Ecola State Park may boast lush temperate rain forest, rocky pillars, and gorgeous ocean views—but for the Lewis and Clark expedition, its major draw was a beached whale. The park’s highlights remain on this moderate 12.5-mile weekend along the Oregon Coast Trail, a work in progress planned to stretch 400 miles from the Columbia River to California.
Start at Ecola Point and hike 1.5 miles past tidepools and Pacific panoramas to Indian Beach, then pick up the west side of the Clatsop Loop Trail. The path climbs the south side of Tillamook Head, a basalt outcropping formed by flowing lava; look for an offshore lighthouse along with the volcanic-rock towers and Sitka-spruce-covered slopes. Hike on to reach the park’s primitive cabins for the night.
The next morning, descend the north side of Tillamook Head and trace a beachfront bluff to the Seaside Trailhead for an 8-mile out-and-back dayhike; return to the cabins for another night in the park, or hike the 3 miles back to Ecola Point.
Info: Check with Ecola State Park about user fees. (800) 551-6949.
Hike provided by the National Coast Trail Association.