Arch Cape to Short Sand Beach is one of the least traveled sections of the Oregon Coast Trail. The 382-mile trail runs from the mouth of the Columbia River to the border of California. Approved in 1971, the trail travels along beaches, state parks, roads, and public lands of Oregon.
This area is part of the Pacific temperate coastal rainforest and is home to salal, salmonberry, western redcedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce trees. Even on a busy summer weekend, it’s likely that you’ll only see a handful of people during most of this hike.
Begin at the Shingle Mill Trailhead, which can be tricky to find. Look for a small Oregon Coast Trail marker and a suspension bridge appearing soon after. Over the next 1.5 miles the trail winds through the forest, gaining about 500 feet of elevation before dropping back down to Highway 101. Once you cross the road, the trail levels out before again climbing another 500 feet to its highest point. Soon after you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the coastline. Though the trail is generally straightforward, note that it can become quite overgrown and muddy at times.
As you approach Short Sand Beach the area becomes more populated. If you want to continue exploring, look for a junction where you can head left to Cape Falcon (and more spectacular views of Neahkahnie Mountain and the town of Manzanita) or right down to the beach.
Short Sand Beach can be crowded with surfers and swimmers, but it’s a great place to relax. There are restrooms, trash cans, and benches if you need to take a break. From here you have the option of returning the way you came or running a car shuttle and enjoying some well deserved beach time.