Highlights: Cape Blanco, Port Orford Head, town of Port Orford
Campground: Port Orford RV Village; Full hook ups; CATV; well kept; good laundry room; we liked this place and it's proximity to the coast. Not a lot of room between sites, but here here for exploring, not for sitting at the campground.
200 foot cliffs on the westernmost point of the Oregon coast, Cape Blanco's is the last continuously working lighthouse in Oregon. Construction started in 1869. There is a dirt parking area higher and inland of the lighthouse which provides dramatic views.
Looking south - Humbug Mountain and Port Orford Head in the background
The "rugged Oregon coast" north of Cape Blanco
A paved road continues to the lighthouse where you can stroll around or take a simple tour. No crowds when we were there.
A side trip on Cape Blanco Road is the Hughes Historic House. We did not feel like an inside tour so we skipped it, but did drive into the property as far as the Sixes River where we got out for a leg stretch and said hello to a couple cows. The Hughes House is a Queen Anne-style house built in 1898 by Patrick Hughes.
All the land around here was part of the Hughes' ranch.
A surprise was seeing a herd of Elk in a field on Cape Blanco Road.
Even though we were quite far away, they took notice, so I took a couple more quick shots and left them alone.
This tiny town has a few worthwhile restaurants and shops worth a rainy day visit. The town website seems to have some good info for the area including Cape Blanco:https://www.enjoyportorford.com/capeblancolighthouse.html
With a name like The Crazy Norwegian and high praise from our guide book, we had to stop for lunch and try their “famous” fish and chips. This is a simple and small mom and pop place that serves up good fare to locals and us tourists.
A little classier restaurant is Redfish Loft. It sits overlooking the beaches and headlands south of town. It shares a parking lot with the Hawthorne Gallery and Battle Rock Wayside Park.
The view from the deck at Redfish Loft; Humbug Mountain pushes into the Pacific; Battle Rock on shoreline at left
The Hawthorne Gallery is a shockingly modern and nice art gallery in this quaint town.
I really liked that vase to the left
At the Battle Rock Wayside Park there is a small parking lot, an overlook, and a curving ramp walking trail to the beach. There is a visitor center with friendly town folk to help you out. A historic battle took place at Battle Rock where the Qua-to-mah Native Americans fought Capt. William Tichenor's men in 1851. We had a great walk along the beach with views of the coast and the sea cave at Battle Rock.
The beach at Battle Rock Park
From the Redfish Loft, the Visitor Center or walking along the beach, you have great views of Humbug Mountain. It is one of the largest mountains rising out of the ocean on the coast at 1,765 ft. There is a state park and campground. The mountain was created when the Klamath and North American continents collided 130 million years ago. Also seen from these vantage points are the Redfish Rocks sticking out of the ocean.
Humbug Mountain and the Redfish Rocks off shore.
This informational sign explains the creation of the coastline well.
Driving behind the Crazy Norwegian and Redfish on Dock Road takes you down to the coastline and the commercial dock. Dock, singular. Fishing boats saddle up next to the dock and are lifted out of the water by crane. The paved dock is a mix of boats and cars.
In the center of all this is Griff's on the Docks a realworking class lunch spot. We had the best crab melts there. We liked them so much that we tried them at other places later in our trip, but their's was the best. Simple fare but good. It's just on the right edge of the photo above.
Port Orford Head
The headlands contain two separate parks. Tsariadun State Recreation site will get you access to Agate Beach north of the headland. Port Orford Highway (“highway” is wishful thinking), will get you to Port Orford Head State Park, and the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum.
The US Coast Guard ran a lifeboat station here (and in these ruggedseas), for 36 years. “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.” Surfman’s motto. The history is interesting and there are lifeboat examples. For more info:
There is an awesome loop hiking trail leading from the Lifeboat Museum parking lot. Because you get closer to the sea, the views could be considered better than cape Blanco.
From the trail looking north to Cape Blanco
Agate Beach in foreground
Sea Lions on the rocks
The western edge of the headlands
Lots of color to be seen:
Humbug Mountain and Redfish Rocks again
Nellies Cove and the remains of the Lifeboat Launch area. The lifeboat station is far above and inland making a tough trek for the Coastguard.
Just a South of Port Orford is Gold Beach. There is a town called Gold Beach further south.
Gold Beach looking north
Because we had been seeing nothing but beautiful coastline for weeks, I wanted to take a trip inland and decided to drive up the north side of the Rogue River, cross over one of the rare bridges and come back on the south side.“Known for its salmon runs,whitewater rafting, and rugged scenery, it was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_River_(Oregon)
We found an access point where we could drive on the cobble stone beach, walk about and watch the fishermen and the few boats that went by. There is a very popular river tour company called Jerry's Rogue Jets. I was really tempted, but it was a cloudy and a little too blistery. Also the trip ran about three hours without a bathroom break. Not a good idea for me.
The white speck on the gravel bar in the far distance is a teepee. Just have to take my work for it.
Jerry's boats also carry the mail to the town upriver. The tourists are bundled up!
On the road again...