Cape Lookout State Park: A Camper’s Guide


This post about Cape Lookout camping was brought to you by Gregory, the makers of the finest hiking day pack for adventuring along the Oregon Coast, or whichever landscape you are inspired to discover this season. 

The Oregon State Parks program boasts 110 famously gorgeous state parks that reflect the diverse geography of the northwest, such as beaches, forests, lakes, and deserts. Of them all, Cape Lookout State Park presents some of the most impressive views with ample chance to camp, surf, hike, and even hang glide or paraglide. 

The camping at Cape Lookout is second to none, with beach views, uncomplicated access to surfing for the swell-inclined, and the chance to catch a glimpse of gray whales in the course of their impressive migration from Alaska to Mexico from mid-December to January. 

The eponymous Cape Lookout is a rocky promontory covered in lush forest along the beautiful and rugged Oregon coast, just southwest of pastoral Tillamook. This cliff-edged cape juts out into the sea from the mainland, providing guests a panoramic coastal view although standing on a winding trail surrounded by wealthy emerald forest. The beach on either side of the cape is protected by a 50-foot-wide stone revetment to stop erosion of the nearby dunes and aids shield the campground. All in all, the surrounding nature in the park’s 3-loop campground is a superb spot to crash right after your complete day of activity, with a beautiful ocean view.

Cape Lookout Camping Choices Campsite at cape lookout in forested area with tent and bike.

Image from The Dyrt Camper Ryan W.

Cape Lookout State Park Campground

This campground with more than 200 internet sites is completely situated, providing outstanding views of the spruce-lined coast and the sound of crashing waves nearby. There is a nature-loop trail positioned west of the campground that ultimately leads to a tiny section of the Oregon Coast Trail. The campground boasts 38 RV internet sites with hookups, 170 tent internet sites, 13 yurts and six deluxe cabins — just about anything for each variety of camper. For the coastal adventurer, there is a hiker/biker camp with a lot of friendly folk walking the Oregon Coast Trail, or some even these biking the Pacific Coast Route from Canada to Southern California.

Sand Lake Recreation Location

If Cape Lookout State Park’s campground is complete, Sand Lake Recreation Location is just more than nine miles south, and can be a semi-trusted backup selection. Campers will discover the area’s 3 created campgrounds and 1 dispersed campsite scenic and relaxing, providing views of big sand dunes surrounded by coastal mixed-conifer that hug the Pacific Ocean. Campers can fish, swim, crab, kayak, hike and spy some wildlife, fairly substantially all in 1 day. This campground is also preferred with OHV riders. Sand Lake presents open sand dunes and steep drops for an exhilarating day of off-roading. If you are going to quick term, you can rent an all-terrain car from Sandlake Tsunami ATV Rental, LLC. If you strategy to cruise about the picturesque dunes in your OHV, you will want a permit.

Activities For Your Keep at Cape Lookout

Misty hiking trail surrounded by green ferns and a trail sign.

Image from The Dyrt camper Aria R.

Even though camping at Cape Lookout, there are a lot of extra activities to boost your coastal expertise. From gorgeous nature trails to infamous swells, you will discover your favored outside activity at Cape Lookout.


There are two trail possibilities along the cape. Hikers can stroll to the edge of the peninsula, or descend to a secluded beach at the southern base of Cape Lookout State Park.

The Cape Trail:

The hike to the edge of the cape runs two.four miles 1 way and is comparatively flat, with only 400 feet in elevation get. The trailhead is positioned two.six miles south of the park entrance along the 3 Capes Scenic Route. From the principal parking lot of the Cape Lookout camping region, take the left-hand trail and retain straight at the nearby junction.

Along the trail, spruce and hemlock trees shelter the ferns and salmonberry bushes on the forest floor. From the trail, hikers can see Haystack Rock close to Cape Kiwanda to the south, and on a clear day, the 3 Arch Rocks off of Cape Meares. When hikers attain the finish of the trail, scarlet paintbrush and white yarrow fill the landing searching out at the sea. Do not overlook to bring binoculars and attempt to discover whales off the seashore, as the tip of the cape is a prime locale for whale watching in the course of gray whale migration in winter.

The South Trail:

The South Trail is a 1.eight-mile hike to a secluded beach, starting at the principal trailhead close to the campground. The beach is usually secluded and presents a excellent spot to unwind for the day or surf if you are prepared to bring your board on your trek to the beach.

These two hikes are nearby the Cape Lookout camping region, but the Oregon Coast Trail runs north or south from Cape Lookout State Park. If you are geared up for a longer hike, you can head north on the OCT north for four.9 miles to Netarts Spit, hike 70+ miles to the northwestern tip of Oregon at Fort Stevens State Park, or head south and hike 275 miles to the border of Oregon and California. Hikers can add any quantity of mileage they’d like from Cape Lookout.


Cape Lookout presents excellent breaks for these who are prepared to operate to attain the finest spots. 1 of our customers of The Dyrt and surf aficionado, who prefers to stay anonymous, has this to say about surfing at Cape Lookout:

“Great spot for a exciting uncrowded surf, but be prepared to operate for it. This seemingly fickle spot is unpredictable but can spend off for some excellent surf if you are up for the three mile hike from the parking lot. There is a rock table and cobble stone beach on the north finish that produces a excellent correct on a west swell with excellent shelter from north winds, but will blow out with a lot of south wind. (There is) a left beach break at sand bottom (that) can operate additional south down the beach on a south or southwest swell. Wonderful beach and a excellent hike, have exciting carrying your log back up the path.”  – Anonymous user of The Dyrt and surfing fanatic.

Whale Watching

Up to 20,00 Gray whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico every single year. This is the longest identified migration of any mammal, so make confident to retain an eye out as you devote your days along the coast. Whales frequent Cape Lookout in the course of migration periods in December and January.

Scenic Coast Driving &amp Cheese Tasting

Cape Lookout State Park is component of a beautiful coastal loop, identified as 3 Capes Scenic Loop, which consists of Cape Kiwanda State Park and Cape Meares State Park. There are lots of points to do along this idyllic road trip in addition to the state park. The loop runs from Tillamook to Pacific City providing mesmerizing ocean views and tranquil old-development forests with trails to stretch your legs along the way.

When in Tillamook, verify out the infamous Tillamook Creamery which presents a plethora of cheese tasting-possibilities, scrumptious ice cream flavors and delight in a gourmet grilled cheese for lunch.

Right after Tillamook, Cape Meares is the initially cease along the 3 Capes loop, positioned 13 miles northwest of Tillamook. This cape capabilities a picturesque lighthouse with a Fresnel lens and a big ‘octopus tree’, with its numerous branches that mimic an eight-armed sea creature. Right after Cape Meares, head 10 miles south to Cape Lookout.

The final cease on the 3 Capes Scenic Loop is Cape Kiwanda. This is a beautiful locale to consume lunch or surf. Pelican Brewery and Taproom at Cape Kiwanda is a beachfront brewpub with views of Haystack Rock and the impressive dunes nearby.

This post was brought to you by Gregory.

Two people walking along creek bed in a forest

Gregory tends to make comfy hiking packs that match effectively and carry your day’s gear in the course of a Pacific Northwest adventure and beyond.  


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