CAPE MEARES STATE SCENIC VIEWPOINT
Known for its lighthouse, stunning ocean views, and octopus-shaped Sitka spruce, Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint is a must-see when driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
From the parks many viewpoints, you might spot migrating gray whales or other marine mammals such as sea lions, dolphins, and porpoise. During our Whale Watch Week programing in December and Spring Break, volunteers are stationed here to help visitors spot migrating whales. No matter what time of year you visit, binoculars are a must
From April through July, the steep cliffs and offshore rocks are nesting sites for thousands of seabirds, including common murres, pelagic and Brandts cormorants and pigeon guillemots. Peregrine falcons occasionally nest on the cliffs in the spring.
While here, be sure to take the 0.1-mile path from the main parking lot to the unusually shaped Octopus Tree, named for its thick, sprawling limbs. From a turnoff at the park entrance, a 0.8-mile trail heads north through a forest of old growth spruce that's part of a National Wildlife Refuge. Take the .25-mile spur trail to the largest Sitka spruce tree in Oregon.
Cape Meares, located on the northern Oregon coast, has a rich history that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes who relied on its abundant natural resources for sustenance and trade.
In 1806, Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition explored this region during their famous journey to the Pacific Ocean. They named Cape Meares after John Meares, a British explorer who had previously sailed along this coastline.
During the late 19th century, settlers began arriving in Cape Meares attracted by its lush forests and proximity to Tillamook Bay. Logging became an important industry in the area as vast stands of timber were harvested for construction purposes across Oregon.
One notable feature at Cape Meares is its historic lighthouse which was built in 1889 atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. This iconic structure served as an essential navigational aid until it was decommissioned in 1963 due to advances in technology making it obsolete.
Another significant event occurred near Cape Meares during World War II when Fort Stevens (located nearby) came under attack from Japanese submarines off America's west coast - one of only two mainland attacks throughout WWII within US territory.