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Photo of ocean alcove in Cape Blanco state park


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Cape Blanco is the westermost point in Oregon, second in the 48 states, and perhaps the windiest—gusts clocked at speeds as high as 184 mph have twisted and battered the Sitka spruces along the 6-mile road from Hwy 101 to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

Photo of Cape Blanco with lighthouse lit at sunset

No one knows why the Spanish seafarer Martin Aguilar, after sailing past these reddish bluffs in 1603, called them blanco (white). One theory is that the name refers to the fossilized shells that glint in the cliff face.

Cape Blanco State Park started as a ranch owned by the Hughes, a hard-working and religious pioneer family, who occupied the ranch for 111 years.

Photo north of Port Orford heads looking to Cape Blanco
View to the north from the Cape


Photo old view of Huges family cemetery
Hughes family cemetery

Today, the 1,880-acre park contains not only the historic Hughes house and the family cemetery, but hiking trails, beach access, a year-round campground with fifty-eight electric campsites and yurts, and a horse camp with riding trails.

This park also includes the Cape Blanco Lighthouse atop a 245-foot headland, which has been in continuous use since 1870, longer than any other in Oregon. Perhaps the star, however, is the jaw-dropping views of the ocean it oversees.

Nature lovers will enjoy excellent bird and marine mammal watching, as well as exploring thick forest and the cool rock formations. And due to the temperate marine climate here, the grass literally stays green here all year long. It is also home to a sea lion colony which inhabits some of the offshore rocks.

The lighthouse and historic home are open from April to October. The lighthouse tour, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, costs $2/adult, $1 youth under 12, or $5/family. The Hughes House tour is conducted by knowledgeable volunteers and is free, but donations are gratefully accepted and help fund restoration and maintenance of the house.

The rest of the park, including the campground, is open year-round.

 

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