Cape Meares State Park, Oregon

Cape Meares State Park
Cape Meares State Park

Pictured here is the beach of Cape Meares State Park.

If you like to hunt agates and other earth treasures this beach is for you. There is plenty of space to walk, listen to the waves and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Be sure to walk south towards the basalt face of Cape Meares and get a closer view of this geologic wonder.

From the beach, a short drive south on the main road will allow you a close view of the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

Cape Meares State Park is located about 15 miles west of Tillamook, OR.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Oregon

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Oregon
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Oregon

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, better known to the locals as “Tilly”, has a sorted history. When construction was beginning, the first surveyor to set foot on the basalt rock was promptly swept into the sea by a large wave never to be seen again. Ocean 1, Humans 0.

Viewing the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse close-up isn’t an option unless you have a seagoing vessel as it is 1.2 miles out to sea. ¬†For the rest of us, travel to Ecola State Park. Be sure to bring your binoculars and telescopic lenses.

The lighthouse is 133 feet high, the tower rising 62 feet above the island. Construction was completed in 1881 and it was decommissioned in 1957. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse now serves as a columbarium.

Ecola State Park, Oregon

Rest on a bench while watching Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
Rest on a bench while watching Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park is a very popular spot to visit, especially if you live near Portland, OR. Almost a straight shot west from Portland on Highway 26 Ecola State Park offers a wide variety of activities.

  • Turn left just after entering the park for Crescent Beach access. Here you will find a nice spot to picnic and enjoy breathtaking views.
  • Turn right for easier beach access at Indian Beach. Hiking trails up the coastal bluffs give you better views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
Sea Lion Rock - home of many different species of wildlife, Ecola State Park Oregon
Sea Lion Rock – home of many different species of wildlife, Ecola State Park Oregon

Crescent Beach

There are lots of picnic tables but on the weekends things can be a bit crowded so bring a blanket on which to sit.

A short walk from the parking lot, a well paved trail, will take you out the viewpoint where the picture of Sea Lion Rock was taken. This is a prime spot for whale watching. If you forget your own binoculars the park has provided some coin (quarter) activated viewers.

Trails lead from the parking area down to the sandy beaches below. The trails can be steep and footing unsure on loose rocky ground.

Indian Beach

A short one mile drive from the park entrance, on a narrow winding road, is Indian Beach. Here you will find easy beach access a few yards from the parking area. Lots of water addicts come here to swim, surf and just plain enjoy the sun.

If hiking is your thing you can hike north along the coastal bluffs for less than a mile and look STRAIGHT down to the ocean and beaches below. There are several looping points, or if a long hike is what you’re looking for, the full six miles to Seaside, OR., will give you a great workout. This six mile trail was thought to have been originally hiked by Louis and Clark while locating Native American tribes to trade with for supplies.

Directions

Ecola State Park is located just north of Cannon Beach, OR. Highway 101 will give you your easiest access to the Cannon Beach. A slow but short drive through a villa of tourist traps winds through town on your way to the park.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is located within Yaquina Bay State Park’s 36 acres. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is 51 feet high and was erected 1871 only to be decommissioned 3 years later in 1874 after it was discovered that the light from the lighthouse was blocked by Yaquina Head. After a new lighthouse was completed at Yaquina Head, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was decommissioned.

Historic furniture arrangement inside the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon
Historic furniture arrangement inside the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon

The lighthouse has been restored by the local historical society and is open to the public daily from Noon to 4pm. Inside you will find each room carefully arranged in a historically accurate setting. Narrow staircases rise between the floors before you reach the upper spiral staircase. Direct access to the very top is obstructed. The basement has been converted into two parts, a small video room and lighthouse store.

Back side of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon
Back side of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon

Outside the lighthouse you will find picnic tables. The drinking fountains and bathrooms with running water are behind the lighthouse.
Directions:

  • Traveling North on Highway 101, take the first exit right after crossing the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Circle around right under the bridge and proceed to the main parking lot.
  • Traveling South on Highway 101, take the last right before you begin to cross the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Proceed straight to the parking area.

Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

Looking south from Cape Lookout towards Sandlake
Looking south from Cape Lookout towards Sandlake
Looking from Cape Lookout south towards Cape Kiwanda
Looking from Cape Lookout south towards Cape Kiwanda
Cape Lookout looking north to Netarts Bay
Cape Lookout looking north to Netarts Bay

Cape Lookout State Park has many things to offer to both the casual day hiker and overnight camper.

The campground has 176 tent sites, 10 Yurts and 38 RV spots. The campground is a very short walk from the sandy beach. Mosquitoes can be very pesky in the evening hours, bring your repellent.

From the campgrounds you can make a short drive south to the Cape Lookout trail head. It is about a 2.5 mile hike from the trailhead to the edge of Cape Lookout. As the trail meanders out to the Cape you are treated with spectacular views. If you make this hike in the spring you will be treated to a plethora of wildflowers.

If you look closely in the southern view you can see Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda. (For another view of Haystack Rock near Cape Kiwanda go to Mount Hebo.) In the northern view you can see Nearts Spit, the beach on which the Cape Lookout campground is located. Once you reach the end of the trail you are treated with a breathtaking 180 degree view of the Pacific ocean. Hold on to your stuff though, it is usually quite windy here. Children and small animals should be attended to closely.

This is a popular spot for hang gliding.

Cape Lookout State Park is located about 15 miles west of Tillamook, OR.

Haystack Rock, Oregon

Haystack Rock near Pacific City, Oregon
Haystack Rock near Pacific City, Oregon

Haystack Rock can be seen for miles up and down the Oregon coast. From Cape Lookout in the north to the heights of Mount Hebo, Haystack Rock has become a well recognized landmark.

Located just off Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City, Oregon, Haystack Rock is home to many species of birds and other ocean dwellers.