The link below lists some of the premier accessible access points in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just south of Yachats and in the greater Siuslaw National Forest.
Most of the oceanfront 804 Trail in Yachats is also accessible. The northern end of the 804 Trail that begins at the Smelt Sands State Wayside and continues north for three quarters of a mile is designed for wheelchair use. The Yachats 804 Trail is part of the Oregon Coast Trail system.
Would you like some great tips from our local Agate Club? Stop by the Yachats Visitors Center and pick up the club’s Beachcombing in Lincoln County brochure (also linked below).
Note: Low tide after a big storm in winter is the best time to search for agates. Be prepared for changeable weather (bring rain gear!) and know beach safety.
Bring your own fat bikes or rent. Limited rentals may be found at Bike Newport, Newport, OR | 541.265.9917.
Bring your own fat bikes or rent. Limited rentals may be found at Bike Newport, Newport, OR | 541.265.9917.
For routes in the Yachats area, select “South County” in the Lincoln County maps linked below.
Bring your own bikes or rent. Limited rentals may be found at the following businesses:
Green Bike Co-op, Waldport, OR | 541.563.7328
Bike Newport, Newport, OR | 541.265.9917
Bicycles 101 (A.K.A. Bikes 101), Florence, OR | 541.997.5717
The 6.25 miles Cummins Creek Loop Trail is shared by hikers and mountain bikers.
You can park at the Cummins Creek Trailhead across from Neptune State Park on Forest Service Road 1050, which is 1.5 miles south of Cape Perpetua Visitors Center on Hwy 101. Ride up the trail 3.75 miles, then turn and come back down a very challenging section of trail that links back to the original trail.
For a longer route, the Cummins Vista Mountain Bike Loop offers 10 miles of scenic touring with terrain to match all skills levels. The rider will be treated to commanding views of the Cummins Creek Wilderness and the Pacific Ocean.
For the ten-mile ride, start at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and ride 4 miles uphill on Forest Service Road 55. (For a spectacular view of the coastline, take a left on Road 5553 and go to the Cape overlook. It’s only an extra mile.) At the Cummins Creek trailhead you will start a 4.5 mile descent on an old graveled trail and road which ends on FS Road 1050 at the Hwy across from Neptune State Park. Signs mark the more difficult sections of the trail.
Riders may want to leave a second vehicle at this end. Otherwise, the last 1.3 miles back to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center is on Hwy 101. Riders use Extreme caution – road shoulders are narrow and traffic volumes can be heavy.
-Extend common courtesy at all times. Realize that people judge all cyclists by your actions.
-Control your speed at all times and approach turns in anticipation that someone will be around the bend.
-Yield right of way to other trail users.
-Stay on designated road and trails and avoid trampling vegetation and creating wheel ruts that can channel water and cause erosion.
-Observe signs prohibiting bicycle use. Bicycles are not allowed in the Wilderness area.
-Your cooperation and adherence to these guidelines will help develop a positive attitude toward all cyclists.
The prime birding sites within Yachats include Smelt Sands State Recreation Site at the north end of town; Yachats State Recreation Area at the west end of 2nd St downtown; and Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site at the south side of the Yachats River.
Within a 20-minute drive, there are several sites to the north between Yachats and Brian Booth State Park / Ona Beach / Beaver Creek, and to the south between Yachats and Sea Lion Caves. You’ll find these all listed in the birding guide linked below.
All invited! No experience necessary. Training is provided, as needed, for some projects.
The Yachats shoreline is part of the North Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve with MPAs is the largest marine reserve network in Oregon.
Visitors here have opportunities for scenic and wildlife viewing, hiking, and guided outdoor, stewardship, and citizen science activities. A speakers series is offered in winter.
The region includes 18.8 square miles along the shore, 14.1 square miles of ocean habitat, and a reef complex that hosts diverse species of rockfish, including copper, vermillion, and quillback. It is adjacent to some of the most protected and outstanding old growth coastal rainforest, and is home to the Central Coast Marbled Murrelet Important Bird Area, as well as 15 seabird nesting colonies, including the Pacific’s largest mainland breeding colony of Brandt’s cormorants at Heceta Head. (Heceta Head is 14 miles south of Yachats.)
