Anchor coast outing at tiny, charming Yachats - By Nate Traylor, Eugene Register Guard (May 14, 2009)
Yachats isn’t a town to pass through on your way to other destinations. It is a destination.
Just a two-hour drive northwest from Eugene will put you at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in this village of 675. Boasting some of the grandest views and geologic wonders of the Oregon Coast, this little oceanfront town has plenty to explore. With ample recreation, charming eateries and gift shops, a weekend in Yachats is easily spent.
The only thing you won’t find are drive-thrus and traffic lights — not that anyone’s complaining.
“My wife says what she likes about Yachats is there are no stoplights and no fast food,” says Max Glenn, a jovial, bearded fellow and self-described “town gadfly.”
It’s a town with a rich history, some of which has been painstakingly preserved. Case in point, the Little Log Church Museum at the corner of Third and Pontiac streets. Built by volunteers in 1930, it became too small by the late ’60s for its Presbyterian congregation, who sold the building to the Oregon Historical Society. Settler exhibits, a collection of seashells and works by local authors and artists can be viewed in the museum six days a week (closed on Thursdays).
Visitors can see the current incarnation of the Presbyterian church at 360 West Seventh. The Yachats Community Presbyterian Church features what is believed to be the world’s only windows made of agate. These gold hued panes — six in all, totaling 217 square feet — were the result of steadfast determination on the part of its minister, the Rev. William Gamble.
Another historical point of interest is the Yachats Covered Bridge. To get there, drive east 7 miles on Yachats River Road. After crossing a cement bridge, turn left. Drive 2 miles up the North Fork of the Yachats River and you’ll come to the barn-red bridge.
It was built in 1938 and is one of Oregon’s shortest bridges, measuring 42 feet. It was restored in 1989 with concrete piers and footings.
Yachats also is dedicated to preserving its natural beauty. Yachats Community Park in the heart of town features a boardwalk that stretches from Fourth to Sixth streets through wetlands lined with large spruce trees. Area ponds and thick vegetation attract avian activity and are home to frogs, newts and other wildlife.
The beach is easily accessible from town on the 804 Trail. To get there, head north on Cedar Avenue toward East Second Street. The footpath (.75 miles long) will lead you to seven miles of wide-open beach where tidepooling, whale watching and other beach activities can be enjoyed.
For the most dramatic scenery, head about 4 miles south of town to Cape Perpetua. Your first stop should be Devil’s Churn. What started as a small fracture in ancient volcanic rock is now a giant chasm that creates crashing waves. The viewpoint puts you close to the action. Watch the waves at their most turbulent during high tide.
Next is the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, just a bit farther south on Highway 101. The entry is to the left. Drive up the winding road, or hike St. Perpetua Trail, to the overlook. At 803 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point on the coast. You can scan more than 65 miles of coastline. Enjoy the view from the stone West Shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s.
Head back down to the Pacific Ocean and experience the oceanic oddity that is Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm. Pounding waves eroded a hole in an undersea cavern from which water shoots, emulating a whale’s spout.
Visit Yachats in July — the weekend after the Fourth — for the annual Yachats International Music Festival. The concert features solo instrumentalists and singers, as well as ensembles, all internationally acclaimed.
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