Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is 12 miles of wayside along Highway 101 that is filled with a network of trails, including 27 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail. Visitors will find a rugged coast with seemingly endless viewpoints of off-shore sea stacks topped with old-growth Sitka spruce. There are dozens of nestled coves and beaches, and some stretches only accessible at low tide. There are opportunities for viewing many different types of sea life, majestic birds, and coastal flora. It is also a landscape photographer's paradise. Classic Northwestern coastline is packed together in a fairly short corridor.
The best way to experience this park is on foot. However, the minimal amount of trail signage along the Oregon Coast Trail does not acknowledge the many spur trails ending in fantastic views of the coast. There are many parking areas along Highway 101 that allow for several access points to the Oregon Coast Trail and these spurs. Park in any of these areas and you are sure to walk to an amazing view. Some of these parking areas and marked, vehicle-accessible viewpoints offer basic amenities such as toilets and picnic tables.
Arch Rock, which can be seen from the Arch Rock Viewpoint + Picnic Area at the north end of the corridor, holds a special place in the lore of the Tolowa Tribe. According to these stories, a coyote was marooned on Arch Rock as punishment for tricking the local wildlife and peoples. Known for his ingenuity, the coyote collected a basket of mussels and strategically spread them across the water, creating small islands which he hopped across to get back to shore.
Secret Beach, accessible via a short three-quarter-mile trail, is a perfect place to experience Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. A creek pours down the steep hillside along the trail, ending in a waterfall that plunges into the sand. South of this creek, the beach stretches around a point that can only be accessed at low tide. All along this beach, several sea stacks of various size rise dramatically from the water just offshore. These sea stacks break the waves and allow for fairly calm waters in an undeniably beautiful cove. While visiting Secret Beach, be sure to take the side trip to discover Thunder Rock Cove. You can hike a delightful section of the Oregon Coast Trail from here to Spruce Island and back in 3.2 miles. If you are making a tour of the beaches in this corridor, be sure to check out Thomas Creek Beach and China Beach, as well.
Natural Bridges Viewpoint is accessible by an unmarked trail originating from an unmarked parking area. These seven arched sea stacks are possibly the most recognizable in the park, and for obvious reasons. The waves crash against these impressive rock islands and up and through some blowholes, creating a dramatic experience for all the senses. Take care at this viewpoint as there is not any railing to prevent one from falling down steep cliffs into the water.
The corridor also includes the unusual Indian Sands dune formation. These dunes are the product of eroding sandstone cliffs that are set high above the sea. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through the fine-grain sand while enjoying fantastic views of the the Pacific as they tower above it.
The Cape Ferrelo Hike at the south end of the park provides great views south of the park to Brookings and California. It is only a mile, so it is a perfect short hike if you are passing through with a busy itinerary.
Samuel Boardman was Oregon's first park superintendent, and he was given an honorable legacy in having this place named after him. This place will wow any beach goer or hiker alike with its unique views and utter beauty.
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