Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Wildlife Watching > Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (OR) 
Location
3 miles north of Newport, Oregon.
 
Description
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Head was formed by a series of lava flows that spread across Oregon and Washington millions of years ago. This headland provides visitors with one of the most accessible wildlife and ocean viewing locations on the Pacific Coast. Harbor seals and whales are visible offshore year-round. In spring and summer, thousands of seabirds flock to the near-shore islands to breed and raise their young; birdwatchers can experience incredibly close views of these nesting seabirds. At low tide, visitors can observe pools filled with many different species of intertidal life. Oregon’s tallest (93 feet) and second-oldest lighthouse has illuminated this promontory since 1873. Archaeologists have also discovered evidence of Native American visits to the site.
 
Directions
From Newport, drive north on U.S. Highway 101 for 3 miles. Look for the Yaquina Head sign. Turn left on Lighthouse Drive.
 
Visitor Activities
Tidepool study, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, historic site, interpretation, and summer lighthouse tours.
 
Special Features
Quarry Cove, a former rock quarry, is the world’s only manmade, accessible tidepool, offering close views of intertidal ecosystems. The Cobble Beach tidepools provide visitors with views of purple sea urchins and sea lemons. From December–February, whales can be seen traveling south to calving and breeding grounds in Baja, and from March–May, they can be seen heading north to feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. In the summer, medium-sized whales and cows with calves spend their time feeding along the Oregon coast. Tufted puffins and common murres are among the 25,000 birds that form a nesting area, or rookery, during the spring and summer.
 
Permits, Fees, Limitations
Entrance fees vary. Please call BLM for information.
 
Accessibility
There are wheelchair-accessible trails through tidepools, around the outside of the lighthouse, and at wildlife-viewing decks.
 
Camping and Lodging
Newport has several hotels and motels, and the central Oregon coast includes state parks with camping facilities.
 
Food and Supplies
Newport has several large grocery stores and a department store.
 
First Aid
The nearest hospital is located in Newport.
 
Additional Information
This day-use area is open daily from dawn to dusk. The lighthouse is open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. for viewing (weather permitting). Winter hours are variable. A telephoto lens will help visitors take close-up pictures of whales, seals, and birds from one of the nation’s closest mainland viewpoints of seabird nesting colonies, and a visit to the lighthouse interpretive center and store will round out the experience. Visitors should consult local tide tables to plan a tidepool visit coinciding with low tide.
 
Contact Information
BLM - Yaquina Head
Outstanding Natural Area
750 NW Lighthouse Dr
Newport, OR 97365
Tel: (541) 574-3100              

Yaquina Head Webpage

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

A classic example of 1870s lighthouse design, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse’s 93-foot tower was built with supplies brought in by boat. (BLM)

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Map