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Deep Inside Oregon Coast's Yachats State Recreational Area: Fun, Facts, Features

Published 07/10/2017 at 2:24 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Deep Inside Oregon Coast's Yachats State Recreational Area: Fun, Facts, Features

(Yachats, Oregon) – Right behind downtown Yachats sits one of the Oregon coast's greatest treasures: Yachats State Recreational Area. Picnicking, fishing and viewpoints are the big attraction here, and it's a decent spot to see whales as well.

Hence this complete guide to the state park's attractions, features, hiking, and fun facts.

There's essentially three main parts to Yachats State Recreational Area: the parking lot and its viewing spots, the rocky slabs with the raging ocean, and the sights and sands along the mouth of Yachats Bay. Not all of this is always accessible, but what makes it dangerous is also what makes the park engaging to watch.

The borders of this state park run from W 3rd St. to just around the bend of the bay – approximately a half mile of scenic walks and bulky boulders. The centerpiece is the grassy patch and parking area with restrooms and the viewing platform, and from there you can usually walk down a set of steps to the wild and woolly shoreline that's full of surprises.


One of the highlights is the crushed concrete stairway you'll find, which was destroyed sometime in the '90s by a major storm. It was still fairly new in 1993, when Oregon Coast Beach Connection founders first started visiting the area. Then one day it was no more. It took a few years for the next stairway to be built in the early 2000's, and in between, getting up and down that stretch was perilous at times.

From here, the rocky shelves start and stop as you head north, and the sands here are a thick, rather ouchy brand of grain that can be a bit rough once inside your shoes or on bare feet. These tiny pocket beaches (really just spots of sand between two giant slabs) are a kick.

Other highlights include looking for agates and the big, weirdly shaped holes in the basalt – only traversable at lower tides however.

After this entrance, there is not an easily accessed one for another good mile. Keep that in mind if tides are rough: you may get hurt if you stray into a stretch that's small. However, Oceanview Dr. continues on for awhile above the cliffs and offers some awesome little spots to watch the waves from a bench or two. It then loops back up onto Highway 101, where the next public access is almost a mile north at the start of the 804 Trail.


Insider's Tip: hang out here at night. The lights on the bay are magical.

Hiking. There's no hiking trail at the Yachats State Recreational Area, per se (see the paragraph above). There are some nearby. In the 1998 edition of his book “100 Hikes / Travel Guide, Oregon Coast & Coast Range,” William L. Sullivan is writing about what is still called Yachats State Park at the time.

“Hollywood has filmed Yachats' wave-pounded coast often enough that even big-name stars have discovered this little town's funky coffeeshops, romantic bed & breakfast inns and surprisingly suave restaurants,” he wrote sometime before 1995.

Sullivan notes the fant-abulous hiking spots around the area, including the miles of sandy beach just north of town, various trails on Cape Perpetua, Cummins Ridge, and Gynn Creek. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

History. For awhile it was called Yachats Park, and then as recently as the early 2000's it was still called Yachats State Park. Sometime since then it's name was changed to Yachats State Recreational Area. It came came from various land gifts and purchases, including from Lincoln County and a citizen named L.P. Gill, all happening between 1928 to 1986.

Before that, the area around Yachats was occupied by a tribe actually called Wooshea, according to Lincoln County historical records, which was somehow transmuted by white conquerors into the "Alsea" tribe. All remnants of their semi-earthen homes were destroyed in the paving over of the area, although some archaeological digs have discovered their presence goes back as far as 1500 years ago.

A Freaky Fact: they weren't treated very nicely in life – or in death. More on the history of Yachats. Some parts of the highway covered over tribal burial grounds. There are bones beneath that road.

Geologically, this part of the central Oregon coast is fascinating. It's a mishmash of basalt eruptions from as far east as near Idaho and some local volcanoes about 50 million years ago. (Cape Perpetua is one of these volcanoes.)

Important Travel Facts:

GPS coordinates are: 44.3105° N, 124.1074° W. It is close to milepost 164 on Highway 101.

Yachats State Recreational Area has flushable toilets which are ADA compliant. Most of its concrete walkways are also wheelchair-accessible.

There's a drinking fountain at the restrooms.

Feeding seagulls is tempting here, but it's a big no-no (although you won't see signs saying so). Seagulls can get sick on human food, and it causes them to interact with humans in negative ways. This includes contaminating local water.


Beach Safety: Safety is a huge issue along this part of the central Oregon coast because the rocky shelves sit right up against the waters. It's important to keep back from the waves, especially in late fall, winter and spring when waters are wilder.

You need only look at the large chunks of driftwood farther up the embankment to see how powerful the breakers are here.

More at the Yachats Virtual Tour. State Parks info: (800) 551-6949.

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