Port Orford Heads State Park Trails

Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon

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Port Orford Heads State Park Trails

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  • The former Port Orford Lifeboat Station barracks are now a museum.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • To walk the headland loop, begin with the Headland Trail.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • The Headland Trail opens to spectacular views.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • The view north to Garrison Lake and Cape Blanco in the distance.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • The Headland Trail, Port Orford Headlands State Park.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Seals hauling out on a foggy day just off of Port Orford Headlands.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Port Orford Headlands State Park.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • On a clear day, the views stretch for miles.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Port Orford Headlands State Park.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Portions of the trails are paved.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • The site of the former Coast Guard lookout tower.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Though distant, Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Humbug Mountain are visible from the headlands.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • The trail to Nellie's Cove.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • Nellie's Cove was the location for the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Boathouse.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
  • A sea wall and pilings are still visible in the cove. Access to the cove is not maintained.- Port Orford Heads State Park Trails
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short, well-maintained trails. Great views in good weather. Wildlife. Unique history.
Cons: 
Fog frequently obscures views.
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Region:
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
150.00 ft (45.72 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
142.00 ft (43.28 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

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.
 

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