Of Oregon’s Northern Coast hikes, the Cape Lookout Trail is arguably one of the most picturesque. Weaving between a dense forest of Sitka spruce and along the 400-foot cliff edge, hikers get the best of both worlds: stunning vertical views of old-growth in deep green forest, and breathtaking horizontal expanses of the shoreline. Keep your eyes open for wildlife as well. Peregrine falcons are known to nest in the area, and if you visit in March, you may also catch migrating gray whales traveling north from Mexico with their calves.
At the hike’s turn-around point and the furthest tip of the 1.5-mile headland, impressive views extend both north and south. To the south you’ll see Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock off the shore. This Haystack Rock is not to be confused with the more commonly known sea stack off the shores of Cannon Beach that shares its name (there are actually three Haystack Rocks on the Oregon Coast). To the north you can see the Netarts Bay Spit and Cape Meares.
Along with this natural jetty, Cape Lookout State Park includes one of Oregon’s best and most popular campgrounds. Make sure to reserve a tent, yurt or RV site early, especially if planning a summer visit. With miles of hiking trails, sandy beaches and options for overnight stays, Cape Lookout is an excellent area to visit and to explore the Pacific Ocean and Siuslaw National Forest.