Oregon Coast Trail: Seaside to Arch Cape

Slip past tides along cliffy coasts on an easy-to-plan long weekend.
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Slip past tides along cliffy coasts on an easy-to-plan long weekend.

The 382-mile Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) is your gateway to the state’s entire Pacific edge: rainforests, sea stacks, and beaches, as well as shoreline towns for grabbing ice cream on the way. This 15.7-mile section, only an hour from Portland, offers the perfect balance of convenience, scenery, and wild moments. Take three days to accommodate sparse camping and several spots passable only at low tide. Top off water at frequent frontcountry sites: the campsites are dry.

From the north end of Ecola State Park, head south on the OCT, climbing 1,000 feet through spruce and alder rainforest to the bluffs of Tillamook Head. Hit Ecola’s backpacker’s camp at mile 3.6, where you can pitch your tent or luxe it up in four-bunk shelters (both first-come, first-serve).

In the morning, continue south 1.3 miles on a gravel road, then detour down to Indian Beach’s tide pools. Continue south on the OCT above the beach for 1.2 miles to Ecola Point. From the upper parking area restroom (a good water source), the trail winds a mile through spruce and hemlock forest with occasional ocean views before petering out at Ecola Park Road; walk the roadside for .8 mile to enter the coastal community of Cannon Beach (lunch options abound). Access the beach at the west end of 2nd Street and head south. After a mile, pass toothy, 235-foot Haystack Rock . At mile 11.4, Silver Point’s rocky abutment is passable only during lower tides. Continue along the beach, past Jockey Cap, a large sea stack. Cross Clayton Creek to Humbug Point, also passable only during low tide. Roughly a mile south, drop your gear at a campsite in a cliffside nook.

Day three, round Hug Point near lowest tide. Continue south along the beach through Hug Point State Park to the beachfront community of Arch Cape. Proceed nearly to the impassable Arch Cape; exit onto Leech Lane and walk .5 mile to US 101 (get a cab back to Seaside; see right)..

-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, BoscoMountainPhoto

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 25.2

Waypoints

SEA001

Location: 45.973556, -123.954161

Ecola State Park trailhead. No overnight parking; park down road in residential area.

From the north end of Ecola State Park, head south on the OCT, climbing 1,000 feet through spruce and alder rainforest to the bluffs of Tillamook Head.

SEA002

Location: 45.971562, -123.955986

Trail junction; continue straight (south) on OCT.

SEA003

Location: 45.961712, -123.968686

Cross a wooden boardwalk thru this marshy section of trail.

SEA004

Location: 45.960812, -123.968784

Find a short side trail to clifftop ocean views.

SEA005

Location: 45.951335, -123.97595

Good "window" thru the trees with ocean views.

SEA006

Location: 45.945941, -123.986706

"Summit" of Tillamook Head; good ocean views.

SEA007

Location: 45.942667, -123.984904

Hit Ecola's backpacker's camp at mile 3.6, where you can pitch your tent or luxe it up in four-bunk shelters (both first-come, first-serve). In the morning, continue south 1.3 miles on a gravel road. Optional: A short path descends west to the Tillamook Head viewpoint.

SEA008

Location: 45.942199, -123.988092

Tillamook Head viewpoint; ocean views with Tillamook Rock Lighthouse 1.5 miles offshore.

SEA009

Location: 45.931296, -123.978617

Restroom at Indian Beach.

SEA010

Location: 45.931057, -123.978507

Detour down to Indian Beach’s tide pools, then continue south on the OCT above the beach for 1.2 miles.

SEA011

Location: 45.930362, -123.977682

Cross a wooden bridge over Canyon Creek.

SEA012

Location: 45.92783, -123.976797

Good viewpoint of Indian Beach arch and sea stacks.

SEA013

Location: 45.919321, -123.974264

Ecola Point. Paved trail west leads to Ecola Point viewpoint.

SEA014

Location: 45.919115, -123.973074

From the upper parking area restroom (a good water source), the trail winds a mile through spruce and hemlock forest with occasional ocean views.

SEA015

Location: 45.917193, -123.971302

Good viewpoint of Crescent Beach.

SEA016

Location: 45.915482, -123.967763

Small creek crossing.

SEA017

Location: 45.912346, -123.967482

Short side trail right (west) to Crescent Beach.

SEA018

Location: 45.911756, -123.965248

Trail peters out at Ecola Park Road; turn right (south) to walk the roadside for .8 mile to enter the coastal community of Cannon Beach. Access the beach at the west end of 2nd Street and head south.

SEA019

Location: 45.903726, -123.959737

Turn left on 5th Street.

SEA020

Location: 45.90265, -123.957445

Turn right on Fir Street; cross bridge over Ecola Creek and enter the coastal community of Cannon Beach (lunch options abound).

SEA021

Location: 45.900571, -123.95857

Turn right on 3rd Street. Good food at El Mariachi and Lumberyard Grill.

SEA022

Location: 45.900499, -123.960017

Quick left turn on Spruce Street, then right to continue on 3rd Street.

SEA023

Location: 45.900036, -123.960886

Left on Hemlock Street.

SEA024

Location: 45.898297, -123.960854

Right on 2nd Street; descend to beach and continue south.

SEA025

Location: 45.898081, -123.959682

Public restroom on corner of 2nd Street and Spruce Street.

SEA026

Location: 45.897423, -123.960886

Grocery store.

SEA027

Location: 45.884334, -123.965946

Pass toothy, 235-foot Haystack Rock.

SEA028

Location: 45.857608, -123.964311

At mile 11.4, Silver Point’s rocky abutment is passable only during lower tides. Continue along the beach, past Jockey Cap, a large sea stack. Cross Clayton Creek.

SEA029

Location: 45.848075, -123.962227

Humbug Point, also passable only during low tide.

SEA030

Location: 45.834528, -123.961298

Roughly a mile south, drop your gear at a campsite in a cliffside nook.

SEA031

Location: 45.831534, -123.963062

Day three, round Hug Point near lowest tide.

SEA032

Location: 45.830967, -123.962409

Hug Point sea caves.

SEA033

Location: 45.829846, -123.961916

Small waterfall on Fall Creek. Not a reliable source of water.

SEA034

Location: 45.823057, -123.962941

Continue south along the beach through Hug Point State Park to the beachfront community of Arch Cape .

SEA035

Location: 45.804452, -123.966121

Proceed nearly to the impassable Arch Cape; exit onto Leech Lane and walk .5 mile to US 101.

SEA036

Location: 45.80436, -123.964331

End of route.

Oregon Coast Trailhead

Location: 45.973225, -123.95359

Adirondack Shelters

Location: 45.942913, -123.984575

View from Tillamook Head

Location: 45.942257, -123.988608

Indian Beach

Location: 45.930498, -123.978653

Old-Growth Forest

Location: 45.922438, -123.974018

The Beach

Location: 45.895922, -123.965092

Haystack Rock

Location: 45.884213, -123.965693

Humbug Point

Location: 45.848952, -123.962002

Hug Point

Location: 45.832388, -123.962432

Arch Cape

Location: 45.814922, -123.96389