Heceta Head Trail
From the trailhead on the west side of Highway 101, this 1½ mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail leads to Heceta Head Lighthouse. The sweeping views from the top are breathtaking and well worth seeing, even if you turn around before reaching the lighthouse.
While climbing the hill, remember to stop and look around occasionally for peeks of ocean and beautiful views of tree-filled ravines. Near the top, you will see a grove of Sitka Spruce trees on the south side of the trail for which branches have extended laterally into intriguing shapes. Fern grow in the crooks and moss drape artistically off of the branches. Several viewpoints provide stunning views of Hobbit Beach and views to the north. On a clear day, you can see the rocky outcrop of Cape Perpetua and even get a glimpse of Yachats.
Continuing on toward the lighthouse, a few unofficial paths beckon for exploration. With careful footing, you can see stunning drops into the ocean. The official trail continues through a ghost-like forest, where the bottom branches have died and fallen off but the canopy remains.
As you near Heceta Head Lighthouse, take a moment to get an eye-level view of the original Fresnel Lens from this unique vantage point. From here, looking south, you can capture a photo of the lighthouse and the coastline in a composition that you will likely want to print and frame.
Valley Trail and China Creek Loop
East of the parking area, the Valley Trail begins and continues along 1 ½ mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail that connects to the Carl Washburn State Park campground. A mile from the trailhead is the China Creek Loop which creates a 3-mile round-trip excursion. Few people take this peaceful, meditative trail of towering trees, ferns and moss-covered forest floor.
Well-maintained, this trail will guide you past several marshy areas, small ponds and seeps, and three charming bridges take you over small streams. Watch for yellow skunk cabbage, mushrooms, sorrel, many varieties of lichen and moss. In the spring, native rhododendrons are in bloom.