Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint

Park History

Obtained between 1938 and 1968 by lease and purchase from three federal government agencies, the park is surrounded by the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. The cape itself was once an active lighthouse of the U. S. Coast Guard. The cape is named for the 18th century British naval officer, trader and explorer John Meares.
The lighthouse was built in 1889 and commissioned on January 1, 1890. The tower stands 38 feet high and is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. It is constructed of bricks covered with iron plates. The original addition that now houses the interpretive shop was a work room built in 1895.  The current interpretive shop replaced the original work room in 1978.
The lens is a first order Fresnel lens made in Paris, France. It was shipped around Cape Horn, up the west coast to Cape Meares and then hauled 217 feet up the cliff by a wooden crane that was built from local timbers native to the area. It is an eight-sided lens with four primary lenses and four bull's-eye lenses with red panels covering the bull's-eye lenses. It produced about 30 seconds of fixed white light from the primary lens followed by a red flash of five seconds from the bull's-eye lens once every minute. This was the signature of Cape Meares Lighthouse. The primary lens produced 18,000 candlepower and the bull's-eye lens produced 160,000 candlepower. The light could be seen for 21 nautical miles at sea.

Acreage: 240.79

Annual day-use attendance: 621,440


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