This historic lighthouse, at Oregon’s most westerly point, offers sweeping views from a most scenic locale along the rugged coastline.
Of all the light stations in Oregon, Cape Blanco Lighthouse is the farthest south and the farthest west. It is the area’s oldest continually operating light and had the state’s first female light keeper, Mabel E. Bretherton, in 1903. Explore the fascinating past and breathtaking setting of this beloved historical lighthouse.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse began its operations in 1870, providing a reference point for navigators and warding ships away from the nearby reef. Since its construction began in 1869, generations of dedicated keepers have worked hard to ensure the lamp continues to burn and the ships are guided to safety.
As you mount the winding stairway to the top of the lighthouse, muse on the dedicated labor of the keepers. The lighthouse holds the record for longest service by a light keeper at one location. James Langlois served for 42 years after starting in 1875 as an assistant. Admire the historic Fresnel lens that still serves its purpose today.
Look out the windows to appreciate the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Southern Oregon coast. The chalky white cliffs of this area led Spanish explorers to name the area Cape Blanco or “White Cape” in Spanish. The cape is connected to the mainland via a narrow isthmus, which is prone to landslides into the ocean. Potentially in the future Cape Blanco could become totally separate and live on as a “sea stack.”
Today the Bureau of Land Management maintains the light, and the grounds are included in Cape Blanco State Park. While you are in the area, enjoy the activities available in the park, from flying kites, hiking, riding horseback to simply walking along the beach. Gaze at the horizon and you might see a whale during spring migration season.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the town of Port Orford, in southern Oregon. Tours of the lighthouse are available from April to October, although it is closed on Tuesdays. There is an entrance fee.