Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore

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About the Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore Area

2 miles of cliffs, rocky intertidal, and subtidal reef on the south side and tip of Cape Lookout. The site is located within Cape Lookout State Park, which is off US 101, approximately 12 miles southwest of Tillamook, Oregon on the Three Capes Scenic Route.
The rocky shore is part of Oregon’s Ocean Shore Recreation Area.
Key Resources
Two seabird colony sites on the south cliff face with over 10,000 birds total (Oregon's largest mainland common murre colony; double-crested, pelagic, and Brandt's cormorant; pigeon guillemot; western gull; tufted puffin; black oystercatcher; bald eagle; peregrine falcon); productive and diverse rocky intertidal habitat; one of the only bull kelp (Nereocystis) beds on the north coast. Harbor seals use rocks in the area as a haulout.
  What can you do here?
Typical use of the adjacent ocean shore area and trails includes beachcombing, dog walking, surfing, and sightseeing. Trail hiking through the forest to the tip of the cape for whale watching and general scenic views appears to be the primary use of the cape. Actual use of the rocky shore areas is relatively low because few visitors hike to the intertidal area from the cape trail. Surfers, SCUBA divers and boats seeking protection from the wind use the ocean waters below the south cliff face. Camp Clark uses the rocky intertidal area for outdoor education. Use of the northern beach (off the campground) is much higher and includes sport fishing from shore, beachcombing and other general ocean shore recreational activities.

Educational Opportunities
At the Cape Lookout trailhead parking area (approximately 2.6 miles from the park) there are a few signs, which include a “Trail and Orientation guide.” In the day use area of Cape Lookout State Park, as part of the Dick Windson Memorial, there are several interpretive panels. None of these signs are rocky shore specific, but include one on the “geology of Cape Lookout, “Plants and Wildlife of Cape Lookout State Park”, the “History of Tillamook County”, “History of Cape Lookout State Park” and “Nearby Scenic and Recreation Areas.”

Getting to the Rocky shore at Cape Lookout South Cliff Face

Access to the south end intertidal areas is possible either via a private access point at the Camp Clark Boy Scout camp to the south or via a long, steep trail from Cape Lookout State Park. A trail traverses the entire length of the cape and in places is at the top of the south cliff face. There is no access down the face of the cliff.

  • Access from the Cape Lookout State Park day-use area is on a moderate to difficult, semi-improved dirt trail (the North Trail) which winds 2.3 miles to the trailhead parking area (see below), this takes about an hour at a moderate pace.

  • The trailhead parking area (to the south of the actual park) provides direct access to the South Trail (1.8 mi. semi-improved moderately difficult), which splits off from the Cape Trail, and winds down to the beach.

  • To gain visual access to much of the cape, including many views of the rocky shore below, take the Cape Trail from the trailhead parking area. From there, the walk follows an easy to moderate semi-improved dirt path with some portions covered by wooden walkways (over the wet areas). This hike takes approximately one hour to the tip of Cape Lookout at a moderate pace. In some sections it becomes necessary to climb over roots and fallen trees. Other visual access is afforded at Anderson Lookout, approximately 2 minutes (driving time) south of the park.
  • Public Access Option 1 for Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore
    Public Access Option 2 for Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore

    Who Owns this Site?
    Submerged and intertidal lands: Division of State Lands; the beach and upland are owned by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as Cape Lookout State Park.
      Who Manages this Site?
    Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages the entire cape (as Cape Lookout State Park) for general recreation and natural resource use. Cape Lookout State Park is part of OPRD Area 1 and the Cape Lookout Management Unit.

    Data for the Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore
    [1 Records Listed]

    Cape Lookout South Cliff Face Rocky Shore GIS Data
    Data Layer

    [1 Records Listed]

    Information compiled by Laurel Hillmann, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, OPRD

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