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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,455.00 ft (1,053.08 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
39.20 mi (63.09 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.

Section 7 of the Oregon Coast Trail spans 33 miles between the towns of North Bend and Bandon with a 6.5-mile side trek to Cape Arago. This side trek is arguably the best part of this section and includes three beautiful state parks, secluded beach coves, hiking trails, marine life viewing, and epic coastal views. Between Cape Arago and Bandon is a remote stretch that includes the secluded beach at Seven Devils State Recreation Site and interesting rock formations at Five Mile Point. This section's conclusion is highlighted by Bullards Beach and its corresponding state park as well the Coquille River and the Coquille River Lighthouse.

Tips for hiking the Oregon Coast Trail 

The Oregon Coast Trail offers hikers an opportunity to experience the beauty of Oregon’s coastal landscapes and ecosystems in an intimate and continuous way, and it passes through fragile environments. Your awareness of a few additional items can enrich your overall experience on the OCT and help minimize your impact on delicate environments along the way.

  • Before departing on your hike, learn the Leave No Trace Seven Principles so that you can practice them while you are out on the trail. The more that people incorporate Leave No Trace into their decisions and habits, the better the outdoor experience will be for everyone.
  • Learn about Oregon’s five unique marine reserves. Marine reserves are areas that have been set aside for study, research, and conservation; it is illegal to remove any marine life from a marine reserve, and they are also protected from any development. Marine protected areas, which are often adjacent to reserves, allow some fishing and development. Marine reserves are wonderful areas to observe wildlife and take in Oregon’s beautiful coastal scenery. Fortunately, Oregon’s marine reserves couldn’t be more accessible than when hiking the OCT. From north to south they include:
  • The islands and sea stacks along the coast are protected as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. They provide crucial nesting habitat for seabirds and pupping/resting sites for seals and sea lions. All seabirds and marine mammals are protected by federal law and are sensitive to human disturbance. For this reason, all islands and sea stacks are closed to public access year round.
  • Portions of the trail meet the ocean's waterline and may only be passable at low tide. Excercise caution and safe judgement; wait for appropriate tidal conditions in these areas, and always watch for sneaker waves. 
  • Pay special attention to areas signed and posted as snowy plover habitat. A handful of Oregon’s beaches and estuaries provides critical habitat for the western snowy plover, a species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as threatened in 1993. The breeding season for the western snowy plover is from March 15 to September 15, and during this time it is imperative to avoid potential nesting locations in dry sand beach areas. Dogs, kites, bikes, and vehicles are all prohibited from March 15 to September 15, and walking is only allowed on hard-packed wet sand. Please do your part to help this threatened species survive by complying with posted restrictions and completely avoiding closed areas. There are designated snowy plover areas from Fort Stevens to Floras Lake, and hikers should be aware of their locations. To learn more, be sure to check out these snowy plover resources:
  • The Oregon coast is generally a very dog friendly location, and dogs are allowed on most beaches, state parks (when on a leash) and other coastal public lands. However, there are specific times and locations when dogs are not permitted in certain areas, such as beaches and estuaries identified as snowy plover habitat during nesting season. Please pay attention to posted signage and respect times and areas where dogs are prohibited. 
  • For those interested in hiking the OCT in sections, or even just accessing the trail for day hikes, take note that recreation fees and passes are required at several federal recreation sites. If you will be parking at one of the state or federal fee area recreation sites, make sure to pick up the applicable recreation pass such as an Oregon Coast Pacific Passport.

Horsfall Beach to Cape Arago

This section of the Oregon Coast Trail picks up at the Horsfall Beach Access. Take the Horsfall Beach Access Road until it reaches back to Highway 101 and head south. Cross over the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge into the city of North Bend. North Bend has all the amenities you’ll need to recharge you on your journey. Once you cross the bridge, proceed on Highway 101 south to a set of stairs that leads to Ferry Road Park. Follow the Sawmill and Tribal Trail through the historic district of North Bend to Empire Lakes, where the trail leaves the road and follows a walking trail around the north shore of the lakes. Follow the trail to Cape Arago Highway. The Sawmill and Tribal Trail is well signed with a trail logo on numbered cedar posts and on streets and sidewalks. Continue along the Cape Arago Highway to the city of Charleston. You’ll cross over the South Slough, and Seven Devils Road splits off to the left. Note the junction of the Cape Arago Highway and Seven Devils Road.

