Walking to the Heceta Head (Calendar-Icon) Lighthouse

Last year we zipped down the coast of Washington and Oregon, hardly having time to look. This year we decided to spend two days in Florence, a small town on the Siuslaw River at the ocean. North of town (13 mi.) is a gem of a lighthouse, that the fog prevented us from seeing in the long view. This is last year’s picture.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse 2013

This year we made the short climb up.

Heceta lighthouse closeup

We easily found it off the Oregon Coast Hwy. With a small beach and parking lot below the bridge over Cape Creek, the lighthouse keeper’s place shone bright on this intermittent foggy morning.

8-14 Heceta Lighthouse keeper m Oregon 082

Past the bathrooms is the trailhead up to the lighthouse. It offered a wide even path. Not too steep.

Heceta Head trailA fascinating rail

Heceta Head Lighthouse railInteresting tree roots

Heceta Head tree webAnd gorgeous views of the ocean

Heceta trail ocean viewAnd the bridge over Cape Creek.

Cape Creek bridge

From the lighthouse keeper’s building (available for events and bed & breakfast rentals) the fog cleared enough to see the lighthouse. Built in 1893. Electrified in 1940. Fully automated in 1963. And the brightest light on the Oregon Coast.

 Heceta Head lighthouse

Actually it’s the assistant lightkeeper’s house that remains – but looks beautiful. Imagine the family life in this setting.

Heceta lighthouse keeper

The bridge across Cape Creek opened in 1932 (another thing to imagine about the lightkeeper’s life – this was some independent living) and resembles a Roman aqueduct.

Cape Creek bridge

I’m ready to visit again. You?

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar, available upon request.

Minimal Trail info: Near the lighthouse was a sign warning of bears and showing a trail map. It’s only a half mile up to the lighthouse – but other trails leave from here. 1.25 mi gets you to a trail with a connection down to Washburne Beach which is 2 miles long. The main trail continues through the hills to two more connections to the beach. I’m going to assume it’s a bit of a hike to get up and over the head and a couple of miles north. Lighthouse is 250′ above the ocean.

Oregon State Park: Day use is $5/vehicle or state pass, tours are 11-3 when weather and staffing permit, picnic tables, pit toilet and no water.

Directions Map

Roses at Heceta Head


Wednesday Walking News: Long Walks & Variety of Activities

Hi! It’s Wednesday. This post was prompted by an article in the Press Democrat on Coastwalk tours. However, I have not been able to link to that site. So here’s a link to the horse’s mouth (or the trailhead, so to speak).

National Trails Day Hike- Mendocino County

little river with davidJoin David LaFollette for this special National Trails Day Hike along the Mendocino Hike. This gem of a hike begins at Little River Beach in Van Damme State Park and travels north along the California Coastal Trail. This trail passes through grasslands, where you might spot black-tailed deer, to a bluff top with access to a sandy beach and rocky benches usually populated with harbor seals and the noisy American black Oystercatcher. David will take you through a Bishop Pine forest to his favorite spot on the CCT, overlooking the rugged coast and a grand view, from which he has seen many gray, humpacked, and blue whales, harbor seals, sea lions, and many more birds and mammals! This hike is great for the first time hiker or experienced CCT hiker!

Pack water, layers and a lunch with snacks. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes.

Click Coastwalk to register for this trip on June 7th.

For more trips via Coastwalk (the people who help make the trails work along the California Coast), click Coastwalk overnight trips. Continue reading

Walking at Asilomar – Pacific Grove

Many times we have walked near Asilomar, but never knew we could visit without signing up for a conference.

This time we had online information, found brochures at the Social Hall and tried to get the phone tour scanner to work. There’s a beach walk, woods walk and architecture walk – not very far, but plenty of reading material. Asilomar initially was a summer camp for young women and conference center. Between 1912 and 1922, buildings designed by Julia Morgan were built. Since 1956 the California State Parks has run the conference center.

Asilomar Social Hall Continue reading

Walking at Doran Beach & Birdwalk

dog leash

Lately, we’ve been to Doran Beach a couple of times. Even with the newly paved road along the beach, we like to visit via the Birdwalk at Cheney Creek. Still part of Doran Beach Regional Park, it allows access through the wetland and can be a great birdviewing spot.

