- Rating: Easy
- Activity: Hike
- Distance: 2.5 miles round-trip
- Time: 2 hours
Minutes from the bustling boutiques of Cannon Beach, the Clatsop Loop Trail is the perfect spot to burn off that saltwater-taffy sugar high with a 2½-mile trek through forest awash in an aquatic symphony, from Indian Creek’s melodic gurgle to the cymbal crash of the Pacific’s pounding waves. Once used to connect Clatsop and Tillamook tribal villages, the trail climbs 800 feet through groves of 350-year old Sitka spruce and delivers hikers to the edge of Tillamook Head’s western face. Here, weary hikers are rewarded with spectacular vistas of Oregon whitecaps and the hardy tribe of surfers who ride them.
ROUTE: From the north side of the parking lot, climb gradually along the banks of Indian Creek. The hike’s halfway point comes at Hiker’s Camp; a covered table, fire pit and cabins (free to overnighters) make it a good place to pause. Then follow the small side trail west to the edge of the headland, where, you’ll see a mystical seascape featuring the 62-foot-tall Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, 1.2 miles offshore. Return to camp and head south on the Clatsop Loop as it switchbacks through ancient meadows of huckleberry and salal. Complete your journey with a stop at Indian Beach, near the trail’s end, where you can hunt for seashells or simply wiggle your toes in the sand.
DIRECTIONS: Follow U.S. 26 west to U.S. 101, bearing south toward Cannon Beach. At the first Cannon Beach exit, follow signs for Ecola State Park. Turn right on Fifth St, immediately after the Ecola Creek Lodge, and take the next right, following signs to Ecola State Park ($3 day permit) for 1.6 miles. Inside the park, take the first right toward Indian Beach; the parking lot is 1.5 miles down a winding road.