This map is your introductory guide to hiking, biking and paddling trails along an enchanting 20-mile stretch of the rural Oregon coast. It'll direct you to rocky coastal shorelines and long expanses of sandy beach, inland bays, rivers and estuaries, and on to forested coastal mountains and temperate old-growth rainforests. With trails ranging from wheelchair accessible to "difficult," there are opportunities for all members of your family.
Traveling along the U.S. Highway 101, you'll pass through three coastal villages: Seal Rock, Waldport, and Yachats. Stop to experience each village's distinct rural character and natural beauty. Enjoy the campgrounds, casual cottages, or luxury motels, and delight in the small shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
It's time to pack your outdoor gear and head for the woods, or the shore, or the streams to experience these villages, and magnificent trails. For additional information, refer to the Resources page.
Archaeological finds suggest human occupation of the Oregon Coast dates back as far as 9,000 years. Alsi Indians, the most recent indigenous people known to inhabit this land as hunter-gatherers, established seasonal camps and permanent villages throughout.
Alsi Indians lived along the coastal shore and forest where they gathered and hunted a rich supply of food and provisions that sustained their culture. Despite brutal treatment in the last two centuries, they have preserved and reestablished their vital traditions.
Amanda's Trail near Yachats is a testament to this time of cultural respect and collaboration. Please be respectful when visiting shell middens, debris from human activity of earlier times, south of Devil's Churn.
Roiling Pacific waters and dangerous rocks discouraged early European sea explorers from landing. By the 1700s, Britain's Captain Cook began to identify coastal points and named Cape Perpetua after a saint.
Ultimately, timber became the lure for Europeans and for settlement by pioneers. Shipping ports opened on the north coast while transportation remained the primary obstacle for those that settled south. Low tide navigators of the Post Offices, the Civilian Conservation Corp, and bridge master Conde McCullough, became the trailblazers that, along with the New Deal, led to the construction of Scenic Highway 101 in the 1930s.
Today, let this unusual geographic location and unique history lure you into villages and along our coastal and forest trails. Points of interest along the picturesque thoroughfare that share this region's heritage are Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center, Waldport Heritage Museum, the Little Log Church Museum in Yachats, and the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.
Experience distinctive watery ecosystems ranging from mudflats and salty bays, to creeks and rivers while you hike, paddle or bike miles of trails. Find solitude and secluded campsites. Fish for Coho, Chinook, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Dig for clams and feast on crab. Explore the connections between the coastal waters and upland old-growth forests.
Beaver Creek State Natural Area rests 2 miles north of Seal Rock, Oregon and offers a rich habitat of aquatic plants and wildlife. This natural area was created with the goal of connecting old growth forests in the upper watershed with beach, coastal dunes, estuary, and marsh habitats downstream. The natural area can be appreciated by all varieties of visitors at the Beaver Creek Welcome Center, along seven miles of hiking trails, or on water trails by kayak. Kayak trips can be taken independently or via guided tours led by Beaver Creek estuary experts during summers. Make reservations for guided kayak trips at the Welcome Center; trips last approximately two hours.
Accessible both east and north of Waldport approximately 7 miles is the Siuslaw National Forest's Drift Creek Wilderness area. Drift Creek offers remote fishing opportunities for Coho, fall Chinook, winter steelhead and cutthroat trout. Visitors looking to appreciate Oregon's mighty temperate rainforest can find solace under the Coast Range's largest stand of old growth trees. The wilderness area also offers secluded camping under the old growth canopy, bearing in mind that all camp sites must be 100 feet off the trail and stream.
Hidden in plain sight, the Alsea Bay and the Alsea River Water Trail have much to offer outdoor recreation seekers. Kayak rentals and tours are provided in summer by The Kayak Shack at the Port of Alsea. Oregon State Parks manages the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center from which guided bridge tours and crabbing and clamming demonstrations are offered in summer.
On the south end of Yachats, the little Yachats River reaches the Pacific Ocean at Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site. This day use park offers picnic tables along the rim road and a pocket beach that is popular with kite flyers when conditions are right at low tide. For a serene retreat explore this gentle river by kayak.
A unique, lush rainforest grows down from the mountains to meet the sea because the Siuslaw National Forest and community partnerships helped regenerate new healthy woodland areas that connect patches of remaining old growth forest. Follow miles of scenic hiking and designated biking trails to experience the secrets of some of the largest stands of spruce and hemlock found in the lower 48 states. Glimpse elk, eagles, Marbled Murrelets and bear.
Year-round moderate temperatures and slow but bountiful winter rain ensure the success of this unique ecosystem. Trees thrive in abundance and the resulting biomass surpasses that of the giant tropical rainforests in the southern hemisphere.
The giant canopies support ferns, lichen, mosses, mushrooms and multiple varieties of berried plants. The thick forest that includes red alder, Douglas Fir, maple and western cedar occasionally opens up to views and sounds of the neighboring ocean, reminding all who enter of the interconnections between sea and forest.
Much of this forest resides in the hands of the American public, managed by government agencies like the Siuslaw National Forest, which strives to provide restoration and recreation by engaging local partnerships. The collaborative result is an enclave of emerging new healthy woodland areas complimenting the patches of old growth forest that remain in Drift Creek Wilderness, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and Cummins Creek Wilderness, all part of this 20-mile stretch of coast.
