Friday, January 3, 2014

Mile 174.4 to Mile 190.3: Yachats to Washburne State Park

Notations such as “(Hike 50)” refer to hikes in my book Day Hiking: Oregon Coast.

Cumulative mileage figures in parentheses refer to mileage in this section only.

After Yachats, southbound OCT hikers enter a stretch of coastline characterized by a couple of rocky headlands, which means some nice forest trails—and some highway walking, though not too much. Once you get to the other side of Heceta Head you will have no shortage of uninterrupted beach to walk on. For days.

From the end of the Yachats 804 trail, follow US 101 south over the Yachats River bridge and immediately turn right on Yachats Ocean Road and follow it for a mile, until it loops back to US 101. Pick up the little path parallel to the highway’s west shoulder, following it south 0.4 mile as it crosses a little footbridge and  then crosses the highway at Windy Way and continues south on the east side of US 101, a total of 0.4 miles, to the bottom of Amanda's Trail, in photo at right (Hike 50). Follow the trail up Cape Perpetua 2.2 miles (fairly steep for the first 1.5 miles) to a junction; go right and right again to reach the stone shelter and viewpoint at the top of Cape Perpetua (4.1 miles).
Continue through the shelter on the path to where it meets St. Perpetua Trail (Hike 51) and follow it 1.5 miles down the south side of Cape Perpetua to the interpretive center (toilets/water). The OCT resumes as a path parallel and just west of the entrance road; shortly it crosses that road and continues south, just above the highway, crossing Gwynn Creek after 1 mile and ending at a gravel road leading east to Cummins Creek Trail; take it west 0.1 mile to U.S. Highway 101 (7 miles). Now you’re back on the highway shoulder for about 1.5 miles to Bob Creek and perhaps another 0.6 mile or so until you can find a way to squeeze between houses and get back to the beach. You get about 0.7 miles on the beach until you wade across Tenmile Creek and, just beyond it, must return to the highway at Stonefield Beach Wayside (10 miles). Walk the highway shoulder for 2.8 miles to Rock Creek, where the Forest Service has a small (15 sites) campground with potable water and vault toilets (see below). Cross the creek and follow a little trail down to the beach, continuing south for 1.1 miles to China Creek (13.9).

If you want to continue hiking at this point, cross China Creek and go about 1.7 miles more; approaching Heceta Head (photo at left), watch for an OCT trail post in the brush at the edge of the beach; it's the end of the Hobbit Trail (Hike 60), which leads out to US 101 and the start of the southbound lighthouse trail (Hike 62).

 If, at China Creek, you're ready to call it a day, cross the creek and pick up the asphalt path that starts just over the foredune; it leads 0.5 mile to Washburne State Park, which has a hiker-biker camp. When you’re ready to resume your trek, pick up China Creek Trail (Hike 61) at the south end of the park and walk it 1.6 miles to US 101, Cross the highway to pick up the southbound lighthouse trail (Hike 62).

Rock Creek Campground is typically open from mid-May to mid-September; it’s quiet and small, with no RV hook-ups. Sites may be reserved in advance, so it’s possible it will be booked up when you arrive (there is no hiker-biker camp).  There are a few motels scattered along the highway in this stretch.

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