After a few days in San Francisco with Haley & Cassidy, we took a train out of Oakland to Eugene, Oregon. From Eugene, Haley’s uncle picked us up and took us to his cabin in Yachats, which is a small town along the Pacific Coast Highway. It may be the most naturally beautiful place that I have ever seen.
The shoreline has cliffs, covered in greenery and wild flowers, to the water with some beaches carved out. There is scarce civilization, rain forests everywhere, and some really unique and interesting geological features. While not necessarily the sea-side town that I am used to living in Bluffton, South Carolina, I really enjoyed Yachats. It had plenty to explore and space to relax.
Sea Lion Point
On our way to Yachats, we pulled over at a lookout off of the highway where you could see dozens of sea lions. They were all out sunbathing on a rock and there was a cave that people could go in and see them up close. We didn’t do the cave tour, but they were still exciting to see.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
While in Yachats, we did a lot of hiking. Our first hike started at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Haley’s uncle showed us some berries to snack on along the way then left us to hike to where he would pick us up a few miles away. When we asked a tour guide to confirm that we were going the right direction, he informed us we were going the most challenging route and was sure to point out a bear safety sign.
Don’t worry though, we made it to the end safely and never saw a bear.
We ended our hike along the Hobbit’s Trail that was just a few miles down from the light house. I can see how it got it’s name from The Lord of The Rings as the forest looked like something out of a storybook. The trees were so tall and green that I felt as if I had walked into someone’s imagination.
Luna Sea Fish House
After our hike on the way to Yachats, we ended with a lovely dinner of fish and chips at the Luna Sea Fish House in the downtown area of Yachats. Afterwards we went back to the cabin and played a round of Scrabble and watched the sun set over the Pacific.
Walking on the Beach
From the cabin we walked into what looked like an impassable amount of trees onto the side of a cliff and then climbed down some rocks to find our way on the beach. It was very windy but the sun was out and it was still a lot of fun. Haley’s uncle showed us a cave and we were able to get up closer to some sea lions.
On our way back, we were able to use a rope tied to the side of one of the cliffs to climb back up through some of the greenery and wild flowers. It was definitely not the type of beach that you carry a cooler to!
Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint
Our search for sea lions was never-ending. At this viewpoint off the side of the highway we wee able to climb down to watch them playing in the water. They were so full of personality!
Before heading to a town north of Yachats to explore some shops, we stopped for coffee and lunch at the Green Salmon. Not only was the coffee and food delectable, but the shop had a fun atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the saying on my coffee cup – “I am going to carpe diem, but first I must carpe coffee.”
Newport was a great little town north of Yachats. We headed to Newport for the afternoon to go into some shops and snacked on some ice cream cones.
Before hiking for the day we saw Devil’s Churn which is a cut out in the cliff that makes a very ominous sound as the waves crash against the rock.
Cape Perpetua Hiking Trails
When the day began, I thought we were hiking 8 miles (which was already intimidating). I think we ended up doing closer to 13 miles, but every step was worth it. The trees and foliage were SO green. We saw so much including a giant snake, which we had to leap over, and the tallest tree in Oregon, which we climbed under. Our last trail of the day was the Amanda Trail, named for a Native American woman forced to hike the coast to relocate. It was so sad to know that this woman along with her tribe had to leave their home and walk all of this way.
The Drift Inn Hotel and Restaurant
After all of that hiking, we worked up an appetite. We ate dinner at the The Drift Inn Hotel in the downtown area of Yachats. Each table had these little tea kettles that were filled with notes from previous diners. It was so fun to sit and read others’ stories or advice while we ate.
After dinner, we headed over towards the coast to see some of the unique geographical features as the sun started to set. sThor’s Well is basically a natural washing machine. As the waves hit the shore, the water inside the well swells and swirls. It was mesmerizing to watch.
The Sprouting Horn is right beside Thor’s Well. When the waves hit the shore just right, the side of the cliff turns into the sprout of a whale. We sat and watched for a few minutes to hit just right.
Whale Watching at Depoe Bay
Before heading to Portland, we went whale watching in Depoe Bay with Carrie Newell. Newell is a marine biologist studying gray whales. She knew most of the gray whales in the area by name and has studied them for years. She was also knowledgeable about the marine ecosystems in the area. If you’re looking to do a whale watching tour in the Pacific North West, I highly recommend visiting Carrie Newell.
Not to mention, one of the boats was previously owned by Jimmy Buffet. Clearly, I was excited about that.