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Heceta Head Lighthouse – Trails, Views, and Tidepools

Heceta Head LighthouseFor our family’s vacation, the Heceta Head Lighthouse, has always been a great fun place to take the kids.  And I think that you will love it also.

I don't think that you will find another lighthouse on the Oregon Coast with so much to do as the Heceta Head Light. The most photographed light along the Oregon Coast, the Heceta Head Light is simply picture perfect.

As you head north from Florence, and from several pull-outs along highway US101, you will see the lighthouse, rocks, the lightkeepers house, and the ocean, all in perfect symmetry. It is no wonder that this lighthouse has been featured on so many calendars and postcards.

For a family, if you are in the area, make it a point to stop here and enjoy this unique lighthouse and scenic area. What do you want to do?

  • Stretch your legs and walk? There are short and long trails within the 549 acres of the Heceta Head Lighthouse Scenic Area.
  • Take pictures? See for yourself why the light is the most photographed beacon on the coast.
  • How about visiting a haunted lighthouse, seeing rhododendrons in bloom, or playing on a large sandy beach?
  • Do you like exploring? How about exploring natural caves and tide pools! It's all here ...

Bed and Breakfast

Heceta Head Bed and BreakfastThe assistant lightkeepers’ house (Heceta House) is now the Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. (The Head Keeper's house is long gone - it was sold for $10 for lumber salvage in the 1930s.) The bed and breakfast (B&B) has been lovingly restored. You may stay in any of the 5 unique rooms. The B&B welcomes guests year around. For a romantic experience, rent a room in the winter, and watch the storms from one of the best views of the Oregon Coast. (There are also rumors of a friendly ghost in the B&B.) The B&B includes a gourmet breakfast each morning you stay. To make reservations, call Mike and Carol Korgan at 866.547.3696. Make sure you tell Mike and Carol that you heard about the inn from Great Oregon Coast Vacations website!

History of Heceta Head Lighthouse

Historic Heceta Head LighthouseThe beacon of Heceta Head has been operating for over 100 years, and a light still shines helping sailors navigate the Pacific Ocean's treacherous currents. The construction of the lighthouse and lightkeeper's house started in 1892, and the lighthouse first cast its powerful light over the Pacific Ocean in 1894. For many years, conditions were hard for the lightkeepers and their families, until highway US101 was built through the small community of Heceta Head.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse beacon was first powered by kerosene. Daily, the lightkeepers had to haul kerosene up the stairs to fill the lamp. Five concentric wicks generated light, which was magnified by a British made 392-prism Fresnel lens. This kerosene lamp equaled 80,000 candle power, and the light was visible 21 miles from shore.

With the arrival of highway US101 also came electricity. The lighthouse was partially powered with electricity, which ended the need for one lightkeeper. In 1963 the lighthouse was fully converted to electricity and became fully automated, eliminating the need for lightkeepers entirely. And thus ended the era of lightkeepers.

Heceta Head LighthouseToday, the lighthouse, two oil houses, and the assistant lightkeeper's house are the only structures still standing. The assistant lightkeeper's house is now a bed and breakfast inn. Today, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is the feature attraction on a 549 acre park of trails, breathtaking view points, wildlife habitats, tide pools, and a sandy beach.

What Do You Want To Do?

With over 500 acres of shoreline, trails, sandy beaches, and a lighthouse to explore, there is a lot to do with the family.

What do you want to do, stretch your legs and walk? There are short and long trails within the Heceta Head Lighthouse Scenic Area. If the kids have a lot of energy, take them up the stairs in the lighthouse tower....if that doesn't wear them down, then nothing will...

For the hardy and fit, there is even a 3.75 mile trail that connects the Scenic Area to the Carl G. Washburne State Park (where there is camping) to the north.

Like taking pictures? How about a photographing a haunted lighthouse, capturing the lighthouse garden's rhododendron in bloom in the Spring?

Stroll along a large sandy beach, or play tag with the ocean and waves.

Do you like exploring? How about exploring natural caves and tide pools! (Note: As usual on the coast, always be aware of the tides which can come in rather quickly, and of sneaker waves).

Directions

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is located just off of Highway US101 about 12 miles north of Florence. Turn into Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint and park at Devil’s Elbow Beach. Lock up your car! Walk up a 1/2 mile long trail to the lighthouse.  

Camping: No camping. Day use only. Closest camping to the Heceta Head Lighthouse Scenic Area is the Carl G. Washburne State Park about 4 miles on highway US101 to the north. (Washburne State Park has 56 full hookup sites, 7 walk-in tent sites, and 2 yurts you can rent).

Fee: Day-use fee is $3 per vehicle. You can get a day use permit from automated machines at Devil's Elbow Beach. TIP! Bring dollar bills....the machines don't take plastic.

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