Tide Pooling at Yaquina Head Lighthouse

The very best place to tide pool on the Oregon Coast is at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.


Come prepared for the long climb down the steps. More importantly be prepared for the long climb back up the towering staircase from the rocky tide pools. Sturdy shoes with good traction are recommended by this family. When the tide goes out it leaves a field of rocks the size of baseballs that have been tossed smooth in the ocean and are wet and slippery.

We woke up at 3 am one morning, left Umpqua River Haven and headed to Newport about 4 am to catch the 6 am low tide that leaves hundreds of pools stranded in the rocks. We traversed the winding stairway and tread carefully upon the slippery rocks. It is well worth the effort and early summer hour. Here are some of the treasures we found in the tide pools.

Sea Urchins, snails and mussels, oh my!!!







The purple sea star is our favorite.

There is a nice interpretive center that has much information and is a great place to take the kids before heading to the tide pools and lighthouse. Our youngsters had never seen a tide pool or the creatures within and were fascinated with all of it. And then we went to the lighthouse.


Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest of the Oregon Coast lighthouses at 93 feet. Originally it was named the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. Its Fresnel lens was made in Paris in 1868 and first lit in August, 1873. The light was automated in 1966 and is an active light on the Oregon Coast guiding ships in the night.

17 military personnel were stationed here during World War II watching for possible enemy invasion. This lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. As with other Oregon Coast lighthouses, storms and lack of access to this remote site caused delays in building it.

There just can’t be a lighthouse on the Oregon Coast without a ghost and Yaquina Head is no exception. In 1921 a Second Assistant Keeper died in the execution of his lighthouse duties and is credited as the ghost of Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Between 1932 and 1945 Keeper John Zenor reported encounters with the ghost. “Someone unseen would come in and go up the spiral stairs,” Zenor stated. “After the war (WWII) we never heard him again.”

Strange happenings still occur like the dog that fell off the cliff onto the beach below. As rescue workers were getting ready to rappel down to the pooch, he suddenly appeared next to one of the fire trucks unharmed. It is still a mystery how he got up the steep and slippery cliff.

If you’ve never been atop a lighthouse you are in for a real treat. I am always awed by the views when I reach the upper area of any lighthouse. It’s that much better 93 feet off the ground.

Come stay with us at Umpqua River Haven and take a ‘don’t miss’ day trip to Newport and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and the tide pools below! This is one of the Oregon Coast’s major adventures!



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