By far the best way to get a sense of the dramatic working environments described in the Port Orford Heads State Park museum is to walk the trails that wind around the headland. In addition to perspectives on Nellie's Cove, formerly the home of the Port Orford Lifeboat Station boathouse, and the old Coast Guard watchtower site, you’ll get grand views of the verdant headland. Large and small rocks just off the headland get plenty of wildlife traffic, as does the headland itself; watch for mule deer in the morning, especially. Throughout, this short network of trails is well maintained and easy to walk.
Begin the loop by walking southwest from the parking lot to connect with the Headland Trail. This short trek terminates at a viewpoint that provides fantastic views north toward Cape Blanco, but don’t overlook the rocks below and immediately to the west, a favorite haul-out spot for seals. Continue back along the Headland Trail, and keep straight to join the Nellie's Cove Trail. Stop at the observation tower point, where you’ll have excellent views of Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Humbug Mountain to the south. From the observation tower, continue up the trail to the right toward Nellie's Cove to overlook the site of guard station’s former boathouse. Unfortunately, there is no maintained access down to this fascinating cove; while the area is accessible for the intrepid, it does involve some scrambling and improvisation. Finish the trip with a visit to the museum in the building formerly used as crew quarters.