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Oregon Coast Cities and Towns
Heceta Light, the crown of Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, with its brilliant-white iconic tower is among the most photographed lighthouses in the world, and with good reason. Located 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon, the conical stuccoed-brick structure is 56-feet tall, sits halfway up a 205-foot headland, and is visible from the viewpoint at Milepost 176 of Highway 101. Its light, a first order Fresnel lens, flashes white every 10 seconds. The beacon is visible from 21 miles out to sea and is halted only by the curvature of the earth.
European expansion, the rugged coastline was sparsely populated by Native Peoples. The Siuslaw [Sigh-YOU-slaw] and other tribes did use the Cape Creek and Heceta Head areas for hunting and fishing. The cape is named for the explorer Don Bruno de Heceta (pronounced Ha-SEE-tah by locals) who in 1775 noted the area in his log while on a secret mission for the Queen of Spain. European settlers came in the 1880s, and the lighthouse and two lightkeepers' houses were officially commissioned in 1894. This was a lonely outpost, accessible by or boat or horse-drawn wagon until the construction of Highway 101 in the 1930s. The spot has housed various residents, including hardy lightkeeper families, Coast Guard watchmen in during WWII, and a resident ghost named Rue.
Today, the Light is maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Proximity to the Highway and an ample parking lot create a haven for beachcombers, agate seekers, photographers, hikers, birdwatchers, lighthouse enthusiasts, ghost hunters, and romantics of all ages. The path to the lighthouse is about one-half mile of packed gravel, with tours conducted throughout the summer. Wildlife include cormorants, gulls, and puffins; as well as sightings of sea lions and whales in the winter months.
The remaining Lightkeepers House, about 200 yards below the Lighthouse, is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and is now a a Bed and Breakfast, and includes an Interpretive Center on the first floor. The B&B is also open for special events. A gift shop occupies the old generator house next to the Lightkeepers' House.
Parking lot use is $3 per day, with wheelchair accessible restrooms, a few wind sheltered picnic tables, and brochures. The Viewpoint is connected to a seven-mile hiking trail system that ranges from easy to difficult, and affords spectacular views of wildlife, the south coast to Florence, and Cape Perpetua to the north.
Getting there: The Entrance to Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint is at Milepost 178.2 about 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon, and 2 miles north of Sea Lion Caves, and 11 miles south of Yachats [Ya-hots].
Hours: Lighthouse: May through September, open daily for climbing tours from 11 a.m. To 5:00 p.m. During March, April, and October, the hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Daily. Phone 1-541-547-3416 for information including dates for night tours and other special events.
The Lightkeepers' House is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, Thursday through Monday from Noon to 5:00 p.m., To arrange a tour outside these dates, call 1-866-547-3696. Michelle Korgan Bursey and Steven Bursey are the current keepers and B&B Hosts. Contact them at 92072 Highway 101 South, Yachats, OR 97498; 1-866-547-3696 or E-mail.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
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