Protruding a mile into the pacific ocean, the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is characterized by its dark, hard basalt coast formed through volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Towering over the coast at 93 feet, Yaquina Head Lighthouse has survived rough seas, and lit the way for water vessels for almost 150 years.
Outstanding is a bold description for any location, setting expectations rather high. However, this Natural Area lives up to its name. With stunning scenery, this well managed park offers multiple trails leading to impressive views, tide pools and wildlife watching. A visit to the Yaquina Head Interpretive Center is a good place to start, as the informative exhibits provide key information as well as weather warnings you should be aware of. 45 minute tours of the tallest lighthouse in Newport are also available daily
A short trail from the interpretive center leads to Quarry Cove, where a paved path takes you to a former quarry and down to a small beach. At low tide you can explore tide pools where sea urchins, starfish and other sea creatures often get trapped. Up-hill trails to Communications Hill, near the Coast Guard Communications Tower and Salal Hill offer amazing coastal sea views of surrounding beaches and coves
With Bald Eagles flying high and Gulls and Murre gliding just at sea level occasionally diving in for food, Yaquina Head is a very popular spot for wild life. Carrying binoculars on your trails improves your chances of bird watching, of observing the harbor seals at Seal Island close to Cobble Beach and of spotting the migrating gray whales which can be regularly seen in winter and spring.
Open everyday between 8am and sunset, the park entrance fees are at $7 for a 3 day pass per car. With the Interpretive center open between at 10am and closes at 4pm and 5pm in Summer and Winter respectively. When visiting the sensational Newport coast, many tourists simply visit the iconic lighthouse, missing out on the beauty and diverse offering of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. With all the views and wild life this area has to offer, this would undoubtedly be a big mistake.