hike: Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop
While camping at Washburne State Park, I did a loop hike from the campground to Heceta Head lighthouse and back to camp via the Hobbit Trail and beach.
distance: 6.6 miles (loop hike)
elevation gain: 960 ft.
drive time from Portland: 3.5 hours
parking pass: none needed
hike description: OregonHikers.org – Hobbit Beach to Heceta Head Loop
From the Washburne State Park campground, we took the Valley Trail for 1.5 miles to the start of the Heceta Head trail. The Valley Trail has a gentle grade as it winds through the forest.
The lower section of forest here is filled with rhododendrons.
At the end of the Valley Trail, we reached Highway 101. This is the trailhead for the Hobbit Trail, and it’s also where the Heceta Head Trail begins. We crossed the highway and continued on the trail.
From here, you can go left on Heceta Head Trail, or right on the Hobbit Trail. For now, we turned left to head to the lighthouse.
After a few switchbacks through the forest, the trail begins to climb steeply. Fortunately, there are a lot of stairs to assist with the elevation gain.
Near the top, an opening in the trees provides a view to the north of the coastline. We were trying to determine if we could do the loop hike on the beach based on tides, so it was helpful to be able to see how much beach was accessible.
As we worked our way up, we passed by a section of impressive old-growth trees.
Not long after reaching the highest point on the trail, it descends quickly down the south side of Heceta Head.
The lighthouse comes into view as you hike down the trail, with a great view of the large Fresnal Lens used for the light.
We spent some time exploring the area around the lighthouse, visiting the gift shop, and having lunch at one of the benches with a view.
To complete the loop, we headed back up (and down) the Heceta Head Trail to the beginning of the Hobbit Trail.
From here, we headed to the beach. The Hobbit Trail name is well deserved… the trail is like a tunnel for much of the way, with quite a few smaller tunnel-like side trails that made us wonder what type of creatures use them.
We reached the beach just before sunset, hiking about a mile north to the Washburne day use area.
These “forest”formations were all over the beach and I wondered if the King Tides had formed them.
We headed back to camp via the Washburne day use area.
A short trail in the day use area goes through an incredible dense section of trees.
From here, we crossed the highway and headed back to our campsite. I loved every part of this hike and hope to return to do it again!