Sea Lion Caves Oregon Coast - Exploring My Life

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Sea Lion Caves Oregon Coast

Sea Lion Caves America's largest Sea Lion cave

Florence Sea Lion Caves are a connected system of sea caves and caverns open to the Pacific Ocean in the U.S. state of Oregon. They are located 11 miles (18 km) north of Florence on U.S. Highway 101, about midpoint on the 400 miles (640 km) Oregon Coast. In this area Highway 101 follows a steep and undeveloped seascape 300 feet (91 m) above sea level. 
Sea Lion Caves on Oregon Coast
America's Largest Sea Lion Cave Oregon
Florence Sea Lion Caves Oregon
Sea Lion Caves is a privately-owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary (since 1932) centrally located just 11 miles north of Florence on the beautiful and rugged Oregon Coast. It is proud to be part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve helping to protect the local marine animals and marine environment.

Sea Lion Caves is America's largest sea cave and the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, but sea lions are not always in the Cave. Winter months will usually find hundreds of sea lions in the Cave and when spring arrives, breeding and birthing time, the sea lions will move from the Cave to the rookery areas (the rock ledges out in front of the Cave) and will remain there through the summer. 
Heceta Head Lighthouse Oregon
Oregon Sea Lion Caves
Sea Lion Cave US 101 Highway
The cave system is at sea level and the ocean continually washes into the main cavern which has a floor area of about 2 acres (0.81 ha) and a vaulted rock dome about 125 feet (38 m) high. Southward from the main chamber, a low passage runs 1,000 feet (300 m) to a sea level opening. This corridor is flooded at high tide and free of water at low tide. The western entrance is a short, high passage through which the ocean washes at all tide levels. At the north, a third entrance is about 50 feet (15 m) above the ocean which serves as an elevated observation area where the entire cave system and its wildlife are visible.

The sea level portion of this cave and the sea cliff rocks just outside the cave have become, over the centuries, the only known mainland rookery and hauling area (wintering home) of the Steller's sea lion and—to a lesser extent—the California sea lion.  
Sea Lion Caves Oregon Coast
Steller Sea Lion Caves Florence
US 101 Highway Attractions
Heceta Head Lighthouse Florence
Sea Lion Caves Oregon

The high vault is a natural resting place for sea birds. Many birds make their home at or near the Sea Lion Caves such as the pigeon guillemot, Brandt's cormorant, western, herring, and California gulls, tufted puffins, and the occasional hawk or bald eagle.

The whale watching deck, located below the gift shop, permits a seaward view of approximately 20 miles (32 km). The deck is at an elevation of 300 feet (91 m), making it a popular whale watching post. Typically, orcas are seen migrating once a year past the Sea Lion Caves, whereas the grey whale is seen anywhere from a few months to all year long.

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