November 2, 2003
The lighthouse sits on a shelf, just below the level of the headland, 323-feet above the ocean. As you approach you are on level to look right through the first order Fresnel lens. Sunset brings the light, which was decommissioned and replaced by an automatic beacon in 1963, back to life. Built in 1890 this 38-foot tall lighthouse, is the shortest on the Oregon coast. An old workroom now houses an interpretive center/gift shop, but this is only open a portion of the year.
The trail looping past the lighthouse, that hugs (more or less) the outline of the headland, has a large number of interpretive signs and charts spaced out along it. There are over 3-miles of hiking trails crisscrossing the park.
A short hike south of the parking area the Octopus Tree (mirror site) stands enclosed by a fence. A Sitka spruce, with a 60-plus-foot diameter, called the 'Council Tree' by the area's tribal peoples, it is believed to be a burial tree. Burial trees were trained to grow so as to hold and support canoes wedged amongst the branches, into which the deceased would be then placed. This tree earned its name from the fact of having 8 thick branches growing low on the tree, which lacks a central trunk. It has lost a limb in one of those big windstorms Oregon is subject to in winter. Climbing the tree is not permitted.
Most of the rocks along the Oregon Coast are part of an enlarged National Wildlife Refuge, home to a variety of seabirds. Among these here are Three Arch Rocks, the oldest of these refuges west of the Mississippi. Among the birds roosting here are about 220,000 Common Murre who live in the most crowded conditions of any bird species, with the highest population densities per foot.
Park Open Dawn to dark.
Giftshop Open: 11am-4pm, April through October.
Contact: 1-800-551-6949 (Oregon State Parks), email@example.com (Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse)
Other Websites: Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge
Lighthouse (brief) or Lighthouse and Lighthouse (NPS: Inventory of Historic Light Stations)
From journal In and Around Tillamook, on the Oregon Coast