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Oregon State Parks

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USA Parks
Oregon Coast Region
Cape Arago State Park
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Cape Arago State Park Cape Aragos © Dima Barashkov
Cape Arago State Park © Ben Prepelka
Cape Arago State Park Cape Arago © Dima Barashkov
Looking south from Cape Arago State park
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Cape Arago Highway
Coos Bay, Oregon   97420
(lat:43.3063 lon:-124.3986) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
Toll Free: 800-551-6949
Cape Arago may be the end of the road (the road out of Coos Bay goes no further), but it's really only the beginning if you want to explore the southern Oregon coast.

Located at the end of Cape Arago Highway about 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay, Cape Arago is a scenic headland jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Long used by native Americans, Cape Arago was first sighted by Europeans during one of Sir Francis Drake's expeditions in the late 1500s. Modern visitors can scan the horizon for migrating whales and other marine mammals, as well as fishing boats and ships entering and leaving nearby Coos Bay.

The south cove trail leads down to a sandy beach and superior tidepools where you can visit intertidal plants and animals (but please enjoy them with your eyes only). The north cove trail provides access for fishing, beachcombing, and viewing the off-shore colonies of seals and sea lions at Shell Island -- a designated National Wildlife Refuge. The trail is closed March 1- June 30 to protect seal pups. Picnic tables, restrooms and a gazebo shelter are available for daytime use.
History of the Area
Cape Arago, located on the southern Oregon coast, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Coos and Lower Umpqua people who relied on its abundant natural resources for sustenance.

In 1775, Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta became one of the first Europeans to lay eyes upon Cape Arago during his expedition along the Pacific Northwest coastline. However, it wasn't until much later in 1850 when Captain John Tichenor arrived with settlers from California that permanent European settlement began in this region.

The cape quickly gained importance due to its strategic location overlooking both Coos Bay and Charleston Harbor. In response to growing maritime traffic along these waters, a lighthouse was constructed atop Gregory Point at Cape Arago in 1866. This iconic structure served as an essential navigational aid for ships entering or leaving these treacherous coastal waters.

Over time, various industries emerged around Cape Arago including logging and fishing which further contributed to local development. As tourism grew throughout Oregon's scenic coastline during the early twentieth century so did interest in preserving areas like Cape Arago for public enjoyment.

Recognizing its ecological significance and stunning beauty, efforts were made towards conservation resulting in portions of land being designated as state parkland over several decades starting from mid-1930s onwards under different legislative acts passed by authorities concerned about protecting valuable ecosystems found within this unique coastal environment

Today visitors can explore miles of hiking trails winding through lush forests while enjoying breathtaking views across rugged cliffsides plunging into crashing waves below - all testament to nature's enduring power shaping this remarkable place we now know simply as 'the cape'.
Enjoy fishing off the rocky shoreline for species like rockfish, greenling and lingcod. Crabbing is also popular here.

The nearby Sunset Bay offers clamming opportunities with gaper clams being a common catch.

Charter boats are available in Coos Bay for deep-sea angling where you can find halibut and salmon.

Remember to check local regulations regarding seasons, limits, and licensing before heading out.

Cape Arago State Park offers picnic tables with ocean views. Picnic areas are equipped with restrooms and parking spaces.
1. South Cove Trail: This trail offers a moderate hike with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding forested areas.

2. North Cove Trail: A short, easy walk that leads to an overlook where you can spot seals and sea lions lounging on offshore rocks.

3. Shell Island Viewpoint Pathway: An accessible paved path leading to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking Shell Island, part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

4. Packard Creek Nature Loop: A gentle loop through lush coastal forests featuring interpretive signs about local flora and fauna; perfect for families or beginner hikers.

5. Cape Arago Lighthouse Lookout Track: Though access to the lighthouse itself is restricted, this track provides excellent vantage points from which one can view it along with panoramic ocean vistas.

6. Yoakam Point Hiking Trails: Located in nearby Yoakam Point State Natural Site within walking distance from Cape Arago Park offering more challenging hikes amidst dense vegetation while providing glimpses of migrating whales during season time.

7. Sunset Bay Cliffs Edge Walkway: Connects Sunset bay state park campground area directly adjacent north side,providing dramatic cliff edge walks towards cape arago headland.

8. Shore Acres Botanical Garden Paths: These are not traditional hiking trails but offer leisurely strolls through beautifully manicured gardens filled with exotic plants located at Shore acres state park just before reaching cape arago.

9. Cape Aragao Beach Access Tracks: Several small tracks lead down steep cliffsides giving adventurous visitors direct beach access when tides permit.
Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting a variety of species, including seabirds and shorebirds. The park is home to nesting colonies of common murres, tufted puffins, western gulls and cormorants. Visitors may also see pelagic birds like shearwaters or albatrosses from the cliffs during migration seasons. Birding tours are not offered within the park but self-guided bird watching is popular among visitors.

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Nearby Hotels

1. Start by heading south on US:101 S/US-8 W/S Broadway Street.
2. Continue to follow US:101 S for about 7 miles until you reach Charleston.
3. In Charleston, turn left onto Seven Devils Road and continue for approximately 4 miles.
4. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Cape Arago Highway/W Newmark Avenue.
5. Follow this road for around 0.6 mile before turning right onto Ferry Slip Road (signs will indicate "State Parks" or "Shore Acres").
6. Continue straight ahead as Ferry Slip Road turns into Empire Loop/Road then proceed another half a mile.

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Oregon State Parks