Recent muggy weather has put a damper on some of the area’s more pleasing vistas, but one hiking area that proves to be a breathtaking view whether its clear skies or thick fog is the Cape Ferrelo viewpoint.
The second stop past Southwestern Community College into the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, Cape Ferrelo is an elevated viewpoint with a trail leading down to the cove of Lone Ranch Beach. It’s also a stop on the Oregon Coast Trail, which can be followed north to House Rock from the viewpoint.
The open, windswept area provides an expansive panoramic view when the weather is clear, but is still a fun visit during foggy days. The temperature stays low and the visitors can occasionally watch the fog drift and swirl in the wind as it begins to burn off later in the day.
Heading south, the coastal trail will take hikers through some densely vegetated and forested paths before opening up into rolling hills and grassy cliff sides. The main trail divides into several smaller paths along the way, with one leading to a secluded vista with a bench, while another leads up to the Coast Guard marker, looking down towards the water.
Most of the trail presents a stunning view of Lone Ranch Beach, which can be reached after about a mile of walking down the path. The side paths aren’t as well kept as the main trail down to Loan Ranch, so hikers should pay attention to their footing and decide when it’s time to double back.
While starting the trail at Cape Ferrelo provides a pleasant decline, the return trip from Lone Ranch can be quite a workout. Luckily, there are plenty of small spots along the way to rest, often with great views of the area.
Heading north from the viewpoint towards House Rock, the trail along the cliffside is a lot rougher and longer than the one to Lone Ranch. Hikers should be prepared for a winding, forested trail with many steep inclines and declines. While less panoramic than the trail to Lone Ranch, the northern trail still houses several great vistas and picturesque wooded areas.
Cape Ferrelo is home to mostly small wildlife, with encounters with sunbathing lizards and snakes common on the trails. During the fall and spring whale seasons, Cape Ferrelo is known as one of the best spots in the area to watch the annual migration due to its high elevation.
Visitors should keep an eye out for blackberries and other hazardous plant life along the trail, especially on the less kept side paths. Much of the path runs along rather steep cliff and hillsides and gets very rough at points, so hikers should exercise caution and keep an eye on their footing to prevent any potentially dangerous falls.
To learn more about Cape Ferrelo and the rest of the scenic corridor, you can visit oregonstateparks.org.