You'll continue along the OCT on Seven Devils Road eventually, but for now continue along the Cape Arago Highway. This area is a dead end, but it has some of the best scenery of this section. Take a right onto Coos Head Road, which eventually splits off into Bastendorff Beach Road. Check out the beach, but continue along on the road. The ORPD map of the OCT mentions a trail from Bastendorff Beach to Sunset Bay State Park, but it is not well marked and is easy to miss. Bastendorff Beach Road makes its way back to the Cape Arago Highway. Continue south and you’ll find an unmarked trailhead on the right off of the road. If you're feeling adventurous, take this short trail to Yoakam Point. You’ll find a view of Cape Arago Lighthouse and beach access here. Continue back to the highway and head south until you reach Sunset Bay State Park. The park has a campground and day use area. A calm beach along Sunset Bay is the main feature of the day use area. Feel free to take advantage of the hiker/biker sites at the campground. On the south end of the day use area you’ll find a trail that will take you most of the way to Cape Arago State Park. This trail consists of many spur trails that are unmarked. No offshoot is too long, so staying on the main trail isn’t too difficult. Some trails exist on the east side of the highway, but these trails do not lead anywhere along the OCT, so be sure to stay on the west side of the highway. Along the trail you’ll pass by Norton Gulch, where an optional trail leads down to the beach. Eventually the trail leads to Shore Acres State Park. This area was a grand estate that has been converted and restored for public use. Explore the grounds that include a Japanese-style garden and multiple rose gardens. On the south end of the park, follow trails marked for Simpson Beach. The trail runs from Simpson Beach up to a parking area with an overlook of Simpson Reef. Take in views of the reef and the rock islands upon which many sea lions haul out. From this parking area there is a trail across the road that should take you the rest of the way to Cape Arago State Park, but this trail quickly becomes overgrown and impassable. Instead, continue along the road south to Cape Arago State Park. The park consists of many viewpoints and hiking trails. Take in views of the north and middle cove before taking a short trail down to the beach at the south cove. This marks the end of the Cape Arago section, so head north back toward Seven Devils Road.

Seven Devils Road to the Coquille River Lighthouse

This section of the trail is a tedious 11-mile trek along the winding Seven Devils Road. The road eventually turns to gravel as it descends through privately owned forest lands on the way back to the ocean. As you make your way to Seven Devils State Recreation Area, be sure to check in with your tide table. If you arrive during low tide, make your way down the beach. A short walk down the beach leads to Fivemile Point. The headland here juts out and separates the beach areas to the north and south. It is possible to climb over or walk around the exposed rocks here during low tide; during high tide, these rocks are covered, and it is prohibited to climb over the headland. If you need to bypass Fivemile Point, look for a trail that leaves from the beach just before the rocks. Alternately, you can continue along Seven Devils Road to Whiskey Run Lane. This road leads to the Whiskey Run Beach. There is vehicle access at this beach, so be aware that you’ll likely be sharing the beach with cars here. Continue along the beach until you reach the beach access for Bullards Beach State Park, or continue all the way down the beach until you reach the jetty and the Coquille River Lighthouse. Head back toward Highway 101 on Bullards Beach Road. You’ll pass by Bullards Beach State Park Campground. The typical Oregon coast state park amenities are available here including hiker/biker campsites. Cross over the Coquille River via the Bullards Bridge and head into Bandon. There doesn’t appear to be a pedestrian crossing here, so take extreme caution if you plan to walk accross the bridge. Once across the river, exit Highway 101 at RIverside Drive, following it south for 1.6 miles. Head west on 1st and then on Jetty Road to Bandon South Jetty Park. 

Risks of hiking road sections 

Although officially designated as a trail over 40 years ago, the OCT is an ongoing project and not yet a single continuous hiking trail. Gaps in the trail, usually caused by rivers, bays, or rocky headlands, require hikers to walk along busy roads (often U.S. Highway 101) that are not designed for pedestrian use. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and other public and nonprofit agencies, including local cities and counties along the Oregon coast, are working to eliminate these breaks by establishing trails to connect trail segments and beaches. 

In 2016, the Oregon legislature enacted legislation requiring OPRD to complete an action plan that will identify steps needed to complete the trail. This planning effort will identify key stakeholders and document the current status of trail completion, evaluate and assess alternatives for completing trail segments, and seek funding to complete new trail sections. 

Until the trail is completed, OCT hikers will have to decide whether they choose to walk along the shoulder of the highway that is, in fact, currently an official part of the trail. It is important for OCT hikers to understand the risks of walking along the highway portions of the OCT. The most prevalent dangers are being hit by a vehicle or being struck by debris kicked up by or flying out of a passing vehicle. In addition, some highway sections along the Oregon Coast Trail are longer and more difficult than others. These highway sections are detailed in each section's guide. 

Public safety is of the highest concern at Outdoor Project, and we do not condone walking along roads without a designated pedestrian path. We support utilizing other modes of transportation to connect the trail and beach sections such as public transportation, private shuttle or taxi, biking, ferry, or completing the Oregon Coast Trail in hiking sections to avoid the highway altogether. Two great resources for finding alternative transportation are Google Transit (Google.com/transit), Visit The Oregon Coast (visittheoregoncoast.com/transportation/), and an internet search for taxis or other transportation alternatives in the town nearest to the trail break. There are also ferry services available to cross the Nehalem River, Tillamook Bay and the Umpqua River, and these will greatly reduce the amount of highway miles one must walk. Note that ferry boats do run on a regular schedule and must be reserved in advance. More information on each of these ferries is found in Section 2 and Section 6. 

This guide provides information needed for hikers who do choose to walk the trail in its entirety, including those portions along the highway. We urge those hikers to exercise caution to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike on the OCT.

For further information on the Oregon Coast Trail, be sure to check out these articles:

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

3

Pros

Big ocean vistas. Many state parks along the route. Marine life viewing.

Cons

Long sections along the road. Limited backcountry camping options.

Trailhead Elevation

90.00 ft (27.43 m)

Highest point

575.00 ft (175.26 m)

Net Elevation Gain

-74.00 ft (-22.56 m)

Features

Historically significant
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Lighthouse
Wildlife
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

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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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