The Most Breathtaking Walk on the Oregon Coast
By Roxanne Hunnicutt
Entered in our Win a Winter Getaway to the Oregon Coast Contest
I especially love the Oregon Coastal Trail between Brookings and Gold Beach. Here you find some of the most thrilling scenery on all the Oregon coast. Like Bill Bryson in his book A WALK IN THE WOODS, you can hike as far or as little as you want, and return to your car. Alternatively with two cars you can cover a longer section of the trail in the time. Here is one long eight hour walk or two shorter four hours ones not to be missed, I promise. From the north, you might start at Arch Rock, between 345/344 101 mile markers. Go south and look for the wooden post. You will enter a lovely rain forest. In under a half mile you will find the Spruce Island parking lot. Do not miss the view of the cliff edge near Deer Point. Following the road, go down to Secret Beach in just under a mile, then walk over the wood bridge across Miner Creek (Careful: DO use this bridge and do NOT return to 101 by the wider trail. Go up towards the Thunder Cove parking lot and take the loop to view Thunder Cove. It is a sight to not be missed and can be accessed by car, too. Moving south from the parking lot, continue shortly to the Natural Bridge parking area and then go to the Natural Bridge. Just after the overview a trail leads down to the arch. Since this is steep with drop offs, you should just look, not follow it! From here, the trail continues with along the highway. The view south where China Beach becomes visible in just under a mile, are the very best, more awesome and isolated than any others mentioned above. Now tides books are REQUIRED as travel at high tide is not possible so walk this section near low tide and you will not be disappointed, well unless you can’t find the trail: Oregon Coast Trail wooden markers are not at the south end of the beach but near the middle. Sometimes markers are missing. From the south China Beach, climb to Route 101 and the North Island Viewpoint in the next mile and a half. The Thomas Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in the state of Oregon is 345 feet and looks like more. The section south of Thomas Creek Bridge to House Rock is another four hour walk. From south of the Bridge parking lot, find the Trail marker. Go south for looking down on hidden beaches and cliffs. This section of the trail is ON EDGE of the coastal cliffs. It is quite nice and well kept. Do walk on for just over a mile to Indian Sands, an archeological site on the National Register of Historic Places. Evidence of humans here dates to more than 10,000 years. The absolutely gorgeous view at Indian Sands includes the arch and cliffs just south side of the sandy hills. From Indian Sands, go about a half mile to Indian Sands parking lot, then into the woods to Whaleshead Beach. This is almost a mile, with unmarked side trails to look south on the beach and north to cliffs. Whaleshead beach accessible to cars and has restrooms. Go on the trail ton beach and then up to the Whaleshead Beach viewpoint, on Route 101. The trail is quite steep to Route 101, though many sightings of House Rock are offered in this section. Then the Oregon Coast Trail continues to House Rock and the parking lot. Though this section is just a day’s walk of about eight hours, the Oregon Coast Trail continues south to Cape Ferrelo and Lone Ranch. At the Rainbow Rock Condominiums the scenic portion of the trail ends. From there, the Oregon Coast Trail continues on Route 101, through Brookings and down to the California state line, but rest assured if you have taken this route past the bridges, natural and human made, you have seen the very best that the Oregon Coast offers in breathtaking views and breathtaking climbs.