Heceta Head Lighthouse


The morning was foggy when we drove past Yachats, not unusual for the coastlines of Oregon and northern California. We stopped at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint to admire the lighthouse, one of nine along the Oregon coast. From the parking area, we could see it perched on Heceta Head, shrouded in fog. Despite the weather, there were already many people here, quite a few of them enjoying the beautiful sandy beach.

The half-mile trail to the lighthouse goes past the historic assistant keeper’s house, which has been converted to a B&B. We wondered where the main keeper’s house was.

Assistant lightkeeper's house

The brightest light on the Oregon coast is cast by the lighthouse on Heceta Head. It has recently been beautifully restored. Unlike most fresnel lenses which were manufactured in France, Heceta’s was made in England, big enough to be classified as a ‘first order’ lens, a design responsible for the lighthouse’s stature as Oregon’s brightest.

Heceta Head lighthouse

The view out to sea was also obscured by the fog, making it difficult to see the enormous sea stacks which are home to birds and sea lions.

Another highlight of the area is the dramatic view from the parking area of the support structure underneath the Cape Creek Bridge, which is one of many designed by Conde McCullough. The understructure has been likened to a Roman aqueduct.

Cape Creek Bridge

A short distance down the highway was an area that dramatically shows the violent volcanic history of much of Oregon. It was tricky negotiating the jagged, uneven rocks, much of which appeared to be solidified piles of ejected lava.

Ejected lava

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