Sunshine speckled the trail to Hunters Cove as we set out from the Cape Sebastian State Park Viewpoint. Our guidebook warned of strong winds that have kept the Sitka spruce that grow on the point at shoulder height, but this morning all was calm. As we hiked around a bend, the view north opened up to reveal an impressive sea of fog hugging the coast below us. Our downhill path would, no doubt, lead into the thick of it.As the fog lifted, we were able to see the steep cliffs and the surf below. The trail continued downhill through the forest and would eventually lead to Hunters Cove and a view of a collection of rocky island outcroppings. We didn’t make it quite that far since we had left our lunch in the car, but we walked long enough that the return trip offered clear views of the coastline we had missed earlier.Once back at the car, we drove a few miles down the highway and found our own spot (with a pretty good view) for our picnic.
Posts Tagged With: What to see on Oregon Coast
The Coquille River Lighthouse was first lit in 1896 and continued to guide ships to safety off the coast of Bandon, Oregon until it was decommissioned in 1939.Bullard Beach State Park provides the starting point for a brisk 5+ mile round trip walk to the lighthouse. You’ll find plenty of opportunity for beach access along the way. Several parking lots are available those less adventurous.These days the lighthouse opens to provide a glimpse into the past…a brief history lesson for visitors, campers and history buffs. It also serves as inspiration (for photographers) from either shore of the Coquille River.
The wind continued to blow, as it has since we arrived on the coast, but without a cloud in the sky, it was a beautiful day to walk on the beach in Bandon, Oregon.
After pocketing my winnings from the casino we continued north on Highway 101 to the Coos Bay waterfront. A pair tall ships were dockside, drawing eager crowds who held tickets, ready to set sail for adventure. Everyone and everything was enjoying the sun, including this seagull perched atop a cluster of old wharf posts.We took a chance on a little seafood shack located down on the docks, figuring their fish and chips were worth a try. We were not disappointed! Not only was it “the best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast,” (according to the owner…and he was right!) but my casino winnings covered the cost! Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch!?
Remains of an old wharf stand tall as the tide recedes along the coast of Oregon.
The camp host encouraged us to make the short walk to see the Umpqua Lighthouse not just during daylight, but also after dark. Intrigued, we bundled up last night and headed out to the coast, curious to discover what mysterious sights we might behold.Once the sun went down and dark settled over us, the signature beams (two white-one red) lit up the sky, continuously sweeping a circle overhead. As we turned and looked over the ocean we could see the light stretching out toward the horizon…visible more than 20 miles out to sea.
While the first heatwave of summer bakes the Rogue Valley back home, we awoke to day four of our cool 2 1/2 week coastal escape. A note in our hiking book suggested the “not to be missed” Umpqua Discovery Center located on “Reedsport’s scenic riverfront boardwalk.” Somewhat skeptical, but wanting to stick close to our home base at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park today, we made the short drive north.Built entirely with grants and donations, the center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Impressive displays, some interactive, explain the Natural and Cultural History of the Oregon Coast. Massive murals, painted by artist Peggy O’Neal, are beautifully done and anchor each of the many displays. We were told each mural took about a year to complete. Take in the views up and down the river from the boardwalk or grab a bite to eat at one of the neighboring restaurants. The Umpqua Discovery Center is located just off Highway 101 and Highway 38 in Reedsport, Oregon. Open daily with a reasonable admission charge.
When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.
Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.
As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.
Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.
Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.
…or have we? When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.
When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered. Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.
Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery. “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.
When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation! Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…
Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar. As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is! A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds. It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!
It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail. We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.
The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns. As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.
At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford. We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up. Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!
This little bench marked the end of the trail. While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo. Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top. Still, it was hard to be disappointed. The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!