Oregon Coast Trail (Section 02): Gearhart to Ecola State Park

On this 12.7-mile section of the Oregon Coast Trail, you'll tour two coastal towns, travel to a lighthouse lookout, and skim the edge of craggy headlands.
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On this 12.7-mile section of the Oregon Coast Trail, you'll tour two coastal towns, travel to a lighthouse lookout, and skim the edge of craggy headlands.

Stretching from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border, the 382-mile Oregon Coast Trail links sandy shoreline, rugged headlands, and numerous state parks. The second section of the OCT starts in the town of Gearhart and travels 12.7 miles to Ecola Point in Ecola State Park.
From the west end of 10th Street in Gearhart, walk south along the beach for half a mile, then turn left to connect with the Ridge Trail. The route briefly follows the Ridge Trail before meandering through town and merging onto the Oregon Coast Highway for a 0.6-mile stretch to the town of Seaside. At mile 3.5, turn left and head south on Seaside's Promenade, a 1.5-mile boardwalk that overlooks the ocean.
At the end of the Promenade, turn right onto Ocean Vista Drive/Sunset Drive and follow it to Ecola State Park. At mile 6.4, turn left on Tillamook Head Trail (prepare to gain more than 1,000 feet of elevation in the next 1.6 miles). The route travels past Tillamook Head at mile 9.5, then visits Tillamook Head Lighthouse overlook and Indian Beach. The section hike ends at Ecola Point parking area at mile 12.7. Pick up your shuttle car and return to Gearhart.
CAUTION: Do not try to round headlands without knowledge of tide heights and times. Bring a tide chart and a detailed topo map. Free tide tables are available at state park offices, information centers, and the Hatfield Marine Science Center website.
INFO: Oregon Coast Trail and Ecola State Park
MORE OREGON COAST TRAIL MAPS
Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
-Mapped by Echo Hobbs, Salem Hiking Meetup

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 20.4

Waypoints

OCT014

Location: 46.0309046, -123.9284045

From the west end of 10th Street in Gearhart, head southwest toward the shore. From here, views extend south to Tillamook Head and north to Washington.

OCT015

Location: 46.0241147, -123.9290535

The route leaves the beach for the next 3 miles. Turn left and hike east over the dune to reach the Ridge Trail.

OCT016

Location: 46.0240216, -123.9270794

Turn right onto the Ridge Trail, heading south.

OCT017

Location: 46.0191344, -123.9264464

Turn left onto G street for a 0.2-mile stretch along this paved road.

OCT018

Location: 46.0191344, -123.9218169

Turn left onto Wellington Avenue (unsigned).

OCT019

Location: 46.0198198, -123.9217687

Turn right onto F Street.

OCT020

Location: 46.0198608, -123.9191401

Turn right onto Hagar Avenue.

OCT021

Location: 46.0191605, -123.9191106

Turn left onto G Street, heading east to OR 101 (Oregon Coast Highway).

OCT022

Location: 46.0191568, -123.9156103

Cross Neacoxie Creek and continue heading east.

OCT023

Location: 46.0189668, -123.9114475

Turn right onto OR 101 and head south.

OCT024

Location: 46.0109385, -123.9113456

Cross the Neawanna River on the bridge and veer right onto 24th Avenue.

OCT025

Location: 46.0104206, -123.9145643

Bear left onto Holladay Drive.

OCT026

Location: 46.0069537, -123.9181316

Stop at this spot along the Necanicum River to take a break and admire the views.

OCT027

Location: 46.0015527, -123.9207172

Turn right onto 12th Avenue and cross the Necanicum River. Continue onto boardwalk.

OCT028

Location: 46.001521, -123.9272994

You have 2 options here: 1. Turn left onto the Promenade (a 1.5-mile, concrete boardwalk) and follow it south; 2. Continue to the beach, then turn left, paralleling the Promenade.

OCT029

Location: 45.9846847, -123.9323473

Side trip: Turn left onto Lewis and Clark Way and go 200 feet to the Salt Cairn (on the right). This stone furnace is a replica of the one built by the Lewis and Clark expedition to extract salt from boiling saltwater.

OCT030

Location: 45.9813522, -123.9336455

Pass another scenic spot overlooking the ocean (good place to take a break).

OCT031

Location: 45.9805471, -123.9339942

At the end of the Promenade, follow the sidewalk through a small apartment complex to Ocean Vista Drive.

OCT032

Location: 45.9797419, -123.9339566

Turn right onto Ocean Vista Drive.

OCT033

Location: 45.9766999, -123.9360595

Turn right onto Ocean Vista Drive (becomes Sunset Boulevard) and follow it into Ecola State Park.

OCT034

Location: 45.975313, -123.9402866

After passing Seaside Golf Course, the route starts to climb steadily.

OCT035

Location: 45.9735459, -123.9540625

Turn left and head south on Tillamook Head Trail. The path steepens as it travels into cool forest en route to Tillamook Head. Prepare to gain more than 1,000 feet of elevation in the next 1.6 miles.

OCT036

Location: 45.9612041, -123.968643

This 1,245-foot point marks the highpoint of the section hike.

OCT037

Location: 45.9495505, -123.9801223

Clark's Viewpoint: Gaps in trees reveal views across the Pacific Ocean.

OCT038

Location: 45.942884, -123.9845967

Turn right at the junction, and hike west to the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint.

OCT039

Location: 45.9422871, -123.9879763

This overlook offers distant views of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, which is located roughly 1 mile from shore. Built on top of a rock in 1881, the lighthouse's tempestuous location inspired its nickname "Terrible Tilly." Next, turn around, return to Waypoint 37, and turn right. Look for an old bunker located next to the trail on the right.

OCT040

Location: 45.9374748, -123.9845109

The trail merges back onto the road and continues its descent toward Indian Point.

OCT041

Location: 45.9315129, -123.9798975

Look down onto Indian Beach from this scenic viewpoint.

OCT042

Location: 45.9317293, -123.9789534

Turn right, heading south-southeast toward the Indian Beach parking area.

OCT043

Location: 45.9291101, -123.9769149

After crossing the bridge, veer left. The trail begins to climb.

OCT044

Location: 45.9278788, -123.9766467

Turn around for distant views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.

OCT045

Location: 45.9196395, -123.9742702

The section hike ends at the Ecola Point parking lot. Pick up your shuttle car and return to Waypoint 14.

Ecola Point in Ecola State Park

Location: 45.9265579, -123.9758635

The Ridge Trail

Location: 46.0235039, -123.9269614

Neacoxie Creek

Location: 46.019153, -123.9155459

Break Spot

Location: 46.0069518, -123.9180967

Necanicum River

Location: 46.0015638, -123.9221656

Beach in Seaside

Location: 45.9991081, -123.9283347

Salt Cairn

Location: 45.984435, -123.9318967

Ocean Views

Location: 45.9813466, -123.9341524

View to Washington

Location: 45.9746122, -123.9441383

Trail Views

Location: 45.9514182, -123.9757669

"Clark's Pointe of Viewe"

Location: 45.9495981, -123.97964

Picnic Shelter

Location: 45.9426229, -123.9853799

View of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Location: 45.9423319, -123.9878154

Indian Beach

Location: 45.9315428, -123.9797258

View of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Location: 45.9278788, -123.9765286