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Newport Beach Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking to Yaquina Head from Nye Beach (bobcat)
Pile of kelp on Agate Beach (bobcat)
Flock of whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus), Nye Beach ( (bobcat)
The Yaquina Bay Bridge from the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (bobcat)
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Newport (bobcat)
The beach hike at Newport (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Lucky Gap TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 195 feet
  • High Point: 115 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

The entire Newport beach front is a varied and pleasant walk, beginning with the looming basalt cliffs and tide pools of Yaquina Head and ending at the North Jetty of Yaquina Bay and the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. State parks, Agate Beach to the north and Yaquina Bay to the south, bracket the long stretch of sandy strand: in the past three decades, winter storms have covered much of the driftwood debris and cobbles that used to back this beach. In the middle of your walk, you'll pass by eroded sandstone formations, including the remnants of the Jump-Off Joe sea stack. In the middle of the beach, there are two convenient trailheads, the Agate Beach Trailhead and the Nye Beach Trailhead, which allow access to the beach. When you reach the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, you can continue under the Yaquina Bay Bridge to the Newport Bayfront (See the Newport Bayfront Hike).

South of the parking area, the signposted Lucky Gap Trail leads down on a paved surface under alders, spruce and willow and lined by elderberry and salal. The trail descends with Lucky Gap Creek on the right and reaches some wooden steps which lead to Agate Beach. Heading right towards the cliffs of Yaquina Head, cross two small creeks and then explore the pocked volcanic surface. At low tide, you can admire the anemones, sculpins, chitons, sea stars, and other assorted denizens of the tide pools. Note that Agate Beach is no longer a happy hunting ground for agate aficionados since the beaches here have been buried under many feet of sand during winter storms. Some experts say that there are still finds in the creek that runs at the back of the beach, however.

Turn back and begin walking south along the beach. Between the tides, hike on the packed sand below the high water mark. Higher on the beach Little and Big Creek combine to flow north along the brushy fringe before turning to the ocean. Pass the trail and tunnel that lead to the Agate Beach Trailhead. Continue south and begin to encounter eroded sandstone formations studded with fossils. Pass near sandstone formations of the middle Miocene protruding from the beach: these are the remains of a former sea stack known as Jump-Off Joe. In just a few decades, Joe's arch has collapsed and the formation is a mere stub of the imposing barrier that once made passage between Nye and Agate Beaches an adventurous scramble.

Jump-Off Joe is the official northern boundary of Nye Beach. Walk below the eroding bluffs: in the 20th century, many houses and developments slid down to the beach in this landslide zone. Next, cross Nye Creek near the Nye Beach Turnaround and Nye Beach Trailhead (One hundred years ago, the turnaround was a public natatorium). Look up to see the buildings of the Yaquina Art Association, the Newport Visual Arts Center, and the iconic Sylvia Beach Hotel, which has individually decorated rooms in memory of famous literary figures. Continue south: before you cross another small creek, you'll see a paved path leading up the grassy bluff to Don Davis Park and a whale-watching gazebo. There's a breakwater leading into the ocean which has small tide pools.

The beach walk takes you below the bluffs on Nye Beach with a series of hotels above. Come to the grass-covered dunes at the mouth of the Yaquina River: here, the North Jetty juts into the ocean. Cut in across the dunes and pick up the trail leading into a thicket of shore pine, twinberry, salal, and thimbleberry (There are two paths up the bluff here: the north path can be under water; if so, take the path that is a little farther south). The trail heads up steps and switchbacks to the road that circles around Yaquina Bay State Park and the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Go right past the pine-shaded picnic area to a viewpoint at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Trailhead overlooking the entrance to Yaquina Bay and the Yaquina Bay Bridge, as well as the jetties and South Beach. Then, head up the steps to the lighthouse if the gate is open. This is the only wood lighthouse in Oregon and, constructed in 1871, it is Newport's oldest building. The lighthouse is only open 12 p.m. - 4 p.m., but not every day of the week though, so if you haven't timed your visit, just enjoy a stroll around the grounds of the state park. There’s a covered information kiosk here with information about the lighthouse, the bay, and local shipwrecks. Go left past the restrooms and find the Fishermen’s Memorial Pavilion, with an inscribed altar of all those who have lost their lives at sea. Walk behind this into a dense salal, rhododendron, wax-myrtle, evergreen huckleberry thicket and take paved trails that lead to the right and up over the knoll behind the lighthouse, passing some abandoned picnic sites. Go right to return to views of the river mouth, and then descend one of the paths to the dunes and the beach to return.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No fees
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms at state parks and Nye Beach

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • Oregon Coast Trail: Hiking Inn to Inn by Jack D. Remington
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking the Oregon Coast by Lizann Dunegan
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Oregon's North Coast by Lizann Dunegan
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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