Located about ten miles west of Tillamook at the north end of the Three Capes Scenic Loop, Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint offers spectacular exploring opportunities for this beautiful section of the Oregon coast. Of course the star of the show at Cape Meares is the lighthouse. Originally powered by oil, its impressive Fresnel lens was first lit in 1890. The shortest lighthouse on the Northwest coast, it stands just 38 feet high, but its positioning on the cliff places the light 216 feet above sea level. The lighthouse is open to visitors April through October. In addition to the lighthouse, the park offers miles of nature trails to explore featuring scenic viewpoints where visitors can spot native birds like Bald Eagles, puffins, pelicans, cormorants and an occasional cliffside nest of Peregrine Falcons. Like the nearby Three Arch Rocks, Cape Meares hosts a wildlife refuge for creatures of fur and feather, but the park is also a good location for spotting marine life. Migrating whales as well as sea lions, porpoise and dolphins have been seen from the vistas at Cape Meares. Also an attraction here is the famous "Octopus Tree." At some 60 feet across at its base, this colossal long-time resident of the park offers some interesting and deep-rooted lore about its origins and you can read all about it at the interpretive center located inside the gift shop. The park also offers an outdoor picnic area and is wheelchair-friendly in many areas. No day-use fee is charged for park access. For more information, visit the Oregon State Parks website: www.oregonstateparks.org or call (800) 551-6949.