A detour off Highway 101 on the Northern Oregon Coast takes you to the Three Capes Scenic Byway. One of the most scenic spots along this drive is Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, which juts out over the Pacific. Besides the stunning ocean views, Cape Meares is known for a few oddities.
First, you’ll find the Cape Meares Lighthouse, which began operating in 1890, via a short trail at the end of the cape. This is Oregon’s shortest lighthouse, and it may be diminutive, but it in its day it was mighty, its light visible from 21 miles away. Today the lighthouse is no longer operating.
Another attraction at Cape Meares is the Octopus Tree, a many-armed, often-photographed Sitka spruce that was a budding seedling in the 18th century. This ancient spruce resembles a candelabra, an octopus or a many-armed monster, according to the whims of your imagination.
Cape Meares is also an excellent spot to watch for migrating whales and sea lions, porpoises and dolphins frolicking off shore. And, beginning in spring, several species of seabirds as well as raptors nest on the cape’s cliff faces, making it a popular birding hotspot. The cape is also home to the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, which adjoins the scenic viewpoint.