Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Cape Blanco Lighthouse, July 2014

Nestled along the southern Oregon Coast is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Although it is a relatively unassuming structure, this lighthouse holds a number of interesting records. The first record the lighthouse has is that it is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation in Oregon as it was constructed in 1870, and has operated through the present day. The second record the lighthouse holds is that it is the westernmost lighthouse in all of Oregon - and the contiguous United States. The third record the lighthouse holds is that its tower is the highest focal plane of a lighthouse in the contiguous United States, as it is 256 feet above the sea. Finally, even though it is not a record, the lighthouse also has something that most modern - and historic lighthouses do not - a second order working Fresnel lens. The lens was hand crafted in Europe out of crystal in the nineteenth century, and is a relic from a bygone time. If these weren't enough reasons to visit Cape Blanco, the facility sits on a stunning promontory above the Pacific Ocean that has great views of the Southern Oregon coast, along with some great hiking trails that explore the region. 

Directions/Information: Cape Blanco State Park is located 9.5 miles North of Port Orford, Oregon, and can be accessed directly from Highway 101. The State Park is well signed on both sides of Highway 101; and the access road to the park is the aptly named Cape Blanco Road. Tours of the lighthouse are conducted from April to October 31st, Wednesday through Monday, 10 am - 3:30 p.m. The tour allows access into the lighthouse, and into the tower, where the second order Fresnel lens is located. The tours are lead by knowledgeable volunteer docents, and for adults (16+), there is a nominal charge of $2.00 for the tour. It is worth noting that that weather on the Southern Oregon Coast is unpredictable, and the lighthouse - and the promontory it sits upon regularly is buffeted by strong, cold winds off the ocean, so visitors should plan their attire accordingly, even when visiting during the summer months. More information about the historic nature of the lighthouse can be found here