Adventures on the Southern Oregon Coast: Welcome to Port Orford
Editor’s Note: Adventures on the Southern Oregon Coast is the product of the South Coast Partnership which includes the towns from Brookings to Reedsport and all the wonderful fans in between.
Welcome to beautiful, scenic and historic Port Orford and North Curry County. Port Orford is the oldest town site on the Oregon Coast and most westerly incorporated city in the contiguous United States. Port Orford is a little piece of “Paradise”, loaded with culture, vistas, trails, rivers, creeks, galleries, eateries and history. Every where you turn, you’ll find something unique and one of a kind here in Port Orford. I can assure you that if you stay long enough, you may want to stay forever.
Starting 13 miles to the north, is the little town of Langlois, home to schools, galleries, ranchers, artist, foresters, fishing and the best world class wind surfing on the Oregon Coast. Tucked under Langlois Mountain, Langlois is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting with Flores Creek flowing next to ranchers herding their sheep. Floras Lake, located just south west of Langlois is home to the world class wind surfing. Langlois is truly a delightful stop to any passerby.
The start of America’s Wild River Coast is the town of Sixes, located Five miles north of Port Orford. Sixes River is a hiker’s, camper’s, fishermen’s and explorer’s dream come true. Campgrounds are abundant up and down the river for both tents or RVs. The Historic Hughes House is located at its mouth just shy of five miles down Cape Blanco Rd. Built by Patrick and Jane Hughes, this 1898 home is a step back in time.
Just west of the Hughes House is the Historic Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Built in 1870; the most westerly lighthouse in the contiguous United States, the tallest, oldest and 1st ever operated by a woman still shines today. It’s light beams every 20 seconds and can be seen for nearly 30 miles. Both the Historic Hughes House and the Cape Blanco Lighthouse are true treasures of history. Tours of both are available from April through October, a must for anyone here at the Gateway to America’s Wild River Coast.
The second river at the Gateway to America’s Wild River Coast is the Elk River located 3 miles north of Port Orford. A campers paradise, the Elk Rivers is lined with camping in a state facility or just in your own private spot by the river. It is also known for its Salmon Fishing. The Elk River Fish Hatchery located 8 miles up the river is a national leader in the preservation of the salmon species. Fishermen flock from all over the county to try their luck on the Elk River during the two annual runs.
Port Orford was founded in July of 1851 by Captain William Tichenor and 70 of his men while aboard the steamship Seagull. The oldest town on the Oregon Coast and the gateway to America’s Wild River Coast will be fixed in time by those brave men. Captain Tichenor looked here and had a vision of the possibilities of a community. One of the only natural deep water ports on the west coast brought trade through shipping. An abundance of timber, fisheries and beauty brought work for all who wanted. Today, Port Orford is a cultural treasure. Its diverse galleries, restaurants and one of a kind business’s set in natures paradise offer anyone endless possibilities and opportunities.
The Port Orford Lifeboat Station was built on Coast Guard Hill in 1934. There are hiking trails out to the Port Orford Heads which give you an almost 260 degree view of our coastline. The Historic Museum, and Life Boat Station still sits on top of Coast Guard Hill and is a testament to all the men who served and their incredible courage to save lives and cargo. One of which was the 190 ft steam ship Cottoneva, who on February 10th 1937, ran aground at Battle Rock during 75 mile an hour winds. All 26 seamen and the captain were saved by the Coast Guard. The Historic Museum is open for tours from April until October.
The Port of Port Orford is the only open ocean dock in Oregon. The fishing fleet is hoisted in and out of the water by crane. This procedure is quite a site to see and is available to view year around. As you may imagine, fishing is one of Port Orford’s economic staples. There are quite a variety of fresh fish harvested and shipped all around the world, from Sea Urchins to the Asian buyers to Salmon and Crab to our local buyers. The Port of Port Orford offers chartered fishing as well as fresh fish to the public. A definite “must see” on any travelers list of attractions.
Battle Rock Wayfinding Point at the south end of Port Orford is a vista with breathtaking beauty. Facing almost due south with Humbug Mountain towering in the distance, it is the second most visited wayfinding point on the coast. Battle Rock received its name from the battle that took place between Captain Tichenor and his men against the local Native American tribe. When hiking on the legendary rock, you might come across the graves of some of Tichenors settlers.
Battle Rock Wayfinding Point offers scenic beaches as far as the eye can see. Beach access is not restricted, but we ask that you keep the beach in the clean, pristine condition that the Captain, Native Americans and we have enjoyed for over 150 years. If you desire any information, the volunteers at the Visitors Center located at the Battle Rock Wayfinding Point will be more than happy to assist. There are also many brochures and pictures located inside.
Just south of Port Orford is Humbug Mountain State Park. It has an abundance of
hiking trails and camping. A hike to the top of Humbug Mountain will give you a 360 degree view of the coast and surrounding area as far as the eye can see.
Port Orford is a special place filled with special people. The scenic beauty, clean crisp air, pure untouched landscape, diverse business community and wonderful people make Port Orford an incredible place to live. We hope you enjoy your stay with us here at the Gateway to America’s Wild River Coast, we will see you soon, take your pleasure in Port Orford!
David B. Smith
Port Orford/North Curry County Chamber of Commerce
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