Combine hiking and whale-watching when you explore the lush green forest and rugged headland of this exciting coastal state recreation area.
Enjoy a day of outdoor exploration and adventure at Cape Lookout State Park. This compact protected area covers about 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and is filled with scenic wonders.
Discover more than 8 miles (13 kilometers) of trails that extend through the park. Hike through a dense forest of spruce and hemlock trees to reach the cape's tip, a rocky promontory that juts into the Pacific Ocean. During your trek, you’ll pass a plaque that commemorates a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crash during World War II. The plane plowed into the side of the cape during overcast weather, killing all but one of the men on board.
From the viewpoint at the cape's tip, look for gray whales migrating to and from the Mexican state of Baja California and Alaska. The best viewing times are from March through June and from mid-December through mid-January. Some whales linger in Oregon's waters, which helps make whale-watching a year-round activity.
Among the other wildlife you might see from your elevated position are seals, sea lions, gulls, pelicans, murres and orcas.
From here descend to the beach at the base of the cape. Investigate tidepools for fish, mussels, hermit crabs, barnacles, sea slugs, limpets, sea snails and other sea life.
Stay overnight and camp out under the stars in a tent or yurt. Cabins and RV hookups are also available. Facilities include showers, restrooms and picnic tables. Some of the cabins and yurts are pet-friendly.
Cape Lookout State Park is open for day use and camping year round. It’s about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Tillamook and about a 90-minute drive west of Portland. Access to the protected area is free, but there is a charge for parking.
For details of camping facilities and prices, visit the park's official website. Note that camping is by reservation only up to 30 days in advance.