Cape Foulweather – Depoe Bay, Oregon - Atlas Obscura

Cape Foulweather

Depoe Bay, Oregon

The first North American landing spot for James Cook on his third voyage of discovery in the Pacific. 


Cape Foulweather sits about 500 feet above the Oregon coast on a basalt cliff overlooking whale-rich kelp beds. It was the first North American landing spot for Captain James Cook on his third voyage in the Pacific. Cook was widely known for his violent, tyrannical approach to the Indigenous people he encountered. 

Captain James Cook stumbled on the site on March 7, 1778. His journal entry from the day reads: “The land appeared to be of moderate height, diversified with hill and Valley and almost everywhere covered with wood. There was nothing remarkable about it except one hill.... At the northern extreme the land formed a point which I called Cape Foulweather from the very bad weather we soon after met with.”

The region was inhabited by Native Americans including the Tillamook people, who traditionally lived in an area that extended from Tillamook Head in northwest Oregon to Cape Foulweather in the south.

Cape Foulweather can be found near the Devil’s Cauldron (the name of the nearby bay) and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The site, which is a popular tourist destination because of the beautiful scenery, consists of an open overlook and a small gift shop near the coast. When the weather turns bad—and it often does—visitors can take cover in the gift shop, which has cliff-side panoramic windows overlooking the water and kelp beds. 

The site is accessed by a winding tangle of roads connected to US 101. A small parking lot serves visitors. About two miles to the south, Beverly Beach State Park offers camping sites, yurts, full hook-ups for campers and trailers, a grocery store, and direct beach access.

Know Before You Go

Located approximately six miles north of Newport, Oregon, along coast route 101. Clearly marked by signs from either direction.

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March 30, 2011

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