Whale Cove View Point Pacific Ocean Beach Area Depoe Bay

•Whale Cove is a scenic marine reserve near Depoe Bay
• The cove might have been the original Drake landing in 1579

PhotographingHiking OregonWildlife Viewing

Whale Cove is a scenic marine reserve 1.5 miles south of Depoe Bay. The 14 acres of land around the cove is the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

The cove is just 1/3 of a mile (0.5 km) in diameter and is nestled along Oregon's rugged and enchanting coastline between two minor headlands.

At low tide, the northern edge of the shore becomes a small, intimate beach, but you can only make it there on a kayak. Otherwise, the shore is inaccessible due to the rocky cliffs and private land.

Besides smaller watercraft, the bay is not navigatable and can be dangerous with hidden underwater rocks, water level changes, and waves.

However, you can still enjoy the cove's breathtaking panorama through Whale Cove Vista Point. The viewing platform is a short hike from the parking lot.

Wildlife Viewing

The wildlife refuge is home to dozens of species. Here, you can see Bald Eagles, Western Gulls, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants, and many songbirds. The cove is also a resting and pupping spot for over 100 harbor seals.

Whale Cove - Francis Drake's Landing?

In 1978, British historian Bob Ward suggested that Francis Drake's 1579 summer landing during his global circumnavigation was at Whale Cove rather than the widely recognized Drakes Bay in Marin County, California.

This theory is based on similarities between Whale Cove and a 16th-century map by Jodocus Hondius. Ward speculates that Drake and Queen Elizabeth I aimed to deceive the Spanish, thereby protecting the strategic location of what Drake believed might be the Northwest Passage.

A key feature supporting Ward's claim is a peninsula at Whale Cove, which becomes mostly an island at high tide, mirroring details on the Hondius map.

Whale Cove View Point Trail Pacific Ocean Beach Area Depoe Bay
Viewpoint Trail

Whale Cove Camping, Lodging & Vacation Rentals

There is no camping at Whale Cove. You can either stay at the Whale Cove Inn or pick one of the hotels or vacation rentals in Depoe Bay, 1.5 miles north.

Lodging in Depoe Bay

Whale Cove | Facts

Open: Year-round
Managed by: Oregon State Parks

Amenities: Viewing Platform
Activities: Hiking, scenic viewpoints

Day-use fees: No
Dogs: Allowed

Whale Cove is located:

  • 1.5 miles south of Depoe Bay
  • 72 miles southwest of Salem
  • 102 miles southwest of Portland.

Adventures Nearby

Directions to Whale Cove

From Depoe Bay,

  • Take US-101 South for 1.8 miles
  • Turn right onto Rocky Creek State Park.

Take a short hike to the viewpoint.

Address: 2345 US-101, Depoe Bay, OR 97341

You May Also Like

Attention, Fellow Beachgoers!

Unfortunately, our beautiful Pacific Northwest beaches are stained with trash, especially plastic. We at Oregon Discovery, as well as other unaffiliated groups of nature lovers, made a commitment to do our part in keeping our beaches clean, but we need your help too! Whenever you go out to enjoy nature at your favorite spot, please bring a trash bag or two and help us pick up garbage. Even picking up a little bit here and there will make a huge long-term difference. Please help us save our beautiful nature for generations to come!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.