Skip to content

Hiking to Cape Arago

This afternoon we headed back up to Sunset Bay State Park so we could hike the trails out to Simpson Reef and the overlook where you see (and hear) hundreds of sea lions and seals. The hike was about four miles out and four miles back, and it was stunning. We did some cool stuff on the way to our trailhead, but I'm going to show you the pretty pictures of our hike before I tell you about that stuff.

The trail winds around the cliffs, down to some beaches, then back up to the cliffs. It's a good hike. Not hard (unless you book it so you can do the whole 8 or so miles before it gets dark, since you started after 3pm), and the trail is really a nice trail (unless you take those couple of spurs that go through super thick brush and you end up wondering "is this even a trail?" several times but then you come out at a clearing and hook back up with the "real" trail). Oh yeah. Pictures.


That's the Cape Arago lighthouse you can see, tiny in the distance (above).



Trail along the bluffs:



Check out these amazing rock formations:






On our way back we decided to go through the Shore Acres State Park, which is a large beautiful botanical garden. (Free.)



More macro fun with plants along the trail:


This is the flower in the middle of the huge plants from dinosaur movies:


Okay, so: great hike, highly recommended.  I didn't take any photos of the seals or sea lions because they were too far away to get anything decent with my 35mm lens, but last time we were here I took some killer shots with my longer lens and you can see them here if you want to.

Before we headed north for our hike, we went into town (Bandon) to grab a couple more fish tacos at Tony's Crab Shack and then we thought we'd check out the grand opening of the Face Rock Creamery that was happening today at 1pm. Ribbon cutting, cheese tasting, ice cream making, the works. Apparently cheese making in Bandon is kind of a big deal.


However, when we got there, the place was PACKED. It's like the entire town had come to this event. There was no parking for blocks, and there were hundreds of people with a very long line out the door. We opted not to wait for cheese, but just took a couple of photos so you could see what a big deal this place is. We'll come back and try the cheese next time.



After not tasting cheese, we happened to see these two tall ships out in the Coquille River:



A little quick Googling on my iPhone led me to learn that these two ships are "the brig Lady Washington, the Official Ship of Washington State, and the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain" and that the tall ship Lady Washington is the ship featured in Macklemore's new music video “Can’t Hold Us,” which you can check out here. (We'd already seen it.)

From the Coos Bay local news:

The Hawaiian Chieftain was the first of two historic replica Tall Ships to arrive in Coos Bay following a journey north along the West Coast from Crescent City, CA.  The Lady Washington, which gained some movie fame from the first of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, arrived second.  They are moored at the City of Coos Bay docks downtown and will offer dockside tours as well as mock battle adventures on the bay.  The two ships will be here through May 13th and then depart for Astoria for stops along the Columbia River. 

Anyway, the ships are about to start a tour of the Columbia River ports (May 15 – July 2) and the full port schedule is here. They give tours and even public sailings. Fun!

Also, next time we're here I think we may rent a couple of crab rings from Tony and try our hand at catching our own crab.


 You just take 'em right out back onto this dock here (apparently a good spot for successful crabbing!) and Tony will cook 'em up for you back at the crab shack.


Oh hey! Guess what we're having for dinner tonight! More crab.