trip reports

September 10, 2013

Cape Lookout hike

Distance: 5 miles
Elevation gain: 400 ft
Location: Cape Lookout State Park

There are three options at this trailhead, and we took the trail to the end of the cape, which is about 400 ft above the ocean. Along the trail, there are openings with great views to the south looking towards Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City, and to the north towards the Cape Lookout campground, Netarts Spit, and the towns of Netarts and Oceanside.

Since this part of the Oregon coast receives about 100 inches of rain each year, the trail is often wet and mucky, so plan on getting your boots or shoes fairly muddy. There are short sections of boardwalks along the trail, but plenty of spots where the mud covers the entire trail and it’s hard to get around it completely mud-free.

Exposed sections of the trail have very steep drop-offs, so hold on to kids hiking with you, and if you take your dog, keeping it on leash is a good idea.

During the months of December – March, it is possible to see whales when they migrate closer to shore, although I’ve never seen one (ever). This is definitely a hike that is best on a clear day for the fantastic views. Cape Lookout is commonly socked in with fog.


interesting tree along the trail

World War II marker

view to the south looking towards Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City

large sitka spruce

a lot of the trail looks like this… with tree roots

boardwalk section

view to the north towards Netarts Spit

looking down at the cape, and out towards Netarts Spit

Cape Lookout State Park and the campground are along the south end of Netarts Spit, with Netarts Bay in the background

coastal forest with boardwalk

a lot of the trail looks like this too… mucky mud

exposed section with views of the ocean

at the end of the cape

natural bonsai

view to the north of Cape Lookout, looking towards the beach north of Sand Lake

typical trail in the forest

interesting tree roots