Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site has great views of Yaquina Bay and the picturesque McCullough bridge that spans it. Rich in history and steeped in nostalgia, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is the main attraction. Perched on the hill overlooking the jetties and open ocean, rather than the typical cylindrical lighthouse shape it is instead a colonial home with a cupola.
Note: The path to reach the lighthouse from the parking lot is very steep. This is the most difficult destination I have added to 100 Steps, and frankly I’m surprised (and a bit proud) I was able to reach it via the route described below. It is not recommended for those who have difficulty with steepness.
While creating the destination maps for this page, I found that SW Government Street, which you run into if you drive all the way through the parking lot, leads to the back of the lighthouse. Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses lists this parking area as available for “access-compromised visitor groups”. I do not know if it requires a disabled parking placard. Next time I am in Newport, I will visit again and update this page with the easier route to the lighthouse.
Check out the Oregon Coast Lighthouse Roundup.
Bay viewing deck
Adjacent to the parking lot, this deck affords views of the distinctive Yaquina Bay bridge, the bay and passing sea craft, the north and south jetties protecting the bay entrance, the open ocean beyond them, and perhaps even a pirate ship (a tourist attraction from in town, rather than a ruffian-hosted threat). Ringed with a plethora of descriptive signs, this can be an educational stop as well.
Lighthouse path bench
As mentioned in the introduction above, this path is steep. The stairs themselves are not fully level, and I experienced mild vertigo (which is not a sensation I’m prone to) toward the top due to their unevenness and the height. All that aside, I’m glad a made the trek. The 1800s brick walkway winds through groomed foliage, and helps move you into the old-world ambience. The bench is a welcome resting spot before continuing to the lighthouse. From the path just below the bench you can photograph the lighthouse, avoiding the Coast Guard lookout tower that rises behind it marring the historical surroundings.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Dripping with history, riddled with inhabitant turnover and vacancies, and fraught with stories of hauntings, the service time for this lighthouse was brief but its background is certainly not. Tours are offered within scheduled hours. The bench just past the lighthouse allows you to witness from a higher vantage all the sights available from the viewing deck in the parking lot.