Seaside Stories

How to Get Epic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Views

September 2, 2017 | by By Shellie Bailey-Shah

Views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse are well within your reach thanks to the adventure of the Tillamook Head Trail just south of Seaside.

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition crossed Tillamook Head to buy the blubber of a stranded whale from Native Americans at Cannon Beach. At the viewpoint, Captain William Clark famously marveled, “I behold the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.”

Today, you can hike the same trail as Clark — the Tillamook Head Trail —and look in awe at the same view. You’ll also get to see the infamous Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, perched on an inhospitable rock often swept over by crashing waves. Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly,” the lighthouse had a reputation for ill-tempered lighthouse keepers whose cramped quarters and isolation sometimes got the better of them.

THE QUEST BEGINS

Your quest to see Tillamook Rock begins on the south side of Seaside at the end of Sunset Boulevard. Here you’ll find a free parking lot and the Tillamook Head trailhead in Elmer Feldenheimer Forest Preserve. If you were to look at a trail map, you might assume that you’d be treated to ocean views along the entire trail. Instead you’ll find that much of the trail runs under towering Sitka spruce, Western hemlock and Western red cedar with a bed of deer ferns, skunk cabbage and goose-neck moss. To see Terribly Tilly, you’ll need to do a little work.

The most strenuous part of the climb is at the very beginning with a series of switchbacks that yield an elevation gain of 900 feet. You’ll reach the highest point after about 1.7 miles. The trail levels out and then meanders along the 1,130-foot-tall headland. Just after the 4-mile mark, you’ll pass three, open-sided camping shelters in addition to a six-room, concrete bunker that housed radar equipment during World War II. A short spur trail leads to the cliffside viewpoint where you’ll spot Tilly a little over a mile offshore, lonely and forgotten. The view, however, will be one to remember.

THE JOURNEY BACK

Retrace your steps to the parking lot, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can continue 1.6 miles to Indian Beach picnic area or beyond that, another 1.5 miles to Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach.

If you make the full trek to Cannon Beach, you can call one of two cab companies in Seaside for a lift back. At the time of writing, Aalpha Shuttle (503-440-7777) charges $22 for a ride from Ecola Point and $27 from Indian Beach; Royal (503-325-5818) does not have a flat rate from either of those two locations, but you can expect to pay between $30-$40.

Click here for more great hikes in and around Seaside.

Photo by Greg Vaughn

and so much more!

MotorTrend Magazine – Epic Drives: Classic Cobra Visits Seaside

MotorTrend Magazine makes the trek to Seaside, Oregon to show off a Classic Cobra

Learn More
The Seaside Estuary makes an ideal spot to go bird watching along the Oregon Coast.
Where to Go Birding in Seaside

Seaside may be a small town, but it’s a big destination for birds, and as a result, birdwatchers hitting nearby spots on the Ore...

Learn More
Riders of the Storm

Winter weather on the Oregon Coast is the flipside to flipside to golden summers, but it can be just as beautiful.

Learn More
Beach Books is an independent book store in Seaside, Oregon.
Where to Shop for Souvenirs in Seaside

Hunting for bargains? Searching for Seaside souvenirs? Seeking one-of-a-kind gifts? You’ve come to the right place. To your deli...

Learn More
Ice Cream for Dinner

More than a dozen frozen treat shops, the thought of brain freeze is likely.

Learn More
Broadway Retro

A look at downtown Seaside during the 1960s

Learn More
Seaside Promenade

I walked along the Prom last weekend on a beautifully bright and sunny day and found myself surrounded by walkers, runners, people on all sorts of wheels, strollers, couples holding hands, and dogs of all sizes leading their people around. I also heard all sorts of accents and languages-and saw plenty of cameras.

Learn More
The Big Storm

The Oregon Climate Service calls it the Great Coastal Gale of 2007, but here in Seaside we just call it The Big Storm.

Learn More
New Seaside App a perfect tool for visitors and locals

An overview of Seaside's new mobile application

Learn More
How to Treasure the Beach

No one owns the Oregon Coast — it belongs to everyone. Thanks to 1967’s landmark Beach Bill, Oregon has some of the most prote...

Learn More
Hot Spots

Just like the windswept Oregon coastline itself, Seaside is ever-changing. While embracing traditional attractions like the Promen...

Learn More
My First Trip to Seaside

Recalling a memorable first trip to Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: Best Eats on Oregon’s North Coast

Article on Best Eats on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Digging for the Bounty!

Razor clamming on Oregon

Learn More
“Gee, the Water’s Fine”

A trip to the beach is not only fun, it's good for your health!

Learn More
Bell Buoy of Seaside offers fresh seafood and features ready-to-eat items in an adjacent restaurant.
Can’t-Miss Dungeness Crab Eats

It’s a short journey from ocean to plate in Seaside, especially when it comes to Oregon’s official crustacean: the delectable ...

Learn More
Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

Learn More
Hot Summer Car Shows help usher in the summer season in Seaside.
Hot Summer Car Shows

Two Seaside car shows help usher in and wind down the summer travel season

Learn More