Category Archives: Lighthouse

Warrior Rock Lighthouse (Winter)

Directions: Take Highway 30 West to Sauvie Island. After crossing the bridge onto the island you should make a quick stop into the convenience store to buy a parking pass. It’s required, and you don’t want to make the 13 mile trip to the trailhead only to turn around for a permit. Continue West on Sauvie Island Road for about two miles and then take a right onto Reeder Road. Follow Reeder Road for 12 miles until you reach the trailhead.

Head through the gate and follow the treelined trail. The trail forks quite a few times, stay right every time. Going left at any fork will take you on ATV tracks and they don’t always meet up with the main trail and you will have to backtrack. You get views of the Columbia the whole way and there is access to the beach for the first half mile or so. On a clear day you will get really nice views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood.


The trail is really wide, evenly graded, and easy to follow. It’s mostly dirt and gravel and can get pretty muddy during the rainy months. You’ll switch from wooded areas to open fields a few times as you make your way down to the lighthouse. Everything pretty much looks the same the whole way and it can get a little boring but it’s still a nice hike.


Once you get close to the lighthouse you’ll see a side trail off to the right that takes you down to the beach. Head this way and take a right on the beach for the lighthouse. There are a few logs to sit on right at the lighthouse which makes for a great place to have lunch or watch the boats on the Columbia River. Head back out the way you came in.


On your way out stop at Collin’s Beach (park at the third entrance) and check out the old UFO boat. Collin’s Beach is clothing optional so be prepared for that. Head down to the beach and go right for about 200 feet. It’s covered in graffiti so you wont miss it!


Distance: 7 miles (moderate)

Elevation: Minimal (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the trailhead

Parking Fee: $10 Sauvie Island pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Ticks and nettles on the Warrior Rock trail and nudity on Collin’s Beach

Yaquina Head (Winter)

The distance for this hike depends on what you end up doing.

Directions: Take I-5 South to exit 228. Get on Highway 34 West and then get on Highway 20 West. Take Highway 20 into Newport and take a right onto Highway 101. Drive for about 4.5 miles and take a left onto Lighthouse Drive. There are signs once you are in Newport.

There are multiple things to do at Yaquina Head. For this trip we decided to check out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Cobble Beach. There are multiple trails and coves as well but we didn’t have time for it all! Click here to see a brochure of the area.

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You can walk or drive to the lighthouse and beach area from the interpretive center. If you choose to walk you’ll pick up the trail at the interpretive center parking lot and follow it along the bluffs where it drops you at the lighthouse parking lot. You have a chance of seeing gray whales and harbor seals on the trail. If you drive just follow the road that takes you to the parking area.

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The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest (93 feet) lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. You can sign up at the interpretive center for a tour of the lighthouse. We did the tour and it was definitely worth it. BLM workers dress up and show you around the bottom rooms, share lots of history, and take you up to the top where you get to see the actual light.

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There are viewing decks behind the lighthouse to whale watch and get great views of the ocean. Don’t forget your binoculars!

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For Cobble Beach take the wooden steps down to the rocky beach. It’s one of the more interesting beaches as there is no sand, it’s all cobble and rocky tide pool areas. For the full experience you want to be aware of the tide. You need to visit at low tide, we arrived about 45 minutes before low tide was at it’s peak which worked well. The tide pools are great! We saw starfish, purple sea urchins, anemones, barnacles, snails, mussels, and crabs. It was probably our best tide pool experience. We also saw Harbor Seals and Harlequin Ducks!

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Yaquina Head is a great area for nature lovers and kids. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here!

Distance: 0-1 mile

Elevation: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $7 (good for 3 days)

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This place was really fun, we can’t wait to come back and check out all the stuff we didn’t have time for!

Best Of 2015!

Here is our list of the top hikes we did in 2015!

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side): *Tunnel Falls* We love the Eagle Creek Trail and this year we finally made it all the way out to Tunnel Falls. We definitely weren’t disappointed!


Columbia River Gorge (Washington side): *Strawberry Island* This was a nice secluded hike that had amazing views of the Gorge and lots of birds.


