Anyone who has hiked along the Northern Oregon Coast knows that the most breathtaking views can only be reached on two feet. Beautiful hikes abound in this corner of Oregon, thanks to the many state parks, recreation areas, and miles of public beaches—and the charming town of Cannon Beach is right in the center of it all.
There are dozens of trails to suit every hiker within 45 minutes of Cannon Beach, making it easy to spend a few hours, an afternoon, or even a whole day hiking. From leisurely strolls along the beach to challenging mountain ascents, here are our favorite hikes near Cannon Beach.
Indian Beach Trail
Distance: 2 miles, out and back
Just three miles north of Cannon Beach, you’ll find Ecola State Park, a gorgeous piece of paradise perched on Tillamook Head and bursting with trails, beaches, tide pools, and all manner of wildlife. The Indian Beach Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park, and it doesn’t take long to see why.
Start at the Ecola Point parking lot and head north through a maze of towering Sitka spruce, through which you can see glimpses of sea stacks rising from the Pacific Ocean. At one point, the trail breaks free from the forest, offering stunning cliff views before diving back into the trees. The one-mile-long trail ends at Indian Beach, which is popular with surfers and picnickers. Check out the tide pools before heading back the way you came.
Nehalem Spit Trail
Distance: 5.2-mile loop
Nehalem Bay State Park sits on a four-mile-long sand spit between the Pacific Ocean and Nehalem Bay, about 15 miles south of Cannon Beach. Comprising sand dunes and shore pines, this lovely park offers an easy hike along flat terrain, with plenty of wildlife-viewing opportunities and views of the bay.
This hike is more flexible than most, with the route dictated mostly by the tides. To start, follow a short trail to the beach and begin heading south. As you go, keep an eye out for “unburied treasure” washed up on shore, such as shells and sea glass. At the spit’s southern tip, you’ll find a jetty. Hike inland along the riprap toward the bay. During the wet season or high tide, you can walk north along the jeep road. Otherwise, you can follow an inland horse trail, or, during low tide, stick to the sandy shoreline.
Distance: 3 miles, out and back
With its 1,600-foot peak looming over the shoreline, Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the Northern Oregon Coast—and the only thing better than views of the mountain are the views from the top of it.
The southern trailhead is 12 miles south of Cannon Beach, just off of Highway 101. A series of steep switchbacks takes you through lush meadows to the back side of the mountain, where you’ll hike for half a mile before emerging onto the summit. Your reward is sweeping views for several miles to the south, featuring Nehalem Bay and the town of Manzanita.
Tillamook Head (to WWII Bunker)
Distance: 3-mile loop
If you finish the Indian Beach Trail and find yourself wanting to continue hiking Tillamook Head, this hike begins right where the other ends. From the Indian Beach parking lot, you’ll follow an old roadbed, which snakes through an ancient rainforest of spruce and alder trees. After a little more than a mile, you’ll run into a shelter area for backpackers. Hike past it for a quarter-mile to a World War II-era bunker, long since fallen into disuse—just beyond the bunker, you’ll come to the edge of a cliff, with Tillamook Rock and the Tillamook Lighthouse in the distance.
Looking out over the rocky coast, it’s easy to see why William Clark described this area as “the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.”
Distance: 5.8 miles, out and back
The trail to the top of Angora Peak features an elevation gain of 1,750 feet in just under three miles. The majority of the hike follows an old logging road, which is no longer maintained, and although the road is privately owned, recreational use is permitted. From Cannon Beach, drive eight miles south and turn left onto Arch Mill Cape Road (follow the link to see a helpful map of the route). You’ll eventually come to a gate where the hike begins. Take note of the posted rules before proceeding.
Follow the logging road for two miles. It will end abruptly, but you should see a trail heading north. The trail and road have eroded in places, so use caution. In addition to the summit, there’s an outcropping known as Revenge of Angora that is close to being the highest point in the range. If you find the right route, you can make it to the top without any special climbing equipment.
Distance: 5.2 miles, out and back
Saddle Mountain is the highest point in Northwest Oregon, with an elevation of 3,287 feet. On this hike, you’ll gain the last 1,620 feet in a little more than two and a half miles. This hike tends to get crowded during the summer, particularly during May and June when the wildflowers are blooming.
The trail itself takes you through a forest of alder, spruce, and Douglas fir trees, which give way to rocky meadows after a mile and a half. After descending the saddle (from which the mountain takes its name), you’ll have one final steep stretch to the summit. Although Saddle Mountain is 21 miles east of Cannon Beach, the summit still commands views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to Mt. Hood.
If you’re staying in Cannon Beach and want to see the Northern Oregon Coast in all of its glory, you can’t go wrong with one (or more!) of these scenic hikes.
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