Tillamook Head Hike

Ecola State Park

Northern Oregon Coast, Oregon

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Tillamook Head Hike
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  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • Restroom facilities.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Liberty cap mushrooms.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • Hiker's Camp guidelines.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Interior of a shelter at Hiker's Camp.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Shelters at Hiker's Camp.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • World War II radar bunker on the trail beween Hiker's Camp and the Tillamook Head Lighthouse viewpoint.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • View west from the viewpoint near Hiker's Camp. - Tillamook Head Hike
  • Twisted ulota moss (Ulota obtusiuscula).- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Swamp lantern (Lysichiton americanus) flower.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • - Tillamook Head Hike
  • Parking for Seaside trailhead.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Seaside trailhead.- Tillamook Head Hike
  • Waves on "Terrible Tilly."- Tillamook Head Hike
  • The dense forest of the coastal headland.- Tillamook Head Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Camping shelters. Lush costal forest. Potential for one-way with shuttle.
Cons: 
Trail gets soggy. Fallen trees. Long hike as a there-and-back.
Region:
Northern Oregon Coast, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,117.00 ft (340.46 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
10.60 mi (17.06 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
32.00 ft (9.75 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

The Tillamook Head Trail is a fantastic choice for those interested in a generous sample of what makes the Northern Oregon Coast such a unique destination.  The trail runs between the town of Seaside and Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach, so you have the opportunity to hike one way once you’ve set a shuttle.  This report is written for the there-and-back hike starting at Indian Beach.  Completing the trail as a there-and-back trip does take some time and energy, especially as the elevation gain will be doubled on the return.  On the other hand, the scenery is incredible and worth a second look on your return trip.

Starting from the Indian Beach parking lot, hike north on a gravel road for 1.5 miles until you reach Hiker’s Camp.  Three shelters offer four bunks each on a first-come, first-served basis, and you may camp with a tent if the shelters are full.  A short walk west takes you past an old military bunker before leading you to views of Terrible Tilly, the battered, besieged and occasionally submerged lighthouse on Tillamook Rock.  Visit www.lighthousefriends.com for a quick, remarkable history of this lonely lighthouse.

To continue to the Seaside Trailhead, return to Hiker’s Camp and continue north on the Tillamook Head Trail.  The wide gravel trail gives way to a narrow, boggy and frequently log-jammed path for the next 4 miles. The trail condition is rough enough to slow your pace at times, whether by obstructions or bogs, so plan accordingly. Giant Sitka spruce and hemlock lie around like storm wreckage, serving as eerie reminders of the gale force winds that hit the headlands during soggy winters. 

Grand views extend out over the ocean from the small clearings, and the trail keeps very close to the cliff for much of the way.  As you walk south toward Indian Beach on the return, ponder the views and conditions experienced by William Clark, Sacajawea and other members of the Corps of Discovery as they walked the very same trail toward Cannon Beach in hope of purchasing whale blubber.
 

Note that overnight parking is prohibited in Ecola State Park. Hikers staying overnight on the trail will need to arrange for transportation to the trailhead from outside of the park.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

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(47 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with The People's Coast

A profound concept originally envisioned by governor Oswald West, in 1967 the Oregon legislature ultimately realized his vision of making the entire Oregon Coast forever open to the public in a piece of landmark legislation titled the Oregon Beach Bill, officially making all 363 miles public land. "The People's Coast" is truly a one-of-a-kind coastline, a unique blend of mountains and rocky stacks, towering old growth forests, marine sanctuaries, tide pools and kelp forests, charming towns, historic fishing communities, world-class golfing, breweries, and simply jaw-dropping scenic beaches. We encourage you to plan your next trip at visittheoregoncoast.com or by calling (541) 574-2679.

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