On the Whale Trail

Spring is the best time to visit the Oregon coast and see gentle giants on their 12,000-mile journey to Alaska.

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Walking an Oregon trail
Photographer Michael Hanson

Press Your Luck on Land

It might seem less than ideal to search for whales from shore, but Whale Week sites offer perfect vistas. During 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. shifts, volunteers with the Oregon Parks “Whale Watching Spoken Here” program set up shop next to lighthouses, on beaches, and near cliffs. They offer advice for spotting migrating gray whales and teach basic sea-mammal biology. Visitors rarely find empty seas. Last March, more than 13,000 people saw more than 2,000 of the creatures. You’ll want binoculars, and here’s a tip: Raise them slowly or you’ll have a hard time zooming in on what your naked eye suspects is a whale. There’s probably already a group of people scanning the horizon; join them and wait to hear, “I see one!” The excitement is contagious.

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