You are here

Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Wildlife refuges and preserves offer a tremendous opportunity to step back in time and see a place as it may have appeared hundreds of years earlier.  Cape Meares offers those opportunities in abundance, and they are just a short hike from the entrance at the parking area.

Some 500 years before Captain Cook first saw the Oregon Coast and gave an English name to Cape Foulweather, a humble Sitka spruce began to grow in the shade of the surrounding foliage.  This spruce was around 600 years old when Oregon became a state on Valentine’s Day in 1859.  Today, Big Spruce is Oregon's largest Sitka spruce, and at 9,030 cubic feet it's the 10th largest spruce in the world when measured by volume.  To see it, take the short hike to the left as the trail forks just outside the parking area.

The pleasures of the refuge don't stop there.  Continue down the trail as it winds through more of the coastal old-growth, and keep your eyes and ears alert for wildlife. Listen for deer and elk in the woods, and as you walk along the beach look for murres and the occasional puffin.  High tide definitely limits your options as you near the beach, so plan around it if you want to spend any time on the shore.

Once you catch your breath after the climb back to your car, continue down the road to the Cape Meares State Park, where there are excellent opportunities to view more of the wildlife from the headlands.  If you are visiting in the spring, watch for local Peregrine Falcons that maintain an eyrie on the seaside cliffs.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Big Spruce historic tree. Lush costal forest. Beach access at low tide.

Cons

Steep return from the beach. Trail is washed out in sections. High tide prevents beach access.

Trailhead Elevation

436.00 ft (132.89 m)

Net Elevation Gain

400.00 ft (121.92 m)

Address

Cape Meares, OR 97141
United States

Features

Historically significant
Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

04/20/2014
The meadow on the bluff at the end of the trail is also worth checking out.
09/10/2018
The beach down below is a great spot to enjoy the sunset from. Of course, you'll be hiking back up in the dark, but it's well worth it!
02/17/2017
The last 10 feet or so of trail leading to the beach has eroded away, leaving a steep bank. Fortunately, someone has tied a rope to help get you down to the beach (and back up). You might want to test the rope before using.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.