Share:

Simpson Reef Overlook

Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon

Start Exploring
Simpson Reef Overlook

Share:

Advertisement
  • California and stellar sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals congregate on Shell Island.- Simpson Reef Overlook
  • The pinniped coverage is so dense that they appear as their own islands from a distance.- Simpson Reef Overlook
  • The view from Simpson Reef Overlook.- Simpson Reef Overlook
  • The view from Simpson Reef Overlook.- Simpson Reef Overlook
  • The wayside appears mundane at first glance, but it is definitely worth a stop.- Simpson Reef Overlook
  • The viewing platform at Simpson Reef Overlook .- Simpson Reef Overlook
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Seals, sea lions, shorebirds. Viewing platform. Easily accessible.
Cons: 
Islands and reef are distant.
Advertisement
Region:
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Points of Interest:
Viewpoint
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Mostly cloudy in the morning.
64°F
54°

Tue

Partly cloudy overnight.
67°F
53°

Wed

Foggy in the evening.
60°F
52°

Thu

Partly cloudy in the morning.
63°F
53°

Fri

Clear throughout the day.
64°F
52°

Sat

Clear throughout the day.
62°F
53°

Sun

Partly cloudy throughout the day.
61°F
52°
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Located just south of Shore Acres State Park but technically within Cape Arago State Park, this wayside is easy to miss as you move between these incredible destinations. Though well-dressed with new interpretive signs and fresh guard railings, the site appears as a modest turn-out with an excellent Pacific view.

Lower you windows, however, and you’ll hear another part of the story. The barking, groaning, and baying from literally thousands of pinnipeds rolls round through the onshore winds that buffet this outlook, daring you to find visual evidence of the source of the impossible sound.

An abundant quantity of sea mammals and birds congregate on Shell Island, the largest of the rock resting spots, and Simpson Reef, the long line of sandstone formations just behind it. Look for cormorants, murres, and puffins outlined on ridges, or try to spot petrels and terns in the air. Given the density and color of the seals and sea lions closer to the water, the congregation may be mistaken for the rock itself. And don’t be surprised to see the spout from a passing gray whale farther out to sea, as well.

Bring binoculars or a high-powered telephoto lens for a closer perspective, as the rocks are about a quarter-mile off shore. Because both Shell Island and Simpson Reef are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, going to the islands is prohibited, and watercraft must maintain a minimum distance of 500 feet. Short of a chartered cruise, the Simpson Reef Overlook is one of the best views you’ll get of this protected place.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
30 Members
Who's Done It
8 Members
Submission by
Team
356 Adventures Explored
333 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info