Top 20 Oregon Trips

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is 2-hours from Portland on the Oregon Coast, in the bustling bayfront township of Newport (check hours & admission).

At 93-feet high, Yaquina Head is also the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, located in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Set aside 45-minutes to visit the excellent Interpretive Center near the lighthouse.  It's then a short walk out to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse along a dramatic headland, past the sound of black basalt rocks rumbling in the surf at Cobble Beach.

Consider staying overnight at Newport, with vibrant restaurants and shops along the bustling Historic Bay Front, and book a room at the oceanfront Hallmark Resort Hotel.

10 best things to do at Yaquina Head Lighthouse

1. Take the exit to Yaquina Head Lighthouse on Highway 101 at Newport, with a pay station at the entrance.

2. Park at the Interpretive Center and sign up for a lighthouse tour.

Lighthouse tours can only be booked at the Interpretive Center. You can also pick up a useful map showing the trail out to the lighthouse.

3. Walk or drive 0.4 miles from the Interpretive Center to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The scenic pathway flanks the road out to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  There's a second parking lot directly outside the lighthouse, but it's usually full, so it's better to park at the larger parking lot at the Interpretive Center and walk out.

The 0.4 mile path out to Yaquina Head Lighthouse has beautiful views back over Agate Beach and the township of Newport. 

4. Walk past the viewing platform overlooking Cobble Beach.

Enjoy slopes carpeted with beautiful wildflowers on the walk out to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The scene looks dramatically different in winter, when fierce storms lash the coast with 80 MPH winds!

5. Look up at the striking Yaquina Head Lighthouse that opened in 1873, and stands 93 feet high with 5 foot thick walls.

There used to be two Lighthouse Keeper dwellings, a stable and a workshop near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  These dwellings have since been demolished.

6. Climb the 114 stairs to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

You are free to climb the lighthouse if an attendant is there, but tours must be arranged in advance at the Interpretive Center.

The original stairs and balustrades have been retained, and children must be over 42 inches high to climb these stairs.

7. Step inside the lantern room of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse was originally equipped with a first order Fresnel Lens manufactured by Barbier & Fenestre in Paris in 1868, and was automated in 1966. It's still active today, and has a flash sequence of 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off.

8. Leave the lighthouse and retrace your steps along the pathway, taking the stairs down to Cobble Beach.

The first set of stairs takes you to a viewing platform with a telescope overlooking Cobalt Beach, and the second set of stairs leads down to the beach.

Cobble Beach is lined with basalt stones that make a rumbling sound as the waves wash over them.  

9. Explore the tidepools at Cobble Beach for sea life at high tide.

Explore the rich marine life in the tidepools at Cobble Beach at high tide.  To avoid disappointment, call the Interpretive Center to figure out what time high tide is.

Lots of school groups explore the tidepools at Cobalt Beach, full of sea stars and anemones.  

Look out at Seal Island, visible 50-feet off Cobble Beach.

Harbor seals laze about on rocky outcrops.

10. Continue back up the pathway to the Interpretive Center.

The pedestrian path passes through a tunnel on its way back to the Interpretive Center.

Here's the excellent Interpretive Center at Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  

Learn all about the fascinating history of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

There's also some superb exhibits on local marine life like whales, seals, turtles, and bird life.

The Interpretive Center has also has a small movie area with an interesting presentation.

Here's a scale model of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

These were the original buildings around Yaquina Head Lighthouse that have since been demolished.

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