Since I’ve been practicing with my new phone/camera, these pictures are more utilitarian than beautiful as Mike supplies. (Gray pictures are from February and sunny pictures from March 2014)

From the parking lot at Birdwalk, there are two paved ramps up to the trail.

Trailhead for Birdwalk at Cheney Gulch Continue reading

Wednesday Walking News: Monuments, Memorials and well…Walks

Click on the headings for more to the stories…

Stornetta lands may soon be monument

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell walks around the tide pools in the recently opened Stornetta Public Lands along the Point Arena coastline on Friday, November 8, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Supporters of a two-year campaign to extend national monument status to a breathtaking stretch of southern Mendocino coastline are abuzz with speculation that President Barack Obama might use his executive authority to make it happen, and that he might do so soon.

A key reason for the anticipation is the president’s pledge two weeks ago during his State of the Union address to use his office “to protect more of our pristine federal lands.”

______________________________________________ Continue reading

What the Tafoni is at Salt Point?

On the way home from Mendocino, it is almost required that we stop at Gualala Point or Salt Point. Since the dog was ‘on the ranch’ we decided to stop at Salt Point State Park.

The park does have a couple of miles of flat trail and some amazing rock formation. But this view isn’t bad for a picnic lunch. (You can get to this spot by taking the road after the campgrounds, drive past the a-frame Visitor Center on a gravel road and you come to a terrific picnic ground.)

Gerstle Cove Salt Point

After lunch, we backtracked and went out to the end of the road and parked to the left – with another view south and overlooking the Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, California’s first underwater park.

June 2014 Update: Access to Stump Beach and Fisk Mill are now open in the park.

Continue reading

World Class Point Arena?

We recently took a trip up the coast to Mendocino. As with many vacations, you miss important news. The day we left Elk for home, we heard that Pt Arena was number ‘3’ on someone’s best places in the world to visit. In the world? Huh? Good thing we were stopping in Pt Arena on the way home.

Things still looked rough in the block or two of downtown Pt Arena. Our favorite restaurant was gone. How was this place going to sustain world travellers?

Pt Arena Wharf Continue reading

Walking into History at Fort Ross

Sunday, the ocean was calm – hardly a breeze – truly pacific. We made our way up the winding Hwy 1 to Fort Ross.

In addition to the new construction at the Fort and new places seen – the Call House was open and the Russian Cemetery was easily found – we had a marvelous afternoon. (We were last here in 2010.)

Windmill Ft Ross

Fort Ross Windmill

Continue reading

Where’s your First Day Walk?

I haven’t decided yet where I’ll be. But I know several groups are working Bodega Head and the Kortum Trail. Both excellent choices. Following are some other choices.

Click headings to find more information:


Walks all over the Bay Area and Northern California

New Year’s Day: Hikes, nature events
in the Bay Area and beyond

By Lisa M. Krieger – Mercury News -Posted:   12/23/2013 03:00:00 PM PST | Updated:   4 days ago

January arrives with the force of a Chinook wind. One year is finished; its tiresome episodes are closed. Now there’s just the future, so full of promise, urging us to take a big mental and physical leap forward.

Stop — look. So much has happened while we were indoors celebrating. The days are lengthening. The night stars are wheeling around Polaris. Tall trees lay down another ring. Vast flocks of migrating birds cluster onto winter waters.

Pull on a sweatshirt and boots and join nature as she embarks on a new season. All over the Bay Area, there are Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 activities to get the blood stirring.


Going to be in Doncaster? Maybe not, but excellent goals.

Walking festival to kick start new year

Published on the 30 December  2013 06:48

Doncaster Council’s ‘Get Doncaster Walking’ festival is returning for the start of 2014 and the year round programme is supporting the Walk Boost initiative encouraging people to ‘ditch the car’ and get to work by foot, public transport or cycling.



Enjoy brisk walks? Connecticut pitches
New Year’s Day hikes
of 1 to 5 miles at 4 state parks

First Posted: December 30, 2013 – 3:00 am Last Updated: December 30, 2013 – 3:02 am

HARTFORD, Connecticut — Hikers who want to chill out after New Year’s Eve parties can indulge themselves in four Connecticut state park hikes on New Year’s Day.

First Day Hikes are planned for Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Mansfield Hollow State Park in Mansfield, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison and Osbornedale State Park in Derby.


New York?

Birder walks in New York City?


And after the walk on the first day – don’t forget to walk all the other days.

Happy New Year,

Lynn Millar