See ‘Day Use State Parks in Town’ listed below on this page for MPA points of access within Yachats. The Cape Perpetua Visitors Center is 3 miles south of downtown Yachats on US 101.
3 miles south of downtown Yachats
The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center includes a panoramic ocean view, a deck with viewing scopes, natural and cultural history exhibits, a theater with nature films, and a gift shop. Summer Ranger Forest to Sea Programs, Marine Reserve Education and Activities, and Guided Walks are scheduled here, as is a Saturday Speakers Series in winter and other seasonal programs, such as Spring and Winter Whale Watch.
The U.S. Forest Service maintains the Cape’s 26 miles of interconnected hiking trails through coastal mature and old growth rainforest, to breathtaking vistas, tidepools, and the beach. Trails range in length from a fraction of a mile to 10 miles, and from easy to difficult. The scenic area’s viewpoints and trails are open to the public year round. Some of the trails are wheelchair accessible, and one 6-mile loop trail is open for mountain biking.
Fees: $5/vehicle/day use fee or valid recreation pass or Oregon Coast Passport
Restrictions: Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
Located about 20 miles south of Yachats just east of Hwy 101 at milepost 185.2 (on Mercer Lake Rd).
Darlingtonia State Natural Site is an 18-acre botanical park with a picnic area and a boardwalk trail. From the parking lot, the boardwalk trail leads into a fen that is home to Darlingtonia californica (also known as the cobra lily). This is a rare strangely-shaped plant, the only member of the pitcher plant family (Sarraceniaceae) in Oregon, and the only carnivorous flora in the system.
This is also the only state park in Oregon dedicated to the protection of a single plant species.
Free Admission – no parking fee.
There are three (yes 3!) oceanfront day use state parks in Yachats, and no day use fees.
(Beach) ♦ YACHATS OCEAN ROAD STATE NATURAL SITE is located just south of downtown at the mouth of the Yachats River. Turn west off Hwy. 101 onto Yachats Ocean Road at the south end of the Yachats River Bridge. There are parking spaces and picnic tables along this rim road, and a wooden staircase down to the beach. At low tide, except in winter, you’ll find a wonderful sandy beach here, and often small tidepools. This is a great place to build a sandcastle, picnic, and with a little breeze – fly a kite. You may see heron fishing in the shallow section of the river, wild ducks floating under the bridge, an eagle or two, pelicans, and a variety of shore birds.
(Tidepools) ♦ YACHATS STATE RECREATION AREA is located at the west end of 2nd Street in downtown Yachats. This park offers a sometimes serene and sometimes wild view of the Yachats River as it meets the Pacific Ocean with Cape Perpetua as the backdrop. It’s a great place to park and watch waves and to spot gray whales spouting or seals playing in the surf. There is also a nice tidepools viewing platform here (check the tides), as well as a grassy lawn, resting benches, an historic marker, and picnic tables.
(Oceanfront Trail) ♦ SMELT SANDS STATE RECREATION SITE is located at the north end of town. Turn west off Hwy 101 at the Smelt Sands sign onto a lane that leads to the park/parking lot. The park has a small pebble beach near the entrance, and picnic tables and benches along a beautiful 3/4 mile stretch of the 804 Trail (accessible). At low tide, the north end of this trail, except in winter, connects by stairway to a 7-mile stretch of sandy beach that reaches all the way to the Alsea Bay at Waldport. The 804 Trail is above the tide line, so it may be walked any time of day. However, do not venture onto the tabletop basalt rock except at low tide, and then only with caution. Sneaker waves can happen, and they are formidable. Do not turn your back on the ocean. While picnicking, watching beautiful waves, or hiking along the 804 Trail, watch for whale spouts – you may count several! Most of the year we have grey whales here – and many more during the spring and winter migrations.
