Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

Oregon

(541) 867-4550

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Cape Meares Refuge is located on a small headland just south of Tillamook Bay on the northern Oregon coast. It is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. Designated as a research natural area in 1987, it protects one of the few remaining stands of coastal old growth forest in Oregon. The Sitka spruce and western hemlock forest provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including threatened species such as northern spotted owls, bald eagles, and marbled murrelets. Vertical sea cliffs provide nesting habitat for peregrine falcons and thousands of seabirds such as Brandt's and pelagic cormorants, common murres, tufted puffins, pigeon quillemots, western gulls, and black oystercatchers. Migrating loons, grebes, and flocks of shorebirds, and waterfowl are also commonly observed. Marine mammals, including California and Stellar's sea lions, harbor seals, and gray whales can often be seen from this overlook. The Oregon Coast Trail runs through the refuge, connecting the community of Cape Meares with the refuge. Two fully accessible wildlife viewing decks provide visitors with an overview of the Cape Meares' visitors are able to see three National Wildlife Refuges and two National Wilderness areas from a single spot!

Map of Cape Meares NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 45.490344, -123.942261

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    Cape Meares Refuge offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Spring is the best time to view the Peregrine Falcons and nesting Common Murres on coastal rocks. A pair of Peregrine Falcon, a species recovered from the brink of extinction, has nested on the refuge since 1987. A wildlife viewing deck at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint offers visitors a glimpse into the eyrie, or nest site, of the falcon pair from early April through July providing an unparalleled opportunity to witness the magic of the fastest animal on the planet.

  • Hiking

    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.

  • Historic Sites

    In February 2008 a giant Sitka Spruce within Cape Meares Refuge was designated at the largest of its kind in Oregon. The spruce stands 144 feet tall with a circumference of 48 feet and a crown spread of 93 feet. It is estimated to be between 700-800 years old. You can visit the tree by hiking south on the refuge's Oregon Coast trail, the tree is located at the end of the trail.

  • Wildlife Watching

    During the winter months, you can see a different assortment of wildlife from the headland. Marine mammals, including California and Stellar's sea lions, harbor seals, and gray whales can often be seen from the overlook.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round.

Park Partners

Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge is a Cooperative Association partner with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Cooperating Associations, also known as "Friends Groups" are private 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations formed by citizens to provide and support the educational and interpretive services of the park

(503) 842-2244

Directions

Driving

Cape Meares is located along the Three Capes Scenic Route approximately ten miles west of the town of Tillamook. When approaching Tillamook on US Highway 101, follow signs for the Three Capes Scenic Route and the town of Oceanside then turn west to the parking lot for Cape Meares.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(541) 867-4550

Links