Outstanding Oregon: Tillamook Rock Lighthouse guards our coast

Mar 13 2020, 12:34 am

Sitting atop a solitary rock just off the Oregon coast to the west is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, a stunning look at historic construction and coastal safeguarding.

Known locally as Terrible Tilly, the lighthouse on Tillamook Rock was constructed on federal dime in 1881 and ran in service of the coastguard and navy until 1957, when it was deactivated.

Annual Report of the U.S. Light-House Board, 1881

Located over a mile off the coast of Oregon, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is a hard-to-reach landscape superstar. Built out of basalt rock, the concrete structure stands tall even now, over 140 years after it was opened.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / 1947

The nickname Terrible Tilly was given to the lighthouse during its construction due to wild and unpredictable weather, severe health issues of its construction team, and extremely dangerous travel to and from.

Today, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is still standing (in rather a sad condition) and is considered private property.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from OregonStateParks.org and PortlandOregon.govAlways remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife — and please note that irresponsibly-taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal.


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Where is it?

Tillamook Rock, and it’s adorning Lighthouse, are located 1.2 miles off the coast of Oregon, roughly 4 miles north of Cannon Beach (where Haystack Rock is located).

How do you get there?

Well, you can’t “legally” get there. However, the location of Tillamook Rock is just a mile directly west of Bird Point in Ecola State Park.

We strongly encourage you to NOT attempt to get to the lighthouse itself, but Oregon Parks has set up a rather spectacular Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Lookout Point located along the Cannon Beach Trail, Seaside, OR.


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What’s there?

On Tillamook Rock sits a lighthouse dilapidated by years of ocean wear and tear and exposure to the elements. What once was a fully functional lighthouse is now a reminder of a generation long since evolved, and a facility that was once crucial to the coastal management of the Pacific Ocean.


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Wyatt FossettWyatt Fossett

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