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Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

02.15.18

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Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

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  • View of Arch Rock from the walkway.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Teasel growing along the hillside over the Arch Rock Viewpoint.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • First sight of Secret Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • First sight of Secret Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Waves calmly wash upon the shore at Secret Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • First sight of Secret Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Natural arch in Thunder Rock Cove.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • A beach that is only accessible during very low tides at Thunder Rock Cove.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • A closer look at the two bridges at Natural Bridges Viewpoint.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • A slightly different angle on the taller bridge at Natural Bridges Viewpoint.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • The northern section of China Beach shrouded in fog.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • A cormorant enjoys China Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Approaching the roped area of the trail to Thomas Creek Beach. This is a good spot to check the tide.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • The roped section leading down to Thomas Creek Beach. Be careful!- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Looking over Thomas Creek Beach.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • A small section of dunes separated from the main dune at Indian Sands.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Tracks leading from the parking area at Indian Sands.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • The Oregon Coast Trail passes right through the Indian Sands dunes.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • Magnificent views from the Cape Ferrelo Trail.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • From the trail, Lone Ranch Beach can be seen below from the Cape Ferrelo Trail.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
  • The Oregon Coast Trail crosses the trail to Cape Ferrelo.- Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
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Meandering 12 miles along the scenic southern Oregon coast, the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor is a treasure trove full of beautiful little gems just waiting to be explored. Named in honor of the first Oregon Parks superintendent, the landscape protected here is stunning. With secluded beaches, beautiful vistas, ancient trees, and roughly 27 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail to wander, there are plenty of reasons to visit. This park is best appreciated by walking numerous small trails and spurs. Signage isn't always optimal, but that just increases the feeling of serendipitous discovery. 

Start your exploration at the northern end of the corridor by taking time to explore Arch Rock Viewpoint + Picnic Area. There are plenty of picnic tables nestled into the forest where you can take in the views over lunch or a cup of coffee. For photos of the massive sea arch and to stretch your legs after eating, there is a short loop trail that skirts the cliff. 

The aptly named Secret Beach requires a little more determination to reach. Two rough-and-tumble trails lead to two sections that are worth exploring, each with their own small creek that runs to the sea. While the northern section is nearly always accessible, the southern section is only available at low tides. Be sure to check your tide tables before heading out if you are keen to see both pieces. For slightly less steep, though slightly longer access, you can also get to Secret Beach by way of the Thunder Cover parking lot. 

Consider combining a visit to Secret Beach with the Thunder Rock Cove Trail. A scant 0.8 miles in length, the lack of significant elevation change along this walk makes it pleasant for all ability levels. Thunder Rock cove is a small cove nestled by steep cliffs, replete with sea arches and a sea cave. The thundering echoes of waves rocking into the cave give this spot its name. While the noise can still be heard on days with a quiet sea, the best sound is heard with larger swells and winter storms. 

For optimal viewing and photography opportunities, overcast days and early mornings are best when visiting Natural Bridges Viewpoint a little further down the coastline. Afternoon sun reflections and frequent fog can often inhibit viewing, so be sure to stop by later if you miss out on a good look on your first visit. It's worth the effort. While waiting for conditions to change, consider a walk along the quiet stretch of China Beach. One of the least visited beaches in the area, you are practically guaranteed privacy and solitude along with the beautiful view. Numerous sea stacks just off shore make for interesting scenery along the towering cliffs. With a 1.2-mile walk to access the beach, it's just long enough to deter the crowds. While you can reach the beach by utilizing the Oregon Coast Trail, the shortest entry point can be found at the North Island Trail Viewpoint. 

Unique in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, the dunes of Indian Sands are a sharp contrast to the typical trails found in this area. Access is a little deceptive here, as you do not actually follow the signs labeled "Indian Sands" in the parking lot. Instead, follow an uphill path at the southern end of the parking area to emerge from the forest onto the dunes. Rather than ocean-fed dunes, these formations are the result of eroding sandstone of nearby cliffs. 

Quite possibly one of the prettiest trails in the corridor, the trail around Cape Ferrelo is a special place. A meandering, curving trail that follows the landscape with an eye for the best views, you'll find plenty of places to pause and take in the sights. The dramatic vistas and gorgeous colors make this a must-see destination despite it's brief 1.0-mile distance. To extend your visit, consider taking a picnic lunch to Lone Ranch Beach + Picnic Area. While not technically within the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, the long and wide crescent offers picnic tables overlooking the water. Tide pools can also be found here during low tide at the northern end of the beach. Just remember to be mindful of your tide pool etiquette when exploring this delicate habitat.

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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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