Churning waters sculpt our coast into dramatic seascapes, while jutting basalt rock indicate an ongoing collision between tectonic plates and a shifty volcanic past.
Rocky shores contain a colorful, alien world of black rock covered in breathing, crawling life. This coast holds one of the largest collections of accessible tide pools, where fantastic creatures cling in a mosaic of patterns that responds to the sea's rhythms and the shore's intricate texture. Purple urchins cluster in the calm world of protected pools, barnacles and mussels brave the pounding surf on the exposed cliffs, predatory sea stars feed among black forests of mussels, and anemones wave their soft, green tentacles, exploring for food.
Groping for survival against the daily battering of earth, wind, and sea, intertidal species form a picture of survival as old as the Pacific Ocean itself and provide some of the most ancient, intricate beauty found in the natural world.
Rocky shores are the ideal place to introduce children to the mysteries of nature, and our state parks and federal sites provide the best viewing and safest access. Low tide is also a great time to dig for clams, and the Alsea Bay in Waldport has many accessible hot spots. During summer, the Alsea Bay Interpretive Center provides scheduled clamming demonstrations for all ages.
Sandy beaches intermixed with dramatic rock formations are perfect places for beachcombing, sunsets and photography, or to picnic among salal shrubs, wild strawberry, and shore pine sculpted by the ocean's salt spray.
High tide along the rocky shores creates a vivid scene of wildness and unrest. Foam cascades over boulders, waves roar up rocky chasms and spray high against the cliffs at places like the Devil's Churn and Cook's Chasm in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just south of Yachats.
Despite its chill, the Pacific Ocean gives us our mild climate year round. It provides warmth and moisture to prevailing west winds and its seasonal changes orchestrate patterns of fog, sunlight, and rain, and reshape the shoreline.
Just offshore lies some of the most rich and diverse marine ecosystems in the world, home to marine mammals, seabirds, fish, crabs, and shellfish. Upwelling currents bathe the surface with life-giving nutrients, while kelp forests and rock reefs provide complex shelter and habitat. A designated Marine Sanctuary preserves the natural splendor of wildlife in these waters.
Grey whales are most abundant during spring migration, a tremendous journey which spans 14,000 miles, the longest migration of any mammal on earth. Resident whales are seen year round in these rich feeding grounds, rolling and diving in the surf.
Seabirds, including Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemot, and Marbled Murrelet, which nests in the old-growth trees found along this coast, and shorebirds including Brown Pelican, Sanderling, sandpipers and various gulls, cormorants, and sea ducks are also drawn to these productive waters.
Dungeness crabs, Chinook and Coho salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and halibut are common in offshore waters, estuaries and bays. Angle for tuna at sea in summer, and surf fish for perch and greenling off the rocks and along the coast's pristine sandy beaches. Crab, windsurf or watch the seals on the beaches at Alsea Bay.
Scenic trails invite your exploration along sections of rocky shoreline and miles of sandy beach. Experience the ocean in all its colors and moods, through misty painted mornings to brilliant sunsets and storms. Feel the salt spray, listen to the waves, but respect the ocean's untamed force. For safety's sake, never turn your back to the sea.
Help protect our unique habitats by treating trails, the ecosystems, and the lives within them, with reverence. Practice Leave No Trace ethics and take all trash with you.
While wildlife viewing, the welfare of creatures and their environment must come first. Keep well away from nests, resting, display and feeding areas. Don't feed the animals. Don't pick flowers.
Avoid spreading seeds and help protect our forest's diversity. Introduced seeds grow into non-native species that eliminate diverse native plant and animal species. Use seed-free hay, and check your socks, bikes and horse's tails for hitchhiking seeds before you visit nature.
Get involved by picking up trash, volunteering on a trail project, becoming a member of your local trail organization, or donating to your favorite environmental cause. Take action and get involved!
Research the route's length and difficulty. Understand the predicted weather conditions. Beware of incoming tides so you don't get stranded on rocks or beaches. Learn about sunrise and sunset times. Drive cautiously on logging roads and stay out of the way of log trucks. Cyclists yield to hikers, and both yield to equestrians. If you get lost, STOP! Move to a clearing, put on bright colors, blow your whistle, and stay in one place so searchers can find you. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Always contact them when you return. For details on where to hike, ride or paddle, contact the local information center if you are unsure about what you can and can't do in a given area.
The maps show you easy family rides suitable for small children, to adventure trails for the bike athlete. Find a picnic spot with a spectacular view of the ocean, or breeze past thick old-growth forests on a network of old logging roads.
No matter your skill level, please travel Forest Service and County backcountry roads with ALERTNESS and CAUTION. Research your route before you start. Many roads are unmarked and signposts are missing. Keep track of the time. Backtrack when necessary. Always prepare for unexpected trail conditions.
Numerous county and logging roads create a complex web throughout the area's forests. Pay close attention to directional posts at all intersections. Additional wayfinding information and guidance is encouraged in these areas.
7. 804 Trail
8. Amanda Trail
14. Discovery Loop
15. Gwynn Creek Loop
Note: The Oregon Coast Trail is NOT a bike route. However the 7-mile
stretch of beach between Yachats and Waldport may be cycled at low tide on the
compact sand. Monday-Saturday you may coordinate with Lincoln County
Transit for the return trip.
7. 804 Trail