Hiking Cape Lookout
By Gale Straub
Sponsored by Vasque
We all have those places that draw us back like magnets. No matter where we go, the pull is there, humming inside us.
The Cape Lookout area of Oregon has been one of my places since I chanced upon it at sunset in the fall of 2013. I was staying in nearby Neskowin with my twin sister and friend. We’d spent the afternoon in Pacific City walking the shore near Cape Kiwanda and marveling at the haystack rock. Coming from the east coast, it was the first time I’d truly put my foot in the Pacific Ocean. The scale of the landscape was killing me with its beauty.
So, after a day of firsts, we lazily traced the coast north as the sun began to set. On a whim, we turned left down a road for Cape Lookout State Park. The trees canopied the narrow road; it felt dark until we pulled to the lot by the ocean and light streamed through the fog. We burst out of the car in all directions and I snapped this photo:
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel like I get as many magic moments as I did as a child. But walking the sand that day, the fog thickened slowly until it enveloped everything. I breathed it deep in my lungs.
And since then, I’ve returned to camp solo, to hike, and to be eaten by prehistoric-sized mosquitos. I’ve wandered that shore at all hours. I know, now, that that magic sunset held within it a touch of the mundane. All great things do.
At the end of April, I found myself in the Cape Lookout area of Oregon once more. It’d been a busy Spring, and I held the weekend like a morsel in the back of my mind. I was going to hike.
Cape Lookout has miles of hiking trails tracing the cape. You can start from the beach on the North Trail and walk over nine miles to the tip of the cape and back.
Alternatively, you can park at the trailhead lot and either hike down the South Trail to the beach (3.6 mi RT), or straight out to the end of the cape for a shorter hike (4.8mi RT). The South Trail is great if you’re looking for a more secluded beach.
I kicked off my weekend in April on a Friday before the sun went down, watching people parasail in. This time there was no fog, the sky was clear and it was windy. The ocean was loud, wiping out all my could’ve and should’ve thoughts from the week.
It felt good to be in a place that I loved.