South of the Lighthouse
We have never explored the trails beyond the Cape Blanco Lighthouse except to walk down to visit the beach near Gull Rock and return.
Today we start at the South Cape Trailhead, take the beach to the mouth of the Elk River, and return via the beach to Needle Rock where we find a path back up the hill to our parked car.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse…
Needle Rock as it appears from the parking area…
The trailhead leads us through an open meadow with several detours leading to spectacular views of the Oregon coast. I circled the first viewpoint in the picture below. Some people are standing there now.
And here we are, replacing those people I circled before. That’s Needle Rock below, looking less needle-like from this perspective. The land form to the right, jutting out to the sea, is the most westerly point in Oregon. The lighthouse is located on this promontory.
To the south is Humbug Mountain and the Port Orford Heads where the Lifeboat Museum is located.
We enter the woods that run parallel to the Cape Blanco State Park Campground.
The woods emerge into a large grassy area with picnic tables overlooking the ocean.
We end up on a road that descends onto the beach.
To the north is a view of Needle Rock, the most westerly point in Oregon, and barely visible is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.
The beach is calm here and flat. Jeff wiggles his 10 piggies in the cold waters.
We walk to the mouth of the Elk River.
Two kids just slid down this sand dune on their butts!
We arrive at the Elk River where it meets the Pacific Ocean.
Then we meet Rover, the dog who loves to run and swim. He even catches a fish as he frolicks in the river waters.
It’s possible to cross the river, but we start back instead.
This is the most populated beach we have encountered in Port Orford. Of course, it is Memorial Day weekend and the closest beach to the campground. A few families with lots of kids and sand toys. Two sunbathers tanning on the sand dunes. Many beach bums like us. (I try to take pictures without people in them.)
Notice the sand drifts surrounding this piece of driftwood.
The south side of Needle Rock.
The east side of Needle Rock.
From the beach we search for a pathway leading up to the parking area. We can’t see it from here but we saw it from above and could trace it from the first viewpoint we came to on the South Cape Trail. I remember it went down to a pile of driftwood to the left of the Needle.
I get a hunch and send Jeff up to survey. Eureka!
We make it!
Our beach souvenirs…