HECETA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE STATE SCENIC VIEWPOINT
Heceta Head State Park (which includes Devils Elbow State Park) is located in a cove at the mouth of Cape Creek. There are picnic tables sheltered from the wind and a great view of the ocean. A short trail leads to the historic Heceta Head lighthouse and lighthouse keeper's house. A recently-completed trail gives you a spectacular view of the coast north to Cape Perpetua.
Heceta Head trail is part of a 7-mile network. Trails of varying difficulty feature beach and wildlife viewing areas. Wildlife refuge islands feature a view of puffins, cormorants, gulls, and other bird nesting areas. Sea lions and whales can be seen from the beach and cliff-top lighthouse.
On the west side of 1,000-foot-high Heceta Head, 205 feet above the ocean, the lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the coast. The light at top of 56-foot tower was illuminated in 1894; the automated beacon, seen 21 miles from land, is rated as the strongest light on the Oregon coast. The historic assistant lighthouse keeper?s house (Heceta House; built 1893) offers bed and breakfast rentals and facilities for group events; call (541) 547-3696 for info.
Common murres, which lay their eggs on the bare rocks, can be easily seen by looking down, just over the railing near the lighthouse. Brown pelicans commonly fly by, as do bald eagles. Migrating gray whales can be seen as they travel to and from Alaska and Baja California. May is a great time to look right down on the migrating mothers and calves as they travel close to shore.
Located along the rugged coastline of Oregon, Heceta Head Lighthouse is a prominent landmark with an intriguing history. The lighthouse was first lit in 1894 after three years of construction that began in 1891. It stands at one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the Pacific Coast and its beacon can be seen up to twenty-one miles from land.
The name "Heceta" comes from Bruno de Heceta, a Spanish explorer who navigated this part of the coast during his voyage in 1775. However, it wasn't until over a century later when plans for constructing a lighthouse were initiated by Congress due to increased shipping traffic.
Built under challenging conditions using local materials wherever possible - including stone quarried near Florence and bricks made onsite -the final structure included not just the light tower but also houses for keepers' families as well as outbuildings such as barns and oil storage facilities.
In early days, life at Heceta Head was isolated; supplies had to come via ship or overland trail until road access improved around World War I era. Despite these hardships though many dedicated individuals served here ensuring safety for passing ships through foggy nights & stormy seas till automation took place in late twentieth-century (1963).
After being automated by U.S Coast Guard which reduced need for full-time keeper staff presence significantly ,it became more accessible leading eventually towards establishment into public park system(1998). Today visitors are able enjoy guided tours inside historic buildings while enjoying breathtaking views surrounding area offers.