Heceta Head Lighthouse signals to seafarers from atop a magnificent forested promontory just 14 miles south of Yachats. This working lighthouse, circa 1894, sits 205 ft above the ocean, and its beacon shines 21 miles out to sea, the strongest light on the coast. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. The historic assistant light keeper’s house is a bed and breakfast. The elevation at Heceta Head reaches 1,000 ft. and is a nesting area for seabirds.
Free docent led programs and tours are offered at Heceta Head Lightstation year round, weather and staffing dependent.
LIGHTHOUSE INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS: 11am-3pm daily
$5/vehicle/day use fee or valid OSP parking pass or Oregon Coast Passport
Visit the web site for lighthouse history and additional information.
24 miles N of Yachats
This Queen-Anne Victorian building holds a long and colorful history – from home, to boarding house, to funeral parlor, to museum.
Hours: 11am to 4pm, Thursday thru Sunday
Admission: $5 for adults, kids under 12 get in free.
Please check the web site below for additional information.
25 miles N of Yachats
Housed in an impressive former home on Newport’s historic bayfront, the museum’s exhibits and programming are dedicated to telling the stories of those who share a desire to live and work where sea meets land, and along its rivers and estuaries.
Hours: 11am-4pm Thursday through Sunday.
Admission: $5 for adults, kids 12 and under get in free.
The Little Log Church Museum at the corner of W 3rd and Pontiac streets houses historic photographs of the area, settler exhibits, and works by former resident artists and authors. It is staffed by volunteers and is open to visitors daily from Noon to 3 p.m. – closed Thursdays.
The church was built in the late 1920s by community volunteers using local timber hauled down the Yachats River. It was completed and dedicated in 1930. When the congregation outgrew this site, the church and property was sold to the Oregon Historical Society in 1969 and became a museum the following year. It was deeded to the city of Yachats in 1986.
From town, take a 9-mile scenic drive up the Yachats River Road to visit the historic North Fork of the Yachats River Covered Bridge. Seven miles up Yachats River Rd., you will cross a small cement bridge – turn left here onto the N Fork Yachats River Rd – a well-maintained gravel road – for the final two miles. (Street cars are fine, but the road will not accommodate RVs). Park in the small turn-out before the bridge and walk across. The N Fork Yachats Covered Bridge was built in 1938 with a Queenpost truss, one of the few of this type remaining in Oregon. It was faithfully restored in 1989, and in 2014. Look up the hillside above the bridge for a view of a giant old-growth Spruce tree that is 350 years old. If you make this trip in the early morning or evening, watch for elk grazing in pastureland shared by goats, sheep, horses and belted black cattle, affectionately referred to by local children as the oreo cows.
From the Visitor Center at Cape Perpetua you may hike The Giant Spruce Trail (2 miles round trip). The majestic old Sitka Spruce at the end of this trail is nearly 600 years old, more than 180 feet tall, and has a 40 foot circumference. It has been designated an Oregon Heritage Tree, and it has a truly amazing story of survival. See the article linked below.
26 miles S of Yachats (about a 40 minute drive)
Historic displays feature the pioneers whose occupations were primarily as loggers and fishermen, and whose primary means of transportation was the Siuslaw River.
If you are a group of 10 or more, please call to make reservations. Please check the web site linked below for additional information, current hours, and admission fees.
A History Walking Tour is also available.
The historic Yachats 804 Trail probably first served as a footpath for tribal people. It later became part of County Road 804, which included the 7-mile stretch of beach between Yachats and Waldport at low tide. County Road 804 served as the settler’s route of travel between the farmland of the upper Yachats River valley and Waldport’s Alsea Bay until the 1930s and the completion of Hwy 101. The highway replaced the oceanside portion of County Road 804.
The 804 Trail North begins from the parking lot of Smelt Sands Recreation Site and winds north 3/4 mile where it connects to the 7-mile stretch of sandy beach. During the 1970s a long legal battle ensued to have this section of trail vacated. Oregon’s high court finally ended the argument with its ruling in the mid-1980s that the 804 Trail N must be continued. This 3/4 mile section of trail subsequently became part of Oregon State Parks.
Successful mediation with local home owners in the late 1990s allowed for the completion of the 804 Trail South. The 804 Trail South is about a mile in length, stretching from the south edge of Smelt Sands Recreation Site, across the lawn behind the Adobe Resort, through oceanside neighborhoods to Yachats State Recreation Area (at the west end of 2nd St) and to downtown Yachats on the north side of the Yachats River.
A Short History of the Early Inhabitants of the Yachats Area, by Michael K. Shay
The Yachats Indians, Origins of the Yachats Name, and the Prison Camp Years, by Joanne Kittel and Suzanne Curtis (1996, Revised 2010)
The Forest Service at Cape Perpetua operates a Visitors Center with natural and cultural history exhibits. Learn about the ancient Indian shell middens found on Cape Perpetua and the surrounding area, Civilian Conservation Corps history, and more.
Turn east off Hwy 101 to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center (just south of the Campground/Overlook).
Turn east off Hwy 101 two miles south of town at the Cape Perpetua Campground exit; then follow the fork to the left up Overlook Road to the top of the mountain. This is the highest point that you can drive to on the Oregon coast. The Whispering Spruce Trail, a quarter-mile long, leaves the parking lot to the West Shelter viewpoint.
Built in the 1930s by stone masons of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the West Shelter viewpoint was used as a look out point during World War II. Today it provides an unsurpassed panoramic ocean view and an ideal location for whale watching. This trail is wheelchair accessible with some assistance recommended.
Please see the web site linked below for a map and directions.
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It is also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing.
The lighthouse has an interesting history – it was built in 1871, decommissioned in 1874, and officially restored as a privately maintained aid to navigation on December 7, 1996. It is is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Memorial Day – Sept: 11:00am – 4:00pm
October – Memorial Day: 12:00 Noon – 4:00pm
Note: November through February the lighthouse is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Entrance is free by donation.
3.5 miles N of Newport
The 100-acre site includes the lighthouse, an interpretive center, wildlife viewing – including whales, seals, tidepools, and seabirds – as well as short trails and incredible views.
This is Oregon’s tallest lighthouse at 93 feet. It was first lit on August 20, 1873 and has been guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast ever since. The lighthouse is located on a narrow point at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Please see the link below for information about guided tours of the lighthouse.
Yaquina Head Interpretive Center & Interpretive Store Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Park Hours: 8:oo am – Sunset