Yachats is a small community at the mouth of the Yachats River on the central Oregon coast, about 54 miles (87 km) northwest of Eugene and 22 miles (35 km) south of Newport, Oregon. The Yachats River flows through the Coast Range for about 12 miles ((19 km) and has a watershed of 27,760 acres (11,234 ha). The name is derived from the Alsea language and translates to “at the foot of the mountain”. The Alsea people in this area were hunter-gatherers who migrated between summer camps and winter residences. The mouth of the Yachats River was used to access seals and sea lions, salmon, and a historical smelt run.
Much of the central Oregon coastline is dominated by black basalt rock, the result of lava flows over 50 million years ago. The result is a rough and rugged shoreline that was only accessible by a primitive trail. For many centuries the Yachats Trail was used for traveling between Alsea Bay and the Yachats River. Later it became County Road 804 and used through the 19th century by horse-drawn carriages.
The Alsea Tribe had many villages on the rivers of the central Oregon coast. There is archaeological and linguistic evidence of a Yahuch band of the Alsea located on the coast at the Yachats River about 1500 years ago. By 1860 when the area was opened to homesteading, the Yahuch band was extinct, many having succumbed to European diseases such as smallpox, influenza, and tuberculosis. Today the Alsea are part of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. The area remained isolated until an all-weather road, the Oregon Coast Highway, was built from Florence in 1931. Today the principal industries are tourism and recreation, and some limited timber extraction and fishing. Read more here and here. Explore more of Yachats and the central Oregon coast here: