National Coast Trail Association Recommendation, Oregon Coast Trail:
POSTPONE OR CANCEL Thru-Hikes and Overnight Backpacking Trips due to COVID-19 until further notice. Detailed information can be found here.
Asked Questions (FAQ) are a great way to better prepare for successful
and safe hiking and backpacking along the Oregon Coast Trail.
everything from the trail basics to the most important information
needed is offered as a starting point to plan your trip. More
specific details relative to logistics, such as a suggested thru-hike
intinerary, can be found in the website's Plan section.
Q: Who can hike the trail?
hundreds of thousands of people of varying ability hike or walk
sections of the Oregon Coast Trail annually without ever knowing
it! About half the trail is along the beach itself, and most
everyone takes a walk on the many very accessible beaches of the Oregon
Coast, visitors and residents alike. There's also specific
coastal trails developed in many Oregon State Parks, some are
short walks providing access to viewpoints, some provide opportunities
for short and all day hikes, too! And connecting beach with
inland and headland trail systems means overnight and long-distance
backpackers can enjoy longer trips as well. Those willing to
accept and embrace the challenges of connecting between unfinished gaps
with existing trail sections can also do significant multi-day treks or
essentially thru-hike the entire length of the Oregon coast.
There's also places with access for people in wheelchairs or with
limited physical ability, and the trail could be rated from easy to
difficult depending on the specific section of coast.
do I need to know and bring along when traveling the Oregon Coast Trail? A: Advice from Experienced Hikers & More!
you're going out even for a short to a full day-hike or longer,
then at the very least carry what's commonly referred to as the "ten essentials."
Since hiking along the Oregon Coast can especially mean rain and
wind -- even in summer your can be at risk for hypothermia! -- and
lot's of sun exposure (not only directly overhead but also reflected by
sand and seawater!) carrying an emergency rain poncho and wool watch
cap as part of your clothing and sunglasses and sunscreen are good
things to add to your pack. Backpacking overnight means you'll
also need all the proper clothing and gear, food and water to
accomplish your overall trip goal
Bonnie Henderson has hiked the entire length of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) as a long-distance backpacker and is the author of Day Hiking Oregon Coast (See the Book
section for specific details.) The following information from her
blog website is her personal advice about what she considers "the
basics" and also about sleeping and safety.
Q: When's the best time of
year to hike the Oregon Coast Trail?
A: Open Year-round, but Summer is Best.
planning to actually backpack, doing overnight camping and
multi-day treks, summer is definitely the best time with most sunshine,
less rain and storms, and lower water levels to more safely and
successfully be able to wade creeks and rivers.
Specifically, mid-June to mid-September is most recommended, and though
June thru September could also work, there's more potential for
rain in early June and late September with late spring and early fall
storms. May and October are not recommended given the potential
for heavy rain, and high winds with associated wind waves that can
create life-threatening situations involving everything from
hypothermia to large branches falling and crashing to the ground!
Wind waves can even close down sections of trail where waves are
washing across entire beach areas, not only during storms, but also
afterwards. The annual
rainfall and temperature averages for Newport, Oregon along the
central coast is a good example of what to expect weatherwise.
can, however, hike any time of year, depending on where you go and the
weather. If the weather is nice, even in winter, then you
can have a great day or portion of it hiking somewhere along the coast.
Q: Where can I hike along
the Oregon coast?
A: Essentially Anywhere and Everywhere!
objective of developing an Oregon Coast Trail is to allow you to create
your own adventure anywhere along the entire Oregon coast.
(Contrary to popluar belief, although Oregon coast beaches are
publicly accessible to the existing vegetation line, certain inland
areas and bluffs above the beach are not publicly accessible.)
Again, though, it depends on weather, waves and in some places
the tide level. The sun may be shining after a major storm, but
the waves having absorbed all the wind energy may be gigantic, surging
inland and covering the beach! Inland trails may be fine in terms
of no wind, but there may also be some mud and fallen trees after a
major fall, winter, or spring Pacific storm. So, you really need
to figure out from guidebooks,
this website and other available
resource what trails are appropriate for you to hike.
Q: Why hike the Oregon
Oregon Coast Trail offers a Unique Long-distance Coastal Hiking
The Oregon Coast is
indeed a very special place to explore!
Comparable to other long-distance trails, paths, walks and tracks
around the world, it has it's own unique places, history and culture.
