Yaquina Head North
Yaquina Head North is open but call manager Site Manager 541 574-3100. ahead of time during spring nesting season (through July) to verify it is okay and be sure to check-in when you show up.
NOTE! This is an extremely dangerous place to launch or land on top when the wind is even slightly above soaring strength. You may need to use your best ground-handling skills to down your glider quickly, surely and on the first try in winds near your wing's maximum air speed or you can say good-bye to your good health and judgment as you are dragged over the cliff which is only 40-80 feet directly behind launch.
Description of Site: Yaquina is a north-facing ridge about 225' MSL which has been flown by hangpilots since the early '70s. Ridge soaring is possible in N-NW winds and you should find that the wind is somewhat stronger on launch than away from the slope. For example, staying 100 feet in front, I have flown with no trim and no speedbar, and slight positive ground speed, while the wind speed at launch is north at 25-28. So remember, if your penetration is poor, you won't be able to launch again unless you get far down the cliff face. Wind strength often peaks in the early- to midafternoon and drops precipitously an hour or so before sunset. If you find you're gradually losing altitude, top-land or you'll likely experience beach suck. I have often experienced the wind changing from smooth to bumpy a few minutes before dropping to less than soarable. The best lift is on the west end of the permitted flying area. Once, I caught a thermal over water that took me to 810 feet.
Directions to launch: At the north end of town, take Lighthouse drive west just over half a mile to the gravel road on the right. There is a $7 entrance fee to pay before entering. About halfway along you will see a locked gate. Park so as not to block access. Just inside the gate is a sign describing the flying regulations. Even though it refers to hang gliders, it applies to us. I think that, legally, we are all hang glider pilots. A few steps past the sign, turn left, climb the 8' height and you will be on the landing plateau I will describe. Continue another eighty or so yards west and you're at launch. Pay close attention to the wind strength near the edge as you walk; you may choose to land almost anywhere along this edge.
Landing Zones: One of the LZs is a small parking area just below launch and about 100 yards to the northeast. It's easy in northwest winds to spot-land this area but don't try it when the wind is north; you will get rotored in the wind shadow behind the trees. The walk up from the beach is a steep rugged "trail" up the western cliff face beginning just below that small parking area which is at the end of Fifty-fifth Street. Yaquina is a terrific place to practice top-landing. There are four principal places to do that. This list is not in order of safety or difficulty necessarily, but in the order that I think is most fun.
1) Hang/paragliding activity is permitted only on historically used places. If you don't know where these are, contact a BLM park manager on duty or a local pilot.
2) Hang/paragliding activity is prohibited west of the red-topped monuments on the ridgetop that forms the west wall of the upper quarry (marked with a red boundary and the number 1 on the map).
3) Between March 1 and August 31, Hang/paragliding activity is prohibited south of Lighthouse Drive, except in the area of the upper quarry (marked by the number 2 boundary) where the southern boundary is defined by 4X4 monuments with amber reflectors which are visible from the air: Prohibited area from March 1 to August 31 is marked by the number 5 boundary on the map.
4) Exception to the March 1 - August 31 closure: a once-per-flight crossing of Lighthouse Drive southward towards the beach. You must cross the road east of the Lighthouse Drive and Quarry Cove Road junction (marked by the number 3 boundary on the map). After pilots cross Lighthouse Drive they are committed to flying away from the hill for the remainder of that flight.
Submitted by: Jim Donaldson on 3/15/95, last revised 5/21/14
Site Liaison: Ryan Kern
NOTICE/update May 4, 2013
Reviewed on July 2014 by Ryan Kern
Yaquina Head North is open but call Site Manager 541 574-3100 ahead of time during spring nesting season to verify it is okay and be sure to check-in when you show up.
750 Lighthouse Drive
Newport, OR 97394