Waldport, OR 97394
New! (Opened January 2019)
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.
There are 5-plus miles of trails in the Natural Area, including three main trails. The Overlook Trail loops from the Welcome Center and back through mixed conifer forests, and offers a bird’s eye view of the confluence of South Beaver Creek and North Beaver Creek and nearby hillsides. The Beaver Creek Loop Trail skirts the fringes of the upland forests and meadows. Snaggy Point Trail takes you to the highest point in the park, and provides an epic view of the Pacific Ocean and lower reaches of the marsh.
Located just three miles south of downtown Yachats, the 2,600 acre Cape Perpetua Scenic Area includes 26 miles of interconnected trails that range in length from two-tenths of a mile to ten miles and rate from easy to difficult. The system’s twelve trails feature old growth forests, Indian shell middens, Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well, tide pools and stunning views. Visitor Center staff and exhibits will guide you to the cultural and natural history of the area. The Visitors Center is open seven days a week most of the year with reduced hours in winter.
Harris Ranch Trail to Drift Creek is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Waldport, Oregon that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Horse Creek Trail is a 6.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Seal Rock, Oregon that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
The historic 804 Trail that follows the village coastline north to a 7-mile stretch of sandy beach connects two in-town day use state parks and is interconnected with five other Yachats trails:
The Ya’Xaik Trail
The Public Footpath in the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve – 1000 ft. of trail (No Dogs Allowed)
The Prospect Garden and Trail
The Yachats Community Park and Wetland Trail
The Amanda Trail
The 804 Trail and The Amanda Trail are both part of the Oregon Coast Trail system.
The Amanda Trail connects the Yachats coastline to the top of Cape Perpetua.
Trails run both north and south of the lighthouse and range from gentle to challenging.
Explore five easy to moderate trails in Waldport, including woodland, riverfront/Lint Slough, and oceanfront options.
Locations near Yachats for independent kayaking | paddling include the following:
Alsea River Water Trail – Waldport
Beaver Creek – Ona Beach, Seal Rock
Yaquina Bay – Newport | -and- | Yaquina River – Newport/Toledo
Siuslaw River and Siuslaw Estuary Water Trails – Florence
Watercraft rentals are available at paddle shops in Waldport, Newport, Florence, and at Honeyman State Park just south of Florence.
NORTH OF YACHATS:
PORT OF ALSEA / ALSEA RIVER WATER TRAIL – WALDPORT
The Alsea River Water Trail offers 10 river-miles, including the Alsea River, Drift Creek, and Lint Slough. Dockage and moorage is provided by Port of Alsea. Where/Directions: Port of Alsea is 8 miles N of Yachats; 16 mi S of Newport. At Waldport’s only stoplight (at the base of the Waldport Bridge on Hwy 101), turn E onto Hwy 34; continue 1.9 mi to Broadway; turn left on Broadway and proceed to the Port of Alsea docks.
BEAVER CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA / BRIAN BOOTH STATE PARK – ONA BEACH, SEAL ROCK
This is a 3-miles paddle that meanders up the Beaver Creek valley with views of the surrounding Sitka spruce and alder forested hills. Look for beaver, river otter, muskrat and nutria, Roosevelt elk, or black-tailed deer. Where/Directions: Beaver Creek is a 15-20 minute drive (16 miles) north of Yachats, with a launch area at Beaver Creek Rd and Hwy 101, across from Ona Beach.
YAQUINA BAY – NEWPORT | YAQUINA RIVER – NEWPORT/TOLEDO
Newport Bay is a 30-40 minute drive north of Yachats on Hwy 101. Toledo is east of Newport about 10 miles on Hwy 20. For launch sites, visit portofnewport.com and paddling.com.
SOUTH OF YACHATS:
SIUSLAW RIVER & ESTUARY WATER TRAILS – FLORENCE
The Siuslaw River Water Trail offers more than 30 river-miles of paddling opportunities, and there are dozens of coastal lakes and rivers to paddle and explore on the Siuslaw Estuary Water Trail. Florence is a 30-40 minute drive south of Yachats. For launch sites, see www.siuslaw.org/kayaking-canoeing/.