Beginning at the mouth of the Columbia River
with an incredibly rich history and geology all it's own, one initially
encounters everything from the remains of the 1906 Peter Iredale
shipwreck to being able to walk in the footsteps of members of the
& Clark Expedition! Next you encounter Tillamook Head
and eventually Haystack
Rock in Cannon Beach, both remnants of the westernmost extent of
River Basalt lava flows from over 300 miles away!
Besides seastacks and rocky
headlands, your also sometimes hiking through the largest temperate
ecoregion on the planet with rainfall amounts as high as 3 meters (10
feet) within a year! These forests are lush and green, with some
of the tallest trees in the world growing along the Oregon Coast, such
Firs and Sitka
two of the most dangerous ways in the USA to make a living, and cranberry
farming and Native
American gaming represent some of the unique cultural lifestyles of
some who live along the Oregon coast.
Adventure and recreation -- or
"re-creation" -- await you along the Oregon Coast Trail!
Q: How do I get to the Oregon Coast Trail?
A: The best
option is most likely by bus, but you could drive a car and fly to
various locations, too.
Since there are various bus
lines from Portland for the upper north coast and lower north coast and other bus service both out to and along the coast,
using this option is
one of the best. Here's the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Intercity Transit and Taxi Service Finder that provides specific details on various transportation options around the
state by bus and other services. Go by train to connect to the coast from cities in the Willamette Valley and within the Pacific Northwest by Amtrak.
There is another bus service offered to connect Eugene/Florence, and Florence/Yachats in both directions, here's the schedule and details.
This can be extremely useful for hikers not only making these
connections, but currently the stops for the Yachats/Florence
connection include a grocery store (Grocery Outlet) in Florence, Oregon
and a state park campground with a hiker/biker campsite, (Carl
Washburne State Park). Since the Oregon Coast Trail south of the
Heceta Head Lighthouse area is not yet complete, these stops allow a
hiker to take the bus directly from this state park to Florence,
resupply, and continue south.
Pacific Crest Trail Hikers could potentially use either bus by Greyhound by reaching Interstate Highway 5 or in other areas at their official stops or by train by reaching the Coast Starlight Line of Amtrak at official stations. This interactive map from the Pacific Crest Trail Association should help you in your planning. NOTE: Greyhound has a special express bus along a section of the west coast which is a premium express bus line called BOLT BUS
that provides exceptional service at an amazingly low price. In
addition to convenient and frequent travel schedules, their premium
on-board experience includes free standard Wi-Fi, power outlets, and
There's also 3-day and 7-day visitor passes that can be purchased from drivers on any route served by NW CONNECTOR partner agencies.
Visitor passes allow one trip to the coast from Portland or the
Albany/Corvallis area, one return trip, and unlimited travel in
Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln Counties (from Astoria to Yachats).
In 2019, a 3-day pass is only $25, a 7-day pass, an incredible
deal at only $30!
can also take your own car or rent one, but overnight parking,
especially leaving a car somewhere for a
number of days, can present a challenge both in terms of finding a
place it's legally allowed and also one that would be safe and secure
from potential breakins and theft.
exist along the coast if you happen to have a plane. Apparently,
though, the only airport with regular commercial service is the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport
along the south coast in the North Bend/Coos Bay area. This
specific airport could be a great option, though, if focusing on hiking
the south coast portion of the Oregon Coast Trail, either begining from
the airport and heading south or ending your trip from the north at the
end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area.
Q: How do I cross streams, creeks, estuaries,
rivers and bays?
already have bridges with pedestrian access, some are wadable depending
on the tide, and you need to arrange boat transportation for the others.
of the challenges of hiking along the Oregon Coast Trail are getting
across streams, creeks, estuaries, rivers and bays! Many of the
larger and deeper rivers and bays are spanned by wonderful historic
bridges, such as the Yaquina Bay
Bridge, where beautiful form and function were combined when
are various rivers and bays that require a boat ride. Three major
water crossings where there are already available ferry services
include Nehalem Bay, Tillamook Bay and the Umpqua River. The boat
ride option at these specific locations is considered by experienced
backpackers to be the best preferred option both in terms of overall
logistics to maximize the recreational experience and also to avoid the
potential safety issues associated with walking along the major coastal
highway, Highway 101. See the Plan section for
specific details for these specific areas.
water crossings offer the potential option, depending on water flow,
tide levels, waves, wind and weather of actually wading or fording
smaller rivers, creeks, streams and estuaries.
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