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Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,117.00 ft (340.46 m)
Trail type
10.60 mi (17.06 km)
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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 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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee


Great views. Camping shelters. Lush costal forest. Potential for one-way with shuttle.


Trail gets soggy. Fallen trees. Long hike as a there-and-back.

Trailhead Elevation

32.00 ft (9.75 m)


Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day




Did this 4/27/18. As stated in other posts the trail from Ecola State Park-Indian Beach Trail Head still does not go all the way through. My group went from the Indian Beach Trail Head to the Tillamook Head Trailhead. We parked one car at the Tillamook Head TH then shuttled back to the start at Indian Beach TH. The day was rainy and very foggy... perfect. We did have some views of the Tillamook Lighthouse but many times we were surrounded by fog and couldn't see the ocean. BUT- this hike it totally worth the effort. The lush greens and stands of old and new growth forest are among the best in Oregon. Ended up being 5.5 miles with about 1100ft of elevation gain. Some places were very muddy (this is the Oregon Coast!) and slippery. Sturdy footwear and a change of socks/shoes at your destination are recommended.
Did this hike on 3/25/18. We started at Ecola State Park with the intent of hiking to Indian Beach and then onto Tillamook Head Trail however the trail was washed out near Indian Beach. We hiked back to Ecola Park and drove to Indian beach where we hopped back on the trail. The trail was absolutely magical! It was however very boggy in some spots so be prepared to have a slower pace. We hiked out and back, the scenery was well worth it!
I know this is a hike but I'm a runner and well close enough. So I did a run from the Seaside promenade to the TH (~2.5 miles) relatively easy and flat for the first 2 miles. Then the fun started, you shoot up 1,100 ft in two miles on some muddy, rocky, rooty trail. Multiple switch backs and some great views as you climb. Miles 4-6 for are some up and down in and out of the deep forrest. Plenty of climbing over fallen trees and navigating landslides. When I hit mile 6 (prior to the camping area it was time to turn around and head back. Pretty awesome run and I'd do it again maybe in warmer dryer weather but I imagine that brings out more people and I was alone and digging every minute of it.
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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 or by calling (541) 574-2679.

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