Watching for seals on the cobble beach at Yaquina Head lighthouse
Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011

NEWPORT, OR — Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is on of those places I could easily spend a whole day at. It has history, hiking and wildlife packed into a rocky mile-long peninsula that juts into the Pacific.

The park, run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, has a historic lighthouse at its tip and boasts a cove and a cobble beach inhabited by gulls and harbor seals.

There are three easy hiking trails, and on most busy days the parking lot closest to the lighthouse fills up. This forces visitors to get out and enjoy the walk from another parking area at the museum.

There’s a sound the cobbles make. The waves crash into the shore with a roar and a hiss. And then if you listen closely, you can hear the smooth rounded stones roll in the wake as the water recedes.

The lighthouse has 104 steps to the top, and it was built in 1873 to replace the bay lighthouse to the south.
The bay lighthouse was built in 1871 but decommissioned three years later because it wasn’t visible enough, according to one of the brochures.

After the lighthouse, we spent the rest of the day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium (also in Newport). Then we headed back to Portland.

More photos of the trip in our gallery.