James Gibbs, a former keeper of the famous Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, built the Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse. Jim Gibbs was keeper of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in the 1940’s and at that time was a relatively young man. It was a change for him going from a populated area out to a lighthouse on a rock where the only place one could walk was around the perimeter of the lighthouse. Jim says that he thought when he first got out there that it was the worst place in the world that anyone could be and he would think of anyway he could think of to escape from the rock. But the longer he stayed there communing with God and nature the better he got to like it. Then when it came time for him to leave the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse he was very sorry to leave because it was a vital experience in his life, something he really came to enjoy.
Jim’s years on Tillamook Rock made a lasting impression on his life. He has gone on to author more then 20 books on lighthouses and maritime history, among which are Tillamook Light and Pacific Graveyard, Lighthouses of the Pacific (1986) and Oregon's Seacoast Lighthouses (2000) and others, many of which are now out of print.
His home here on the Oregon Coast is a monument to his love of the sea. Ever since he was a kid he has always had an interest in maritime commerce and as far as the lighthouse is concerned Jim has always said when he was out at Tillamook that someday he would like to have his own lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Jim says he guesses it kind of gets in your blood after you’ve been a lighthouse keeper before the days of automation you kind of like that kind of life and you’d like to continue it in your private life. The Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse is located on the north slope of Cape Perpetua. 1
Jim built the Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse in 1976 it was officially given lighthouse designation three years later in 1979 during the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook's day of discovery of the Oregon coast. It stands 110 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Its light flashes white and then red alternately every 10 seconds from a small hallogen globe. The tower is a replica of the 1898 Fiddle Reef Lighthouse, which was a lighthouse on Vancouver Island long ago. Jim Gibbs decided to build this private lighthouse as part of his home, it is named after the Hymn: “He Hideth My Soul in the Cleft of the Rock”.
The Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse is not open to the public, and can only be viewed from Highway 101.
Travel Direction: Cleft of the Rock is located just south of Yachats between milepost 167 and 166 on Oregon’s Highway 101. On the south side of milepost 166 not far from it there is a small turnout where you can stop and park. Walk a very short distance up the highway just past the trees and look down off the northwest side of the highway, and you will see James Gibb's home and lighthouse. Remember this lighthouse is part of his own private home so please respect his privacy, and don’t go any closer than what the highway has to offer.
Check the weather at Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse
Walk up highway 101 past the tree line
The Light sits 110 feet above sea level
Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse was officially given lighthouse designation in 1979
during the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook's day of discovery of the Oregon coast
The signature of the light is white and red alternating every 10 seconds
1 Legendary Lighthouses of California and Pacific Northwest.