14 November 2005

Newport to Heceta Head Lighthouses

Tuesday, November 8th, Bill and I drove up to Newport, OR and worked out way back down to see some lighthouses. We had planned on seeing five that day, but only made it to 3. The first on we saw was the Yaquina (yah-KWIH-nah) Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse has a 93-foot-high tower and is the tallest on the Oregon coast; it stands 162 feet above sea level. This lighthouse was illuminated in 1873. It has 103 steps up to the watchtower, and an addition 6 to the lens. Bill and climbed all 103 steps, going up was the easy part, coming down was a lesson in vertigo and I was glad there were hand rails on both sides of the spiral staircase. The view from Yaquina Head is amazing, but what view isn’t from the Southern Oregon Coast? At Yaquina Head they have an interpretive center that is very informative as well as tide pools that you can walk down to. They’ve gone to lengths to not just preserve these tide pools but to make them accessible to people in such a manner that the people don’t disturb the natural environment. The tide was coming in when we were there (which buries the tide pools in several feet of water) so we skipped that adventure, but I’m sure we’ll get back someday.

The next lighthouse we saw was Yaquina Bay lighthouse also in Newport, OR. This is the second oldest standing lighthouse structure on the Oregon coast. In original service from 1871 to 1874 and only served until the commissioning of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It was re-lit in 1996 by the U.S. Coast Guard and recognized as a privately maintained aid to navigation. The lens is 42 feet above ground and 161 feet above sea level.

Our next stop took us back to the Heceta (ha-SEA-ta) Head Lighthouse, but this time we walked the ½ mile up the lighthouse. This lighthouse wasn’t open to the public during the time we were there. They close up for the off-season, so we didn’t get to tour the lighthouse. The view from the lighthouse is of course…amazing. The walk up to the lighthouse really provides some wonderful photo opportunities. Heceta Head Lighthouse sits 205 feet above the ocean. Light at top of 56-foot tower was illuminated in 1894; automated beacon, seen 21miles from land, rated as the strongest light on the Oregon coast.

We’ve really been enjoying the Southern Oregon coast on the days that it isn’t raining. We’ve had a fair amount of rain and wind out here, but we are still enjoying this area.


PS – Stay tuned for more lighthouses!