Florence, OR: Haceta Head and Hobbit Trail

Start with a casual romp through lush rainforest and a beaver pond meadow, traverse a coastal headland to an historic lighthouse, then delve down through "Middle Earth" to a mystic beach on this 6-mile loop hike.
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Start with a casual romp through lush rainforest and a beaver pond meadow, traverse a coastal headland to an historic lighthouse, then delve down through "Middle Earth" to a mystic beach on this 6-mile loop hike.

There are quicker and easier ways to reach each of these locations, but if you wanted quick and easy, you could refer to your Oregon AAA travel guide. Heading north from Florence, pass the tourist trap that is the Sea Lion Caves, the parking area for the Haceta Head Lighthouse, and continue another 2 miles to the Washburn State Park day use area for a fantastic loop hike with minimal crowds that offers all the best features of the Oregon Coast.
Start by picking up the trail opposite the restrooms and head east away from the beach, through a winding tree tunnel, to cross Hwy 101. Follow the road up toward the camping area to the signed Valley Trail, and head south. The trail undulates gently through beautiful coastal rainforest to a fork in a meadow popular with roaming elk. Take the right fork, following signs to Haceda Lighthouse, and soon come upon a viewpoint over a wide meadow with a large beaver pond. From there, start a gentle climb to the trail's end at a small parking area on Hwy 101. Cross to the other side and pick up the trail about 50 yards north. After a short descent, the trail forks left to Haceda Head and right to Hobbit Beach.
Start by going left toward Haceda Head through a forest of spindly windswept Sitka spuce, salal, rhododendron and hedge nettle. The trail starts to climb in earnest to traverse to the other side of the headland. On foggy days, watch the mists swirl eerily though the trees; clear days offer views out over the Pacific. Cresting the headland, switchback down the other side to the 115 year-old Haceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon's most photographed relic of pre-GPS coastal navigation. If it's not too crowded, sign up for a free (though donations are happily accepted) tour of lighthouse that climbs up to the lens room and offers a view into its historical significance. After your tour, some bird and sea lion watching, and absorbing the views down the coast, retrace your trail back over the headland to the Hobbit Beach junction.
Head down the 0.5-mile Hobbit Trail toward the ocean through lush coastal rainforest, displaying a variety of colorful seasonal flowers and mushrooms. At the end of the trail, duck through one of many "Hobbit Tunnels" to emerge onto the open beach. Note the placement of unusual rock and stick piles occasionally left on the beach by supposed mystical creatures. From here, simply wander north up the beach a little over a mile, searching for sand dollars, admiring the layered escarpment of ancient sand dunes, or try spying a whale spout. Look for a stepped trail back to the day use area of Washburn State Park and the end of your loop.
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.6

Waypoints

HAC001

Location: 44.161426, -124.116542

Trailhead is located opposite the restrooms. Head east to cross Hwy 101.

HAC002

Location: 44.159943, -124.113731

Pick up Valley Trail, heading south to Haceda Lighthouse.

HAC003

Location: 44.155358, -124.111203

Fork right at this junction in a grassy meadow. Watch for elk.

HAC004

Location: 44.154708, -124.111975

Continue straight through this junction with the China Creek Trail.

HAC005

Location: 44.147455, -124.115399

Stop for a view of a large meadow with beaver pond.

HAC006

Location: 44.143175, -124.117479

Trail ends at Hwy 101. Cross to other side and pick up again 50 yards north.

HAC007

Location: 44.143727, -124.117885

Haceda/Hobbit junction. Fork left first to visit Haceda Head Lighthouse; take right fork on return to descend to Hobbit Beach.

HAC008

Location: 44.137225, -124.127911

Haceda Head Lighthouse. Sign up for a free tour. Watch birds and sea lions on the rocks below.

HAC009

Location: 44.136719, -124.125562

Historic Lightkeeper's House. More views.

HAC010

Location: 44.145141, -124.121037

Emerge through "Hobbit Holes" onto Hobbit Beach. Head north up beach to complete loop.

HAC011

Location: 44.160633, -124.11783

Short trail back to parking area.

Heceta Lighthouse Viewpoint

Location: 44.137162, -124.126754

Watch for a variety of seabirds and sea lions from the Heceta Lighthouse viewpoint. © Eli Boschetto

Junction

Location: 44.159826, -124.11345

After crossing Hwy 101, pick up the Valley Trail and head south to Hobbit Trailhead/Haceta Lighthouse. © Eli Boschetto

Meadow Fork

Location: 44.155577, -124.111862

Look for elk wandering this meadow before forking right to Heceta Lighthouse. © Eli Boschetto

Meadow View

Location: 44.147509, -124.114952

Beaver pond along the Valley Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Valley Hike

Location: 44.145816, -124.116669

Hiker on the Valley Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Junction

Location: 44.143722, -124.118085

Fork left at the Hobbit Junction to Heceta Lighthouse first, then right to Hobbit Beach on return. © Eli Boschetto

Coast Forest

Location: 44.142182, -124.117784

Sitka rainforest en route to Heceta Head. © Eli Boschetto

Heceta Head

Location: 44.140303, -124.120831

Fog swirls in the trees near the trail crest of Heceta Head. © Eli Boschetto

Enchanted

Location: 44.139903, -124.122248

Trail over Heceta Head. © Eli Boschetto

Don't Step

Location: 44.139041, -124.124694

Watch out for big banana slugs on the Heceta Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Heceta Lighthouse

Location: 44.137285, -124.127483

Heceta Head Lighthouse at the end of the trail. Sign up for a free tour. © Eli Boschetto

Heceta Bluff

Location: 44.136299, -124.125509

Heceta Lighthouse view from near Keeper's House. © Eli Boschetto

Old-school GPS

Location: 44.137254, -124.128213

Peek inside the lens chamber of Heceta Lighthouse on a free tour. © Eli Boschetto

Hobbit Trail

Location: 44.145138, -124.118943

Imagine hobbits and elves hiding among the mossy passages along this short trail to Hobbit Beach. © Eli Boschetto

Hobbit Hole

Location: 44.144953, -124.120746

Delve through small passages to access Hobbit Beach. © Eli Boschetto

Hobbit Beach

Location: 44.14597, -124.121347

Look for mysterious stacks of rocks and sticks adorning Hobbit Beach. © Eli Boschetto

Beach Fossil

Location: 44.15336, -124.120102

Jellyfish washed ashore on Hobbit Beach. © Eli Boschetto