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.
difficulty: moderate
drive time from Portland: 3.5 hours
parking pass: none needed
hike description: OregonHikers.org – Hobbit Beach to Heceta Head Loop

The Hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

The lower section of forest here is filled with rhododendrons.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

As we worked our way up, we passed by a section of impressive old-growth trees.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

Not long after reaching the highest point on the trail, it descends quickly down the south side of Heceta Head.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

The lighthouse comes into view as you hike down the trail, with a great view of the large Fresnal Lens used for the light.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

To complete the loop, we headed back up (and down) the Heceta Head Trail to the beginning of the Hobbit Trail.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

We reached the beach just before sunset, hiking about a mile north to the Washburne day use area.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

These “forest”formations were all over the beach and I wondered if the King Tides had formed them.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

We headed back to camp via the Washburne day use area.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

A short trail in the day use area goes through an incredible dense section of trees.

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike

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!

Oregon Coast - Heceta Head & Hobbit Trail loop hike