Oregon May 26, 2019
There’s No Other Historical Landmark In Oregon Quite Like This 300-Year-Old Tree
Oregon’s natural wonders are beyond compare. Explore
Crater Lake, gaze in awe at Devil’s Churn, and take a stroll across Alvord Desert, and you’ll surely appreciate the diversity of the Beaver State’s beauty. There’s an incredible tree at Cape Mears that’s simply stunning. Check out the Octopus Tree:
You'll find some of the most spectacular scenery at the Cape Mears State Scenic Viewpoint and National Wildlife Refuge in Tillamook. There's a lot to see here, but start by taking a short walk through the woods above the parking lot.
Address: 3500 Cape Meares Loop, Tillamook, OR, 97141
You'll soon reach the Octopus Tree. It's a Sitka spruce that's thought to be 250 to 300 years old, and it looks like an upside-down octopus with its tentacles reaching more than 100 feet into the air.
In addition to the moniker "Octopus Tree," it's been called many names: Candelabra Tree, Monstrosity Tree, and Council Tree. No one is completely sure how the tree grew in such a strange shape, but there are a few theories.
The tree has a 50-foot base, but no one trunk. Many historians believe that the tree was shaped by Tillamook tribes as a ceremonial tree.
While the tree was very young, its branches were forced downward until they grew horizontally about 16 feet, then the branches were allowed to resume their upward growth. The tree may have been a sacred spot for rituals and ceremonies. This explanation is considered the most likely for the tree's unusual shape.
If this theory is correct, the Octopus Tree would have been a well-known landmark for the people who lived nearby.
As the site for special ceremonies, this tree must have been revered by many.
The other possibility is that the tree grew in this way due to the forces of nature.
Some believe that high winds or other factors influenced the strange growth of the tree. Whether it's shape was influenced by mad or naturally-formed, the tree is fascinating.
Once you've spent some time pondering the origins of the Octopus Tree, head back down toward the parking lot - there's still a lot left to see here.
The park sits high up on the cliffs above the ocean, with amazing views. There's an overlook off to the side of the parking lot that provides some gorgeous views.
Take a stroll down the path along the side of the cliff for several more vantage points.
The cliffs are the site of thousands of common murres, who build their nests here.
During your visit, you might also see bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
There's a large rock just off the coast that's also home to many nesting birds.
Cape Mears has one of the largest populations of nesting sea birds on the continent.
Continue your stroll along the path to reach the Cape Mears Lighthouse.
The Cape Mears Lighthouse was built in 1889 and is the shortest lighthouse in the state, measuring just 38 feet tall.
Scan the horizon for whales, which are often spotted from this vantage point. Visitors can go inside the lighthouse from May to September.
Have you visited Cape Mears? Share your memories and photos with our readers in the comments below!