Beaver Creek Welcome Center
On Beaver Creek Road
1.2 miles east of Ona Beach
Seal Rock, OR 97376
Rangers at Brian Booth State Park lead 4-hour guided kayak tours (kayaks and equipment provided) at Beaver Creek State Natural Area between July 1 and Labor Day, with sign-up beginning June 1. Tours are from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. The hours listed include check-in, instruction, 2.5 hours of paddling, and check out. To make a reservation visit the Beaver Creek website, linked below, or call 541-563-6413.
The Beaver Creek Welcome Center is a 15-20 minute drive north of Yachats. Travel 15 miles north on Hwy 101; at Ona Beach and Hwy 101, turn east onto Beaver Creek Rd. and continue east 1.2 miles to the Welcome Center.
BEAVER CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA | BRIAN BOOTH STATE PARK
This is a 3-miles paddle that meanders up the lush Beaver Creek valley with views of the surrounding Sitka spruce and alder forested hills. Look for beaver, river otter, muskrat and nutria, Roosevelt elk, or black-tailed deer.
Newport, OR 97365
Oregon Boating Foundation offers 2-hour guided kayak tours (kayaks and equipment provided) on the Yaquina Bay in Newport from July 25 through September 15. Tours are provided 4 times daily, Tuesday through Sunday. To make a reservation visit PaddleNewport.com, or call. Yaquina Bay is a 30-40 minute drive north of Yachats.
Beginning just 26 miles south of Yachats, the Oregon Dunes, the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, stretch out for 40 miles between Florence and Coos Bay. Check out the website for the recreation area, and “A Local’s Guide to the Oregon Dunes,” linked below, for more information.
15 miles S of Yachats | 12 miles N of Florence
Sea Lion Caves 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 (America’s largest sea cave) is a privately owned (since 1932) wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary, located just 15 miles south of Yachats and 11 miles north of Florence. It is the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, but sea lions are not always in the Cave. This is not a zoo, and sea lions are wild animals, so these protected animals come and go as they please. In winter months, hundreds of sea lions are usually found in the Cave, but 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 remain there through summer. Please check the web site, linked below, for current admission prices and hours.
Plan ahead – check the local tide table and head out at least an hour before low tide.
Please see the tidepools guides linked below, which provide a map of locations for tidepools along the coast; information about tidepool zones and the creatures that live in them; and important tidepool etiquette guidelines.
Gray whales (and occasionally others) are often viewed off the coast of Yachats from the three day-use state parks in town. Other favorite nearby spots to watch for whales include the following:
Cape Perpetua Visitors Center (about 3 miles south of downtown Yachats)
Cook’s Chasm Turnout (about 3.25 miles south of downtown Yachats)
Sea Lion Caves Turnout – large Highway 101 turnout south of tunnel (15 miles south of Yachats)
Gray whales live along our coastline most of the year, but the big gray whale migrations occur from mid-December-through January (heading south) and from late March-through June (heading north).
Oregon Whale Watch weeks are held in winter between Christmas and New Year’s and in Spring during greater Oregon Spring Break. During these times whale watch interpreters are posted nearby at Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and Cook’s Chasm Lookout, just south of town. For more information, please look for Whale Watch Weeks posted in March and December on our Events page.
The Cummins Ridge Trail (approximately 5.8 miles) is the only trail in this wilderness area. It ascends more than 1,000 feet through towering stands of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Douglas-fir. The Cummins Creek Wilderness features the only old-growth Sitka Spruce forest in the Oregon Wilderness system.
Newport, OR 97365
The 100-acre site includes Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, an accessible trail, an interpretive center, wildlife viewing – including whales, seals, tide pools, and seabirds, as well as short trails and incredible views. Tours of the lighthouse are given only as staffing allows and are announced on the morning of the day that the tour is available.
Yaquina Head Interpretive Center & Interpretive Store Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Park Hours: 8:00 am – Sunset