"Westernmost spot in contiguous America"
Last sunset in America, Cape Alava Washington
It only makes sense that after posting about America's first sunset that I should inform you about its last! Cape Alava is the westernmost spot of mainland in the contiguous United States. The sunset here is gorgeous as it sets upon the Olympic Coast of Washington. This place actually requires a longer hike through the temperate rain forest of the peninsula. So, if you have seen America's first sunrise, head out here and see its last!

Where is the westernmost point in America?

It is much more difficult to pinpoint the exact westernmost point on the Pacific coast. The coasts of northern California, southern Oregon and northern Washington are at essentially the same longitudes. While Oregon and Washington are said to have the "westernmost point" in the lower 48, the westernmost city in America is Eureka, California. So, its actually somewhat of a debate amongst geographers as to what' the true westernmost point.

Panorama of Cape Alava
Cape Alava is generally accepted as the westernmost point in America however at high tide it is at the same longitude as Cape Flattery. Cape Flattery, the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula is the most northwesterly point of the lower 48 states. Cape Blanco comes very close to being westernmost, but this is not accepted by most geographers or the US Geological Survey.

Sunset on Cape Alava
Hiking Cape Alava

Cape Alava can be reached by traveling to Ozette, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. This seashore is managed by Olympic National Park and there is a visitor center at the trail head. The trail itself is very straightforward and is 3.3 miles to the sea. From the ranger station, you cross a small bridge over the river and turn right at the nearby fork. This is the Cape Alava trail and it is almost entirely on wooden boardwalk planks. The hike itself gives you a very good impression of the vast and lush forests that cover the peninsula. By the scientific definition, this is a true temperate rain forest.
The coastline of Cape Alava
After 3.3 miles, you pop right out on the coast and can see several campsites. A small trail goes to the right to take you to the campsites and Cape Alava. As you pass the campsites you will come across a sign marking the entrance to Ozette Indian Village Archaeological Site and the Indian reservation. From here, its pretty obvious, simply go to the water and you are west! There are several large stony points that make the scene very picturesque.
Only a month earlier, I was at the easternmost point in America!
My Extreme Point Adventures

If you've read my last blog post on West Quoddy Head (https://quincykoetz.com/2011/02/west-quoddy-head-maine-americas-firs/), you might have picked up on my most recent adventure goal. I'm now trying to travel to all the "extreme points" of America. This includes the northernmost and southernmost points in the lower 48 as well. I hope to someday travel to the Northwest Angle of Minnesota and Key West, Florida which would make my adventure complete. Also, in case you were interested, Point Loma, California, is the most southwesterly point in America. Of course, if you include Alaska, Hawaii and outlying territories then this becomes a much more challenging affair. Onward!

Read. Plan. Get Out There!