Three capes of Oregon

During my 15 years here in Oregon the coast has been a huge disappointment. Hotels with worn out mattresses, cold wet sand, beach walks in full winter gear with your face skin being stripped away by sharp bits of sand hurtling towards you at 30 miles per hour. The bad food, the never there sunsets and the horrific traffic to get there…nope, the Oregon coast has provide me nothing but misery. Sabine had lost all hope of me changing my views…until surfing, and the van.  The van is like a submarine for the deep sea. It allows us to comfortably go where only the most hearty dare to exist. Surfing escapes the cold through the pure genius of a wetsuit, and once out on the water, you are face to face with nature at it’s most genuine.

So with our surfboards and van in mind, we booked a spot at Cape Lookout State Park for the 4th of July week. This week has been a tradition amongst a group of friends to head for the hills to mountain bike and escape the fireworks. Part of this tradition was a chaotic and stressful the last minute “where do we go?” planning through email that ultimately sent Sabine down a path of learning the dark world of the camping reservation rules and systems. As a result she is a black belt in getting a spot and is now the ultimate decider on where we end up. Needless to say the beach was a wrench in the proverbial mountain biking machine.

Our trip was divided into two distinct phases. Phase 1 would be th week over the 4th of July nestled deep into the D loop of Cape Lookout Campground. And phase 2 would have us sipping martinis off a large balcony in a private home overlooking the dunes of Cape Kiwanda. Friends would come and go throughout the entire time and we would spend each day exploring different aspects of the three capes. It was glorious weather and an experience, that on reflection, felt further away than the few hours from Portland it took to get there.

The three capes are Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cap Kiwanda.

Camping (Cape Lookout Campground)

Initially our time away started deep into loop D at Cape Lookout Campground. We were “far” from the beach but the loop and distance kept us away from the riffraff and traffic.

Out latest genius move is to cook a couple of simple quiche ahead of time. They make for a great cold snack anytime or heated for breakfast.


We later moved to a spot extremely close to the beach. The spot was also at the end of a loop so it was quiet too.

Not a bad spot with the sun coming down over the ocean. It was this evening that we enjoyed fresh salmon and oysters from Nevors Shellfish farm.

Cape Lookout Hikes

There is a spectacular Cape Lookout hike with large rutted trees, jungle like paths, steep cliffs and dramatic views of the cape jutting out and the ocean below.

There are many options with the trail. One day we started from the campsite and headed up along the cliffs and trees.

Later we started up the hill and headed straight out to the end of Cape Lookout. The weather and turrain changed dramatically for such a short hike. From dry summer Oregon forrest to lush misty dense coastal forest to sunny exposed cliffs.

Dry trail becomes wet trail. 

Sudden open views from awe inspiring heights.

Secret Beach

Secret beach was grueling 1.8 mile hike down (and up) an extremely steep windy trail. The way down I carried the boards just using the bag straps on my shoulder but for the trip up attached them to the backpack. It worked like a charm but didn’t change the fact that by the time I reached the top I’d be dripping in sweat.

Here is a view of secret beach from above.

Half way down.

Touch down. The beach feels nothing like other beaches in Oregon. The sand is silky smooth and white. The water rolls in aqua blue. It felt like a huge rocky Oregon cliff had been dropped onto a Caribbean island.

We set up camp because there is no rush to head back up that darn trail.

Sadly the waves were minimal but a few sets rolled in from time to time.

Olive watches and waits.

Me missing the mark on how to angle when taking off. The green wave sits there mocking my inabilities.

Sabine with the quintessential look of joy despite missing the wave.


House just outside of Pacific City



A wonderful house we rented with friends sat nestled above the dunes and had a balcony with nightly sunset shows.

Of course I have to tackle the traditional puzzle.

Sunset example #1

Walking out the back door towards the dunes.

What lies just over the hill. To the left and down is Pacific City.

Olive having no issues despite being 10 years old.

Each morning we’d drive into Pacific City to park on the beach and surf for a couple of hours.

J’s Fish and Chips. A bit of a drive and not too shabby (I personally still rank Wildside grill in Tofino has the best).

It wouldn’t be an Oregon vacation without crab.

A rare photo of us together.

Trying to take it all in.

The other side of the dunes where all the poor saps must hike the steep hill to enjoy what we could see with such ease.

Paragliders learning how to control the wind or I guess I should say work with the wind.

Nature on the dunes.

A vulture awaits the spoils.

The Oregon coast showing it’s simple furry.

A sunset’s cast of colors.

Sunset example #2

Friends in typical July Oregon apparel.