From Dec. 28 to Jan. 1, Oregon State Parks will host Whale Watch Week in person for the first time since 2019.
More than 15 sites along the Oregon Coast will offer a chance to watch thousands of gray whales migrate south through Oregon’s waters. Trained volunteers will be stationed at most of the sites to answer questions, share information and to help spot whales. A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available on the Oregon State Parks website at bit.ly/3VbQwRQ
“We really enjoy getting folks out to the coast for Whale Watch Week,” said park ranger Peter McBride in a press release from Oregon State Parks. “It’s something that Oregon State Parks has been doing for more than 40 years now, and we’re really glad to be able to bring it back in person.”
The yearly event was canceled during the pandemic.
Over the next several weeks, an estimated 19,000 gray whales are expected to swim through Oregon’s waters during their annual migration south to warm calving lagoons near Baja, Mexico. The end of December is the peak time for their migration with roughly 30 whales passing by per hour.
In Depoe Bay, the Whale Watching Center will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during Whale Watch Week. Visitors can experience interactive whale exhibits and panoramic ocean views. Rangers will also be available to answer questions about the whales. Binoculars will be provided.
Here are some locations to catch a glimpse of the whales if you’re traveling from the Willamette Valley.
Where to watch near Eugene
- Heceta Head Lighthouse
- Cape Perpetua Turnout
- Yachats State Recreation Area
Where to watch near Salem
- Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
- The Whale Watching Center
- Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint
- Cape Foulweather