  Olympic Peninsula biodiversity lists are therefore still works in progress. 

A female Roosevelt Elk with her chocolate brown head, neck, and legs stands to attention at the side of the Hoh Valley road

Mammal list for Neah Bay

Mammals viewed on Eurasian Hobby vagrant trip to Neah Bay from October 31, 2014 to November 2, 2014

Harbor Seal, California Sea Lion, Steller Sea Lion, Gray Whale, Bobcat, Roosevelt Elk, and Black-tailed Deer

Bird list for Neah Bay

Close-up of a Cattle Egret, a vagrant in Neah Bay, Washington in the late fall of 2014

Birds heard or seen on Eurasian Hobby vagrant trip to Neah Bay from October 31, 2014 to November 2, 2014

Birds heard or seen on Eurasian Hobby vagrant trip to Neah Bay from October 31, 2014 to November 2, 2014

Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Brandt's Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egret*

Pair of Marbled Godwits at rest with beaks almost crossed and one leg tucked into their feathers

Bald Eagle, Eurasian Hobby*, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Killdeer, Marbled Godwit, Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper, Dunlin, Wilson's Snipe, Bonaparte's Gull, Heermann's Gull, Mew Gull, California Gull, Herring Gull, Western Gull, Olympic Gull (hybrid), Glacous-winged Gull, Common Murre, Pigeon Guilemot, Marbled Murrelet, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Northern Pygmy Owl, Anna's Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Tropical Kingbird*

Stellar's Jay, NW Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's Wren, Pacific Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Varied Thrush, European Starling, American Pipit, Spotted Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Orchard Oriole*, Brambling*, House Finch, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow

* Cattle Egret, Eurasian Hobby, Tropical Kingbird, Orchard Oriole, and Brambling are all consider Vagrant on the North Olympic Peninsula