By John Sparks, Volunteer, Trailkeepers of Oregon
Oregon’s 12 lighthouses range from the Warrior Rock Light on Sauvie Island in the Columbia River to the Pelican Bay Lighthouse at Brookings. Licensed by the Coast Guard in 1999, the Pelican Bay Light is one of the country’s newest as well as one of Oregon’s two private lighthouses, along with Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse near Yachats.
Warrior Rock Lighthouse on Sauvie Island. See it on the Warrior Point Hike (Photo by John Sparks)
Oregon’s first lighthouse was built next to the Umpqua River in 1857, but the shifting river bank undermined the structure and a new light was constructed on a bluff in 1894. The Cape Blanco Lighthouse, completed in 1870, is the oldest continually operating light on the Oregon Coast and sits at the westernmost point of Oregon’s mainland.
Two of the state’s coastal lighthouses are on islands, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and Cape Arago Lighthouse on Chief’s Island. Neither of these lighthouses, nor Cape Meares Lighthouse, function any longer. The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse–“Terrible Tilly”–served as a columbarium for a short time, and Chief’s Island with the Cape Arago Lighthouse has been turned over to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw. All other lighthouses have been automated.
“Terrible Tilly” viewed from Tillamook Head. See it on the Clatsop Loop Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
You can visit several of the lighthouses, and tours of some are given in the summer months. You can also incorporate some of the lighthouses into a hike, while others can be viewed from nearby trails.
The 1889 Cape Meares Lighthouse, no longer functioning now. Enjoy the Cape Meares Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
A view across Yaquina Head to the lighthouse. Explore the Yaquina Head Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
The private Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse from Amanda’s Trail. Try the Amanda’s Trail Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
The first-order Fresnel lens of Heceta Head Lighthouse. Make it your destination on the Hobbit Beach to Heceta Head Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
The 1894 incarnation of Umpqua River Lighthouse. Make a diversion from the Lake Marie Loop Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
Cape Arago Lighthouse on Chief’s Island viewed from Sunset Bay State Park. Get views from the Shore Acres Loop Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
Oregon’s oldest operating lighthouse at Cape Blanco. Stop by on the Cape Blanco Loop Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
The privately owned Pelican Bay Light viewed from Brookings Harbor. See it across the bay on the Chetco Point Hike. (Photo by John Sparks)
John Sparks: email@example.com
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