Monday, September 29, 2014

Amanda and the Hobbits

Camping at the Hobbit Trails! I've been to the Hobbit Trails many times, but have never camped at the campsite near the Trails and I finally got to do it, in the waning good weather of September. The campsite is called Carl G. Washburne. Set in an appropriately hobbity coastal forest, this campground has numerous drive-in sites, a couple of yurts, some hiker/biker camps and 7 tent-only sites. The tent sites are great! No cars are allowed in the actual camping spaces. Instead, you park in a little parking lot and then you walk your stuff into the site:

They provide these little Shire-like wheelbarrows for you to load your stuff in.

Not having cars directly on the sites adds to the relaxing, serene quality of the experience.

There are, however, bears, so its advisable to keep your food in your car or in the provided metal bear box.
We didn't see any bears, but we did see bear poop, so we took that advice very seriously. The sign also mentioned cougar sightings:

Bear box
I've had a bear harass me at a campsite before and it was no fun. So I can tell you from personal experience that you will want to follow the warnings---but don't let that dampen your enthusiasm for camping here, it's such a great place!

Additionally, it's just a skip across the highway to the day-use section of the site and you have this:

The Hobbit Trails can be accessed from the day-use site and they will take you all the way to Heceta Lighthouse if you choose (and when you get there, do take the lighthouse tour!). We stayed on the beach, however, because it was such a glorious day.

We also went into the tiny town of Yachats, which is further up the coast, to hike the Amanda Trail.

View of the ocean from the Amanda Trail

This trail will take you all the way to the top of Cape Perpetua where you will see some of the most dramatic ocean views you are likely to see in Oregon, plus a 1930s era stone lookout house. But, the primary soul of the Amanda Trail is in it's namesake---Amanda was a Native American woman who was force-marched, along with a group of other Native people, to a reservation in the 1800s that was little better than a prison camp. She happened to be blind, which most surely made the journey that much more difficult. A South Lincoln County News article of 2009 describes it in this way:

"The story of Amanda’s Trail began in 1864 when the U.S. Cavalry rounded up the coastal Coos and Lower Umpqua tribes, forcibly and inhumanely driving them to walk the rugged route over sharp rocks and blackberry brambles to the designated reservation at the Alsea sub-agency, a dumping ground for coastal Indian tribes."

The Amanda Trail as a hiking trail and spiritual tribute began it's journey around 25 years ago and you can read the history of how it came to be here, through the combined efforts of persistant and deeply caring people.
Joanne and Norman Kittel were instrumental in this effort, going so far as to grant a permanent easement on their property for the purposes of the trail.


After hiking through the forest for a time you come to a bridge where the Amanda statue is located, nestled in a bowl of ferns. Over time, people have left offerings at the site. 

The Amanda statue is the work of artist Sy Meadow

After leaving the Amanda monument, the trail begins the climb up the north face of Cape Perpetua. This part of the trail is strenuous and probably not for beginning hikers. The entire round trip hike is a little over 5 miles. However, as I mentioned before, the views from up top are unbeatable---except when it's fogged in, as it was on the day we did the hike. Still, the stone house was very atmospheric in the swirling mists:

At the top, you will also see the Elephant tree:

So, well worth the hike if you can do it---also, you will avoid the 5.00 fee that is charged if you just drive to the top of Cape Perpetua :)

The Amanda Trail is not well-marked from Yachats. You will need to park somewhere on Yachats Ocean Drive (there are pull-off points along the beach side), which is across the highway from the trail, and walk on a little auxiliary trail along the highway before you come to Windy Way, which is where you will then (carefully) cross the highway and access the trail. There is a small trail marker there, but it's not immediately obvious. Wear shoes suitable for the hike---there is some scrambling over tree roots, even on the relatively easy sections.

A note on the Carl G Washburne campsite: It's open year round, it's first come first serve (except for the yurts which need to be reserved) and the tent sites are 21.00 a night. Now, I'm going to have an older person moment here and just say it----I remember when tent sites were 5.00 a night!!! What the hell happened?!! Anyways, still, it's worth it and there is so much to do in the vicinity you won't regret your stay.


  1. This looks absolutely stunning, well worth the exertion for those incredible views. x

  2. That looks amazing! That first photo is especially gorgeous .