Heceta Head Trail, Oregon is a moderate 1 1/2 mile hike to Heceta Lighthouse. The trail is accessible from Hobbit Trailhead, located right along highway 101 – about 12.5 miles north of Florence, Oregon.
There’s a small parking area on the east side of the highway, but the trail starts on the west side. Use extreme caution when crossing the road – folks like to drive fast! There are no restrooms or potable water. We also didn’t notice any fee requirement.
Heceta Head Trail, Oregon
My husband, Nat, and I arrived at the trailhead around 11:15am on Saturday, December 1, 2018. We parked and then crossed the highway to meet up with Hobbit Trailhead. The weather was cloudy with occasional sun breaks and a slight chill to the air.
There are two trails that branch off in opposite directions – Hobbit Trail to the right (north) and Heceta Head Trail to the left (south).
For this post I will focus on our hike along Heceta Head Trail to Heceta Lighthouse. If you would like to read about our trek along Hobbit Trail to Hobbit Beach, please click here.
Soon after turning onto Heceta Head Trail, you’ll pass by a small post with a map and signage for both trails.
The forest is lush, green, and beautiful. Most of the trees are tall and thin with few low-hanging branches, creating an open forest. The trail starts off relatively even as it weaves between the trees. You can hear a decent amount of traffic noise, but it gradually dissipates the father along you hike.
There were no shortage of mushrooms – my favorite find while exploring the outdoors! The wetter months are the perfect time to spot them.
The lighting was absolutely stunning. It drifted between cloudy and sparkling forest-filtered sunlight.
You can see just how tall some of the trees are in this coastal forest.
Eventually the trail begins to climb a steep incline. There are exposed roots scattered along most of the trail, so please use caution.
After a ways of climbing you’ll have a good view of the ocean below between the trees.
There are also several parts of the trail that become muddy during the (extra) rainy months, so keep that in mind when prepping for a hike along Heceta Head Trail.
There are several wooden benches right off the trail, but unfortunately they don’t offer a spectacular view. They’re mostly just a nice place to take a quick break and eat a snack.
To add to the grandiose coastal forest there are magnificent, gnarled trees. The farther along you hike the larger they seem to get.
Oh, have I mentioned how amazing the lighting was yet? I felt like I was in a fairytale.
Before the trail begins to descend, you’ll reach an even better vantage point of the ocean and shoreline below.
The Dark Forest
Eventually the surrounding forest transitions from lush to sparse. The last leg of this hike descends through a dark forest with little to no underbrush. Beautiful nonetheless.
The sun barely trickled through the thick tree canopy and sprinkled the forest floor. Many of the trees are covered in spiny branches with no leaves or vegetation.
After some switchbacks through the dark forest, you’ll eventually catch your first glimpse of Heceta Lighthouse.
The trail continues to switchback and quickly descend. Soon after you’ll get an even better view of the lighthouse. It was such a beautiful day.
Soon enough, you’ll go down a flight of wooden steps and then reach a gravel road. Heceta Lighthouse is just on the right. This photo is looking back up the stairs.
Heceta Head Trail is an easy-moderate hike through a lush coastal forest. I consider this trail as moderate due to the steep incline and exposed roots yet short distance. At just 1.5 miles one way, Heceta Head Trail makes for a perfect day hike to see the beautiful Heceta Lighthouse. Pack a lunch and enjoy the panoramic view!