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A hike on Cape Lookout leads to one of the Oregon Coast’s best spots to spot migrating grey whales.
Zach Urness/ Statesman Journal

The annual tradition of spotting gray whales heading north along the Oregon Coast is about to begin.

Each year beginning in late March, the first surge of whales begin migrating north toward feeding grounds in Alaska.

The mass migration along the coast creates the potential for one of nature’s most dramatic views.

The migrations coincides with Whale Watch Week on the Oregon Coast. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on March 25 to 31, trained volunteers will help visitors spot the 36-ton mammal at 24 locations.

(See bottom of story for a list of best locations, by the numbers).

While much of the success in whale watching is patience — the willingness to keep your binoculars focused on the ocean — there are a few places and tips that can help improve odds.

In spring, whales are swimming a bit closer from shore than during December migrations. That makes mean people have the chance to see them a bit closer up. While high locations are still the best in terms of finding success, some lower locations, such as Cape Lookout, can provide more up close views.

​The second major factor in spotting whales is weather. A clear and sunny morning with low winds is best.

“The number of whales that people see really spikes on clear days,” said Luke Parsons, park ranger at the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center. “But in the end, it’s just about having binoculars and staying with it. Patience is often rewarded.”

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Zach’s favorite locations

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