The Oregon Coast has been near the top of my bucket list of places to see for as long as I can remember. Based on the hundreds of photos I’ve seen over the years, I knew there were numerous spectacular places to visit. Whenever I looked at a map of Oregon I was always amazed by the number of state parks that line the coast from top to bottom. From my standpoint, the biggest problem was trying to figure where to go, especially if you only have a limited amount of time. I was most interested in exploring rugged beach areas with off-shore rocks, as well as headlands that offer expansive panoramic views.
Because we were visiting so many other places in the Pacific Northwest on this trip, Kathy and I allotted only two days to tour almost the entire Oregon Coast, from north to south.
After exploring the Columbia River Gorge earlier that day, we arrived on the coast a couple of hours before sunset. Since we were staying in Seaside that night, we decided to drive a couple miles south to first check out the famous off-shore rocks at Cannon Beach before checking into our hotel. When we arrived at the beach it was the first time I’d ever laid eyes on the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps my reaction was similar to that of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. When they arrived on the coast in November of 1805, just a little further north from our location, William Clark noted in his journal: "Ocian in view O! The Joy!"
Further down the coast we stopped at Cape Lookout State Park to hike a portion of the Cape Trail. Cape Lookout is one of the largest capes on the north coast. The trail travels through a thick forest of Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock, roughly 800 feet above the shoreline. As you proceed down the trail you’ll be able to hear the surf crashing into the sand and rocks below. After about a half-mile of walking the trail reaches the edge of the cliff where you’ll have some outstanding views looking towards the south.
The trail continues all the way out to the tip of the cape. You can continue on for another six-tenths of a mile to a vantage point that looks towards the north, or for another 2 miles to the end of the cape.
The principal route down the Oregon coast is Highway 101. Along the northern portions it’s a winding, twisty road that goes through a lot of towns from a bygone era, some of which have already seen their better days. You really need to watch the posted speed limit along the road as well. It’s constantly fluctuating between speeds of 20 and 55 MPH. And yes, we saw quite a few cops on patrol throughout the day.
Otter Crest Scenic Loop which took us out to Cape Foulweather, one of the more scenic areas along the rugged Oregon coast. Be sure to stop at the Devil's Punchbowl, which is believed to be a collapsed sea cave where the water churns like a frothing cauldron during high tides.
A little further south, at Yaquina Head Lighthouse, we saw two more whales, in addition to the two harbor seals we saw swimming just off shore. Yaquina Head is considered to be one of the best places along the coast to spot migrating whales.
100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range - 363 miles of cliff-edged capes, public beaches, wild rivers, sand dunes, rainforest, and coastal mountains. Many of the top attractions are within easy reach of Highway 101, but others are accessible only by trail. To help you explore both the civilized and the wild parts of Oregon's spectacular shore, this book blends two kinds of guides -- a detailed Travel Guide for touring by car and a complete Trail Guide for planning adventures on foot.