Mt. Hood: *Zigzag Canyon* This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get amazing views of Mt. Hood all throughout the hike. We did this hike in late June and the Lupine were in full bloom!


Oregon Coast: *Bayocean Spit* Who doesn’t love a hike that’s right on the beach?


Washington Coast: *North Head Lighthouse* You can actually go up in this lighthouse. The views are great!


Portland Metro/Outer Portland: *Oak Island* This is one of our favorite hikes on Sauvie Island, the place is covered with cows!


Washington: *Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Fields)* Go here in the spring when the lilies are blooming, it’s very pretty!


Willamette Valley: *Abiqua Falls* This waterfall is becoming more and more popular and we definitely understand why. It’s not the easiest waterfall to reach, but it’s definitely worth the scramble.


Central Oregon: *Smith Rock* We absolutely love this place. There is so much to see you almost need more than one day.


Kayaking: *Scappoose Bay* This was the first place we took our new kayak. There’s lots of places to explore here.


*Overall best hike of 2015*

Painted Hills!

Hands-down the most interesting place we’ve ever been to. The colors are beautiful and the views up at Carroll Rim are amazing! We HIGHLY recommend this hike!

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Honorable Mentions: *Lower Twin Lake, Youngs River Falls, Lost Lake (hike and kayak), Tom McCall Nature Preserve (go in the spring!), and The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.*

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite hikes of 2015 were!

Wishing everyone happy hiking in 2106!

North Head Lighthouse (Summer)

Directions: From Astoria, Oregon cross the bridge and take a left onto Highway 101. Follow 101 into Ilwaco and then follow signs for Loop 100/Cape Disappointment/North Head. There will be signs directing you to North Head Lighthouse.

This hike starts at the end of the parking area and you have three choices for how you want to start the hike. Heading to the left takes you straight down to the lighthouse, going straight will take you to the three keepers quarters and gift shop (as well as to the lighthouse), and going right will take you up to a viewpoint.

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We chose to start this hike by going straight and seeing the keeper’s quarters first. Follow the signs for the gift shop and you’ll soon be on a gravel path that takes you right in front of the three buildings. The trail continues on past the gift shop and down around the cliff edge dropping you at the lighthouse. DSC_0095This is one of our favorite lighthouses because you can actually go up in it. You must be 7 years of age or older and not wearing open toe shoes. It’s free for anyone 7-17 and $2.50 per person 18 and older. They allow 8 people up at a time. You get to walk the spiral staircase up to the top and there is a volunteer up there with information about the lighthouse. The views are great and it’s a nice picture taking opportunity.

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DSC_0092      DSC_0106We then took the other path back out, it’s wide, paved and well maintained. It takes you gradually uphill back to the parking area. Finally, we took the trail up to the viewpoint. It’s paved as well and you’ll pass by a water tower and an old bunker. The trail ends at a deck with great views of the ocean. DSC_0128

Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 100 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: We love that you can go in the lighthouse and you can’t beat the views on the trails.

Cape Disappointment (Summer)

Directions: From Astoria, Oregon cross the bridge and take a left onto Highway 101. Follow 101 into Ilwaco and then follow signs for Loop 100 and Cape Disappointment. There are signs directing you to the lighthouse.


This hike starts at the parking area for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The paved trail starts at the end of the parking area. The path starts out uphill as you switchback once and end up at the Battery Harvey Allen bunker. It’s worth the quick side trip to wander around and check out the bunker. Once you’re finished exploring the bunker continue on the paved path that skirts around the interpretive center. Keep walking to the end of the paved path where you pick up a dirt and gravel trail that takes you into a wooded area.

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Once you’re back in the trees the trail starts heading downhill gradually as you wind you’re way around Dead Man’s Cove. Soon you’ll come to a sign marking a viewpoint for the cove or directing you left for the lighthouse. Stay heading towards the lighthouse and the trail will drop you at an access road used by the Coast Guard. Follow this road uphill, at some points pretty steeply, and you’ll soon reach the lighthouse.

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There is a little Coast Guard building in front of the lighthouse where they watch the Columbia River bar. The lighthouse isn’t in the best shape but it’s still pretty. It’s only used by the Coast Guard, so there’s no access for the general public.


Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This isn’t the best lighthouse in the Cape Disappointment area and in our opinion not worth the $10 fee. It’s a good side trip if you’ve already purchased a day pass for other places in the area (like North Head Lighthouse).

Cape Meares Lighthouse (Winter)

Directions: From Tillamook get onto Bayocean Road and follow it for a little over 5 miles. You’ll see a big sign at the junction for Cape Meares Lighthouse. Follow the road up the hill and you will soon come to the big parking area.

This hike includes the Lighthouse and Octopus tree.

From the parking area follow marked paved path for the Octopus Tree. This is Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce! The trail leads you uphill past some bathrooms until you reach the giant Octopus Tree, just past the tree is a great viewpoint.


After you’ve visited the tree head back down to the parking area. There are two viewpoints at the parking area that are worth taking a look at. To get to the lighthouse follow the marked and paved path. Once you reach the lighthouse (it’s the Oregon coasts shortest!) it’s a short switchback down to the base. There is seasonal gift shop here as well. This is a loop so head back up the switchback and take the return trail that offers great views of the ocean below.

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There are other areas to check out around the parking area if you have the time.


Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 150 feet

Pet Friendly: Yes

Difficulty: Easy

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Great lighthouse and you can’t beat the view.

Collin’s Beach UFO Boat (Sauvie Island)

We kept hearing about this mysterious UFO boat that sits on Sauvie Island and finally decided to go check it out. It’s really close to the Warrior Rock Trailhead and made for a fun addition to the easy 7 mile hike. We also got to see Warrior Rock in a different season, the hike is much prettier in fall! To read about Warrior Rock Lighthouse and get directions, our previous post is here.

Collins Beach is on the gravel road right before the Warrior Rock Lighthouse trailhead. There are 6 entrances to the beach and you will need to park at entrance three. Take the short trail to the beach and turn right walking on the beach for about 200 feet. The boat is now covered in graffiti and not hard to miss.


I did some digging around and found some more information about the UFO boat. Turns out it was made by a local man back in the 70’s for his family. Here is a Youtube video of a local reporter interviewing the daughter.



If you want to continue on to the lighthouse you can head back to your car and drive the short distance to the trailhead. Or, just turn around and start the hike from Collins Beach (which would only add a half mile or so.)


There is a $7 parking fee for all of Sauvie Island. There are two or three little stores that sell them along the way to the trailhead. Also, Collins Beach is a nude beach, we did this hike on a late October weekend and only saw a few nude people. So, if nudity bothers you, this may not be the best outing for you or your family.

Warrior Rock Lighthouse (Spring 2013)

Directions: Take Highway 30 West to Sauvie Island. After crossing the bridge onto the island you should make a quick stop into the convenience store to buy a parking pass. It’s required, and you don’t want to make the 13 mile trip to the trailhead only to turn around for a permit. Continue West on Sauvie Island Road for about two miles and then take a right onto Reeder Road. Follow Reeder Road for 12 miles until you reach the trailhead.

Getting on to the trail is a bit confusing. You’ll ask yourself, “Do I walk through the gate onto someone’s property where cows are roaming free, or do I walk on the beach along the river?” We chose to walk along the beach. Which went well and was almost pleasant for the first .5 mile or so, until the beach disappears under the Columbia River, out of nowhere, and you’re forced up the bank to walk through bushed and find the trail.

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The actual trail is basically a flat ATV trail lined with 7-foot tall grass and trees. Views of the river are few and far between. However, there are plenty of mosquitos and nettles (seriously like 60% of the plants in some places). After about three miles you enter into a weird marshy, meadow thing, that dumps you back out onto the beach by the lighthouse. There are options to eat lunch on the sand or on grassy, rocky areas. The view here isn’t half bad, but doesn’t entirely make up for the walk there.



*Update* We revisited this hike and found it a lot more pleasant. Check out our new post here.

Distance: 7 miles (moderate)

Elevation: Minimal (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes a portable toilet

Parking Fee: $7 Sauvie Island fee

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: None