This low-volume waterfall on the east flank of Cape Flattery is accessible to viewers only by boat. The falls is on the Makah Indian Reservation and the proper Makah name is hihik^iLt. The name is said to mean put your head over while taking a drink in the canoe, an appropriate description since a kayak or canoe can literally float close to or under the falls which empties directly into the sea.
Drive to Neah Bay on State Route 112. To view this falls and other scenic wonders in the area make arrangements for a boat ride likely departing from Neah Bay. By water, the falls is approximately 3.6 miles from the Neah Bay marina. Several charter services offer wildlife viewing tours, usually in the afternoons, which can include a viewing of the falls by request. If you use your own boat, nautical maps are important to avoid reefs. Kelp beds (fragile and pesky to motor props) are abundant along the shoreline and motorized craft can view the falls from about two hundred yards away.
Why just visit Hi Hi Kwilitht Falls? A two- to three-hour round trip boat ride from Neah Bay around the westernmost tip of the contiguous United States passes such natural landmarks as Waadah Island, Slant Rock, Mushroom Rock and many other named features of this wild and rugged part of the Washington Coast where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the coastal Pacific Ocean. Wildlife, including Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and sea birds such as Tufted Puffins, Brandt’s Cormorants and Common Murres, are abundant. Sea lions, seals and the occasional whale or sea otter may be spotted near the shoreline. Further to the west around Cape Flattery is the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary that spans some 3,310 square miles down the coast. Within the Sanctuary is Tatoosh Island, the site of the now abandoned Cape Flattery Lighthouse that once guided the way to the entrance of the Strait (now an automated light). Tatoosh Island provides refuge for some of the largest colonies of seabirds in the United States. Tatoosh was also a historic summering area for the Makah, and is still considered a sacred place. Further to the south of Tatoosh is Hole-in-the-Wall where the restless sea has done some of its best work to sculpt and erode a rugged, scenic shoreline.
Other waterfalls, including 100+ feet Titacoclos Falls, may be seasonally visible approximately .4 miles west of Hi Hi Kwilitht. Look for this one only during the rainy season. Further to the west, southeast of Tatoosh Island, is Flattery Creek Falls in the vicinity of Hole-in-the-Wall. It is not visible from the water, but requires a precarious shore landing in a small craft and a “get your feet wet” bushwhack walk up Flattery Creek to a viewing point.
While in Neah Bay visit the Makah Cultural and Resource Center.
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