Friday, July 14, 2017

Cape Lookout

When choosing a place to hike, I usually head towards the mountains or Columbia River Gorge.  Although a mere hour's drive from the Oregon coast, for some reason I seldom go there.

Beach view from Cape Lookout Trail son Cody happened to be in town one Friday in early June, was free, and expressed interest in hiking with his old mother.  Of course I wasn't about to pass up a chance to spend quality time with my kid!

Interesting patterns on these leaves

Not wishing to fight Friday afternoon traffic through Portland, I suggested heading west instead.  It'd been awhile since either of us had visited the beach - time to get our ocean fix!  Paging through my hiking book, Cape Lookout Trail leaped to the forefront. 

A lone wild iris

Cape Lookout's narrow, cliff-edged peninsula juts two and a half miles out into the Pacific Ocean.  Surrounded by a state park of the same name, it's a short jaunt past the town of Tillamook.  A perfect summer afternoon excursion.

Lots of salal

Heading westward, the city's hot weather gave way to cool coastal breezes.  Not a fan of high temps, I happily donned a long sleeve shirt at the trailhead. 

Cody admires a huge tree

The Cape Lookout trail began in dense woods of ancient spruce and hemlock trees.  Some of these trees were quite large and mossy.  Plentiful ferns and salal bushes covered the forest floor, accented by tiny pink candyflowers. 

Ocean glimpse

A half mile in, teaser ocean views could be glimpsed through a few gaps in the trees.

Unique flower

There were lots of unique flowers blooming, and hoping to identify them later, I photographed each one.

Boardwalk over muddy patches

 Portions of the trail crossed wet, boggy areas.  A boardwalk helped keep our feet out of the mud.


About a mile and half in, the trail passed by an impressive overlook.  High above the ocean, we looked down into a secret cove with the most stunning aquamarine waters.

Looking down into a secret cove

Then, it was back on the trail.  This time, we ran into a section of damaged boardwalk, forcing my son and I to tromp through the mud.  Oh well, that's what hiking boots are for!

Lots of mud puddles!

Nearing the end of the cape, the forest dwindled until we came out onto a wide open grassy slope. 

Nearing the cape's end

The views over the ocean were fabulous!  But don't get too close to the edge.....It was a long way down.

Blue eyed Mary

 More unique, lovely flowers were blooming on the steep cliff edges.

Fringe cup

And then, we came upon trail's end - a wide spot at Cape Lookout's very tip.  Despite heavy brush and trees on one side, it still offered an incredible vista.  The Pacific Ocean's blue waters stretched out for miles.

The ocean view extends for miles

There were a few other groups here - some sitting quietly enjoying the view, while one other group of young people were loudly socializing.  Kind of ruined the atmosphere, so we didn't stick around very long.

Enormous tree!

I usually don't mind out and back trails - you always see something you missed on the return trip.  In this case, it was an enormous spruce tree. 

Taking in the views

 And you get the opportunity to take in those lovely vistas a second time.

Wild lily of the valley

And photograph unique plants.

Octopus tree

After finishing our hike, there was still a bit of time left before dinner, so Cody suggested heading north to Cape Meares State Park.  He'd heard about their famous "Octopus Tree" and was interested in seeing it. 

Ocean panorama from Cape Meares

So I traveled the short 10 miles past the tiny towns of Netarts and Oceanside to the forested bluff of Cape Meares.  A quarter-mile trail took Cody and I to the tree's base. 

Cape Meares lighthouse

 It was the most unusual tree I'd ever seen.  A 12-foot-thick Sitka spruce, it had big, odd-shaped limbs protruding out from the base.  A fence with copious warnings kept potential tree climbers at bay (well, the honest ones anyway).

View towards Three Arch Rock

Octopus Tree now checked off our list, Cody and I wandered back towards the lighthouse.  Although the tours had ended for the day, and the place was locked up tight, we still enjoyed the marvelous views from it's perch.

Wild rose

Of course no hike is complete without a visit to the local brewpub, so before heading home, we stopped by the famous Pelican Pub in Tillamook for burgers and beer.

Parting lighthouse photo

A great change of scenery and wonderful chance to get caught up with my son!


  1. The Oregon Coastline has been on my radar for quite some time. Nature there is simply breathtaking. Love your images and I hope I get to visit one day.

  2. wonderful to got caught up with your son. WOW! The higher you climbed the better the views adn Ii loved seeing all the plant and flwer images. Have a great weekend.

  3. ...and quality time with nature.

  4. Hello, what a beautiful hike. The coastline is gorgeous. I love all the pretty wildflowers. The octopus tree is cool and I love lighthouses. Sounds like you had a great outing with your son. Wonderful series of photos. Happy weekend to you!

  5. Such beautiful views! Loved the octopus tree!

  6. Hi! Nice hiking with your son. The secret cave's photo is very beautiful. Wild lily of the valley flowers are as same as flowers in our country. Your ocean photos are very beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love how you captured these gorgeous and enchanting views, Linda!

  8. Nice hike with Cody and photos too. We've been to Cape Meares a couple times. Rough road but worth the trip! I told Megan to go there last year when she was in Tillamook. She loved it too. Happy weekend my friend!!

  9. So much stunning scenery on your coastline - I'd love to explore it. Great shots!

  10. You certainly have some wild scenic coastlines over there. I'm always expecting a photo tour of Portland some day as it looks a great city with the cable cars and skyscrapers but maybe that's not your thing if you work there all the time :o)

  11. Breathtaking! So many beautiful things to look at and photograph. So glad you got to spend that time with your son.

  12. Looks like a fabulous hike, especially with your son. That Oregon coast looks spectacular!

  13. Agree! There's nothing like an outing with your child in nature!

  14. make me long to visit the coast again. Such beautiful views. - Wow that Octopus tree was so interesting.

  15. Great shots and great plants. I have finally taken some pictures that contain snow - although I have had to travel a bit to find it! Keep an eye open!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Grindelwald, Switzerland

  16. Coastal walking followed by burgers and beer, my kind of hike! :)

  17. Some great nature shots! But looking down into the cove made me dizzy.

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  19. What a great way to spend time with your son and get some awesome pics, too!

  20. What a nice hike to take with your son! I love unusual trees--there is a similar "octopus" tree on the Lair 'o the Bear open space hike I did a few years ago. It was enormous!

  21. Nicely done- especially like the iris

  22. Love the coast. I've never been to that lookout trail though. It's time to go back!

  23. Ahhhh! A favorite place of mine. We have spent a lot of time in Netarts and surrounding points of beauty, including what you have beautifully photographed here. Some day if you have the time, stop by The Schooner in Netarts for lunch. Slow but worth it. Jacobsen Salt is harvested in Netarts, but I've never visited.

  24. Nice! I'm glad to see the lighthouse lens is still alive and well, and the octopus tree likewise. It's been a few years since I saw both; your photos make us want to come down for another visit!

  25. Looks like a great hike for you and your son. Love the secret cove overlook!

  26. Love the view from Cape Mears and the octopus tree is fabulous.

  27. Nice photos, Linda. I hiked Cape Lookout from the campground at the state park about 10 years ago, I remember it was uphill from the campground! Anyway, your "unique flower" is Black Twinberry. I'll take issue with your Blue-eyed Mary, it looks more to me like an Idaho Blue-eyed Grass.


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