Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail
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Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail

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Are you in Southern Oregon along the coast? Are you looking for a beautiful day hike? Look no further! Craggy bluffs, secluded beaches and beautiful vistas await you along the 18 miles of scenic Oregon coast located between Brookings and Gold Beach along the Highway 101. This is part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. I think you will enjoy hiking the Oregon Coast Trail or at the very least stopping to check out the viewpoints.

First of all, it’s scenic. You hike on beaches, spruce forests, sand dunes and more.

It’s peaceful as in we didn’t see another person on the trail the whole afternoon! We saw only one couple at one of the lookout points and that’s it! Is that not peaceful?

You can bring your dog along!

Did I mention the vistas?


Suji thinks anytime I get down at his level he can lick my face. Paul caught this just after Suji had been successful with his licking.

Our hike

We parked at the lookout point for Whaleshead Beach and hiked down to the beach(part of the trail) and continued for about 3 miles to Indian Sands. Our hike was thoroughly enjoyed by all (humans and dogs) and it only took the afternoon with plenty of stopping for photos and taking in the breathtaking views.

slug on trail as large as my hand!

Plus, we saw a huge snail along the route, plenty of wildflowers in bloom (wild irises in particular), hiked on beach, through spruce forest with creeks and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the sand dunes, a neat geological phenomenon!

How many places can you hike through forest, beach and sand dunes with beautiful vistas? 

Indian Sands is a remarkable geological phenomenon of rolling dunes perched hike above the ocean. Unlike many other dunes where the sand comes from the ocean, these dunes come from the sandstone in the rock that has devolved into sand.

Just after the sand dunes there are these natural tunnels created by the bushes. It was pretty neat to walk through them. We highly recommend continuing on the trail for a little bit to see them.

There are essentially 7 viewpoints along the route. You can start at any of the points along the way and hike as long or as short as you’d like.

7 Stops of the corridor

Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail

Here are the seven stops along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor part of the Oregon coast trail:

  1. wild iris

    Cape Ferrelo loop: This is a 1 mile loop trail that climbs a grassy slope to the top of the cape for breathtaking vistas of the coastline and photo-worthy Oregon sunsets. In the spring the slope is carpeted with wildflowers. It is also a good viewpoint for whale watching during the fall and spring migrations.

  2. Cape Ferrelo to House Rock: If you’re looking for a longer hike, park at Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint, head north 4 miles along the bluff through the old growth spruce forest to House Rock Viewpoint. Here a memorial commemorates Samuel H. Boardman, the first Oregon parks superintendent. Along the trail you will find many trails that lead to secluded beaches.
  3. Whaleshead: From Whaleshead beach (or the viewpoint which takes you down a steep trail to the beach) you can hike the three miles to Indian Sands and then back track.
  4. Indian Sands: If you’re looking for a little longer hike, park at Indian Sands and head north to China Beach. This is an out and back trip. Indian Sands is a remarkable geological phenomenon of rolling dunes perched hike above the ocean. Unlike many other dunes where the sand comes from the ocean, these dunes come from the sandstone in the rock that has devolved into sand. They are worth exploring and offer some nice vistas.
  5. Natural Bridges: Follow the short trail to a beautiful vistas – the seven iconic arched rocks and blowholes known collectively as Natural Bridges.
  6. Secret Beach and Thunder Rock Cove: This parking area offers a short 3/4 mile trail down to Secret Beach. It is also a good place to look for migrating whales in the winter and spring. At low tide it is possible to explore the tidal pools in the area. But be careful and watch the tides as you explore. Remember the ocean is dangerous and can surprise you.
  7. Arch Rock: From the parking area there is a short path to the overlook to see Arch Rock. There are also vault toilets at the lot. Be careful as there is poison oak along the fenceline. The vistas from this viewpoint are pretty amazing.

If you have 2 cars you could also park one at your end point and get to hike a little longer in one direction vs. out and back.

I suggest you bring a lunch or at the least a snack and sit at one of the vista points to enjoy the view!

Remember to pack it out and leave only your footprints behind!