A popular campground and day-use area, Cape Lookout is located on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the ocean. This scenic park is a destination for hiking, beachcombing and visiting sites along the Three Cape Scenic Route.
May 25, 2021 Alert The North Trail that leads from the day-use area to the Cape Trail is closed due to windstorm damage. The Cape Trail and South Trail are open.
The 5-mile round-trip Cape Trail features views of the ocean and shore peeking through Sitka spruce and hemlocks on the way to the tip of Cape Lookout. On a clear day, you can see south 39 miles to Cape Foulweather and north 42 miles to Tillamook Head. The trail is mostly flat, but muddy and rocky in places.
Two segments of the Oregon Coast Trail—the North Trail and the South Trail—offer additional hiking through the forest above the ocean. The North Trail begins in the day-use area and continues 2.3 miles north to the Cape Trail trailhead. The South Trail continues south of the trailhead another 1.7 miles.
Or explore miles of ocean beaches along the Netarts Spit, north of the campground.
For a short, family-friendly stroll, try the park’s Nature Trail, which begins near the registration booth.
See our Cape Lookout Trail Guide for a hiking map.
The northern end of this driving route begins in Tillamook and winds along the shore of Tillamook Bay to Cape Lookout and two other capes with many points of interest along the way.
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, north of Cape Lookout, features a historic lighthouse open for tours, hiking trails, picnic areas, whale watching, and the largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon.
South of Cape Lookout, Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island is an ecological wonderland situated in the Sandlake Estuary. You can tour the island on a 1.4-mile loop trail. Just across the estuary from Whalen Island is Sitka Sedge State Natural Area. More than four miles of trails loop through forestland and marshland and lead to a quiet beach.
Pacific City is home to a dory fleet and is the location of Bob Straub State Park, which provides access to the broad, sandy beaches of the Nestucca Spit.
Further inland, Munson Creek Falls State Natural Site has a short trail to a viewpoint overlooking the highest waterfall (319 ft.) in the Coast Range.
The original acquisition for Cape Lookout was a 1935 gift of 975 acres on the cape from the U. S. Lighthouse Service. Additional land was purchase from various owners of the beach area north of the cape and the entire Netarts Sand Spit, once owned by Louis W. Hill of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Hill property was partially a gift and partially an exchange involving lands on the spit for lands at Cascadia State Park. Lands were acquired up to 1988, including a tract of 40 acres on the south side of the cape. Originally, the park was left undeveloped as a natural preserve. Sam Boardman, the first State Parks superintendent, wanted to limit development to minimal picnic use at Jackson Creek with a trail to the cape. This picnic area was developed by the Civilian Conservation Crews (CCC) during the late 1930s. A study of the park development potential was made in the early 1950s and work began in 1952. In 1954 Cape Lookout opened a small campground which grew quickly to nearly the size of today's campground by the end of the 1950s. In the early 1960s, Tillamook County built a road from the south end of Netarts Bay over Cape Lookout to Sand Lake to provide road access to the trailhead on the cape, and to the park from the south. During World War II, an Army Air Force B-17 bomber struck the cape while on coastal patrol on August 1st, 1943. It took a full day for rescue crews to reach the sole survivor. A plaque in memory of the air crew is located on the cape trail.