Often overlooked by beach going visitors to Oswald West State Park, the relatively short trek to Cape Falcon makes for a relaxing day hike and offers a great alternative to relaxing on the beach. The 2.5-mile trail to the cape, or more specifically the Salal Headland, is a truly majestic journey through some of the Northwest’s best preserved old-growth coastal forests. In few other places will you see Sitka spruce and western redcedar on such scale. The undergrowth of the forest is so well protected that it also makes for one of the region’s most muddy excursions, so be prepared to get a little dirty. From the headlands, phenomenal views of the Pacific, Smugglers Cove, and Neahkahnie Mountain open up. If you visit in the spring or summer, you'll also get a beautiful showing of wildflowers including the white and pink bells of salal, fireweed, Columbia lily (tiger lily), and Idaho blue-eyed grass.
To get to Cape Falcon (Salal Headland), venture down the well-used path to Short Sand Beach. Just west of the restrooms you’ll find a trail that heads north. Hop on the trail heading north through the park’s old-growth, and as you near the headland with thick hedges of salal at your side, turn left onto a short spur trail that ends after a few hundred yards.
Cape Falcon is part of the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area. This means that there are specific prohibitions against fishing and the harvesting of fish, invertebrates, and seaweed. Check here for specific clarifications on regulations, exemptions, and a detailed representation of the area's boundaries.
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