The day-use area restroom and dump station are temporarily closed. Washburne is located on the east side of Highway 101 with a buffer of native plants between you and the highway. The campsites are spacious. There are several trails of varying difficulty leading from the campsites to the beach, wildlife viewing areas, and second-growth forests. A walking trail leads you under the highway to a five-mile sandy beach and a day-use area, where you'll find space to watch whales, hunt agates, beachcomb, and picnic. Another trail connects you to the Heceta Head trail, which you can use to reach the historic Heceta Head lighthouse (check the Heceta Head Lighthouse web page for information on tours). In the campground at night, you can hear the pounding surf. There is a creek running through the campground, and elk have been known to wander through. Wild rhododendrons bloom in spring.
This trail is magical! You hike through beautiful forest and suddenly come out onto a private beach. I have never seen this area crowded. The hike is very short and easy but it still makes you feel like you have moved a little. Simple but sweet! As a side note, the trailhead can be hard to spot on the highway. It's on the left side going northbound and slightly set back. Hopefully there is another car parked to help!
I made this hike a few weeks ago, Took the Hobbit trail to the beach, walked the beach to Washburne, then crossed the highway preparing to take the Valley trail back but found a sign telling me that portion was closed. So, I did the only thing I thought I could do and hiked the mile and a half back to my car along the 101. A truck tried to change lanes, almost hit me, and knocked me down and embankment where I twisted my ankle.
I went back yesterday and hiked the 1/4 mile to the barricade from the Hobbit trail head parking area.... and the "barricade" is simply a little sign hung over a fully functional bridge. After watching hikers and volunteers cross it with no issue, I did too. Afterward, I spoke with a Ranger who told me the hillside is slowly eroding so they closed the bridge as a precautionary measure.
Word to the wise: If you find yourself in the same position, TAKE THE VALLEY TRAIL ANYWAY! Crossing a six foot long bridge that may collapse in a year or two is far less dangerous than taking your life in your hands to take the 101 back!
P.S. The hike is peaceful and beautiful :)
I first hiked this trail in 1986, and it's where I fell in love with OR and decided to live here someday. Hiked it again shortly after moving to Eugene 10 years later. And since then of course. Always magical and quite popular especially in good weather.
Judie F. on Hobbit Trail and China Creek Trail Loop
We just completed this hike, starting on the trail head at the Heceta Lighthouse and continuing on the Hobbitt Trail to the beach. This is a beautiful ~6 mile hike out and back through a mature rain forest with towering trees and beautiful ferns and foliage. It is mostly an easy hike but with the rise in elevation, it's a decent excursion through lush scenery and great ocean views. The Hobbit trail portion is a short 1/2 mile jaunt to the lovely, uncrowded sand beach. This hike is a gem if your looking for a half day excursion with a mild to moderate (depending on your hiking experience) hike, I highly recommend these great trails in the Heceta Head and Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park area.