National Wildlife Refuge
|10 miles west of Tillamook on the Three Capes Scenic Route
Tillamook County, OR
Phone Number: 541-867-4550
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Oregon's biggest spruce|
Continued . . . The Cape Meares headland boasts spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge can easily be viewed from the cape, making it the only viewpoint on the Oregon coast where three national wildlife refuges can be seen at once. Nearby Three Arch Rocks Refuge provides habitat for over 200,000 nesting seabirds and is visible from several viewpoints at Cape Meares. Pyramid and Pillar Rocks just west of the Cape are part of Oregon Islands Refuge and together harbor more than 20,000 nesting seabirds, primarily common murres. Cape Meares Refuge is also one of the best places on Oregon's north coast to observe migrating whales from November through December and March through May).
A pair of peregrine falcon, a species recovered from the brink of extinction, has nested on the refuge since 1987. A wildlife viewing deck offers visitors a glimpse into the eyrie, or nest site, of a falcon pair from early March through June providing an unparalleled opportunity to witness the magic of the fastest animal on the planet.
Spring is the best time to view the peregrine falcons and nesting common murres on coastal rocks. During the winter months, you can see a different assortment of wildlife from the headland, including migrating gray whales, three species of scoters, western grebes, and common loons. A spotting scope and binoculars are highly recommended for observing seabirds and/or the peregrine falcons.
Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy several trails that wind through the headland and old-growth forest. The popular Oregon Coast Trail runs through the center of the refuge. Interpretive panels along the headland trail offer information about the refuge and its wild inhabitants. Many of the trails are located adjacent to the refuge within Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.
From the Cape Meares parking lot a 1/4-mile trail leads to a historic lighthouse located at the tip of the headland.
A new Oregon state champion Sitka spruce has been designated on the refuge. The 144-foot spruce was designated after winter storms toppled the the Klootchy Creek Spruce in December 2007. The tree is probably about of 750 to 800 years old. You can see it by hiking a short trail that branches off (to the south) from the Oregon Coast Trail, which meanders through the heart of the old-growth forest on the refuge and adjacent Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.
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