Portland, OR: Cape Lookout Point

Watch waves crash and boom, migrating gray whales spout, and huge spruces sway on a 5-mile out-and-back to an incredible oceanside overlook.
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Watch waves crash and boom, migrating gray whales spout, and huge spruces sway on a 5-mile out-and-back to an incredible oceanside overlook.

One of the few hikes in Oregon that starts high and descends to its turnaround point, this 5-miler drops to an oceanside overlook with incredible views. From the trailhead, head southwest past hemlocks and Sitka spruces, the largest spruce species in the world. After 0.6 mile, the route passes a plaque honoring the 1943 crew of a crashed B-17; look left for great ocean views.
From here, the sometimes-muddy path continues southwest, passing lush green plants that grow on the massive trunks of the Sitka spruces. After 1.5 miles, stop to check out the inspiring vista above a cove, then continue on—an even better viewpoint awaits 1 mile farther. The trail reaches Cape Lookout Point at mile 2.5. Watch for gray whale spouts off the cape near the lighted buoy. (Calves are sometimes spotted directly below point.) Sea lions and bald eagles are a common sight, too. After the nature show, return to trailhead.
-Mapped by Joe Kurmaskie

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.1

Waypoints

CLT001

Location: 45.3442001, -123.9683304

Trail starts behind big sign. Bear left @ Y-junction; this is one of the few hikes in Oregon that actually starts high, then descends to the turnaround point at Cape Lookout. It's only 800 feet, but you'll feel the climb on the return hike.

CLT002

Location: 45.3444328, -123.9697495

Keep straight; pass hemlocks and Sitka spruces, the largest spruce species in the world.

CLT003

Location: 45.341551, -123.9767969

Look left for great ocean view. A plaque honors 1943 crew of a crashed B-17.

CLT004

Location: 45.3400051, -123.9821184

Trail is muddy in places. Other lush green plants, called epiphytes, grow on the massive trunks of Sitka spruces.

CLT005

Location: 45.3398015, -123.9839315

Nice overlook to the town of Oceanside. Caution: Sharp cliff drop on left.

CLT006

Location: 45.3393415, -123.9890277

One of the many boardwalks over muddy patches. Hike switches from deep forest to ocean views and back again.

CLT007

Location: 45.3397788, -123.9922786

Inspiring vista above cove. An even better viewpoint is 1 mile farther.

CLT008

Location: 45.337984, -123.997407

Continue west along bluff line.

CLT009

Location: 45.3376522, -124.0068376

Lookout has a chain guardrail and rocks to sit on. Watch for gray whale spouts off cape near lighted buoy. (Calves are sometimes spotted directly below point.) Best times: December-January, March-April. Sea lions and bald eagles, too. After the nature show, return to trailhead.