Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse Meets A Milestone!

Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence turned 130 years old on March 30, 2024.

This iconic, red-roofed lighthouse – one of the most photographed along the Oregon coast – perches atop the 1,000-foot Heceta Head, named for the Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta y Dudagoitai, who explored the Oregon coast in 1775.

Most visitors to the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint can’t imagine how remote this site was when the lighthouse was being built. Before construction began, a wagon road to Florence needed to be built, so that supplies could be brought in!

Standing at 56-feet tall, the lighthouse was completed in 1893, but it wasn’t until March 30, 1894, that the Fresnel lens was lit for the first time.

Fresnel lenses are designed to refract light, thanks to hundreds of pieces of glass surrounding a central lamp, at great distances. The light beam from Heceta Head can be seen 21 miles from land, according to Oregon State Parks.

Visiting Heceta Head is easy

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint is just 15 miles south of Overleaf Lodge & Spa. That’s about a 20-minute drive by car and well worth your exploration. You’ll need to purchase a state park day pass at the parking lot.

From the parking lot, it’s a short half-mile trail to reach the lighthouse. On the way, you’ll pass the historic lighthouse keeper’s house, now a bed and breakfast, and enjoy beautiful views of the ocean.

Guided lighthouse tours depend on the season and include the base of the structure and the ground floor of the tower, but not the upper level. To reach a stunning view of the Fresnel lens, adventurous visitors may hike up the trail located just before the lighthouse.

Subhead: Other lighthouses to explore nearby

Three more lighthouses are within a short drive from Overleaf Lodge & Spa:

  • Cleft of the Rock: This is a private lighthouse and home built by retired lighthouse keeper Jim Gibbs. Perched on the cliffs south of Yachats, the lighthouse is a replica of one that once stood on Vancouver Island. Cleft of the Rock is part of a private home, and therefore not open to the public. However, it can be seen from milepost 166 on Highway 101.
  • Yaquina Bay Lighthouse: North of Yachats near Newport, Yaquina Bay is the second oldest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Built in 1871, it was decommissioned in 1874 when Yaquina Head Lighthouse was built with a brighter light. It’s open for public tours, depending on the season.
  • Yaquina Head Lighthouse: Built in 1873, Yaquina Head is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast and is still in use today. Near Newport, it is open for public tours, depending on the season.
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