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Cape Arago State Park
Published: 06/22/2014
Sandstone rock formations and  sheer cliffs make for spectacular views along scenic Cape Arago trails.
Sandstone rock formations and sheer cliffs make for spectacular views along scenic Cape Arago trails.
Photo by Gary Hayes

Cape Arago is a main attraction on Oregon's south coast and a highly recommended side-trip off Coast Highway U.S. 101.

This ancient, Native American stomping ground is rumored to have sheltered Sir Francis Drake's ship as he searched for the Northwest Passage. Rich in history, Cape Arago remains a popular stop-off for modern day coastal explorers.

Cape Arago State Park is located on 145 acres at the end of the road leading out of Coos Bay. The cape's viewpoints and hiking trails offer visitors prime views of the sculpted sandstone rock formations, sheer cliffs and an overlook of Simpson Reef and Shell Island, a National Wildlife Refuge that boasts a menagerie of sea lions, whose barking echoes throughout the area. Fishing boats often dot the horizon and whales are frequently spotted just offshore.

When you're ready to hit the hiking trail, pick between two paths leading to the northern and southern ends of the cove. Down south, lose yourself in an impressive spread of colorful tide pools or head north for more scenic views. Cape Arago State Park adjoins with Shore Acres State Park and Sunset Bay State Park and you can hike the entire length of the three parks for some of the most stunning views you will experience in just 2.5 miles. Wherever you wander upon this rocky headland, you'll be thrillingly close to the mighty Pacific. Tread carefully!

Some of the beach trails are closed March through June during the seal pup rearing season. Cape Arago State Park is located 15 miles southwest of Coos Bay and just over five miles from the port town of Charleston.

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