Hiking on the Oregon Coast
Hiking on the Oregon coast offers plenty of opportunities for those looking for a fun family hike, a strenuous workout, or an overnight backpacking trip. The topography of the coast changes from north to south. In the northern portion, from Reedsport south to Coos Bay, the land is fairly flat and dominated by the Oregon Dunes. South of Coos Bay, the land becomes more mountainous, with fewer beaches and more scenic cliffs. The most dramatic sections are from just north of Port Orford, south through Gold Beach and onto Brookings. Finally, the section south of Brookings and onto Crescent City is once again mostly flat although not nearly as sandy as the dunes on the north.
Oregon Coast Trail
The jewel is the Oregon Coast Trail, which traverses the entire length of the coast and continues south as the California Coastal Trail. Access to this trail is easy, with ample parking at several points along US Route 101. This allows the casual visitor a chance to park the car and take the entire family out on a short hike to discover the beauty of the coast that one cannot see by car. For those who are up to more of a challenge, it is possible to park, then hike for several days and camp along the trail or stay at area motels. Portions of this trail that cross rivers or creeks can be very difficult during or immediately after the rainy season presenting serious challenges to dedicated hikers.
Rogue River and Siskiyou Mountains Hiking
A short distance to the east are the Siskiyou Mountains and the National Forest. These offer remote hiking and backpacking. There are also several wilderness areas including the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Grassy Knob Wilderness, Copper Salmon Wilderness, Wild Rogue Wilderness, and the Siskiyou Wilderness in northern California. Yet the most popular hike into the interior is the Rogue River Trail. This trail is especially well maintained by the Forest Service and the BLM.
GPS Hiking and Google Earth
The availability of inexpensive GPS units has caused their popularity to explode. This website is making available downloadable GPX and KMZ (or KML) files for many of the hikes. GPX files are uploadable to your GPS units to display the path of the hike. KMZ or KML files are available for use with Google Earth to show the path of the hike as well as to playback a movie of the hike. Free maps for GPS units are available at Northwest Trails. The link to these files are located within the detailed description of each hike, typically towards the end.
Hiking in the Reedsport and Winchester Bay area means tackling the scenic Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The hikes can be easy, or extremely challenging, with several hikes over the Sahara like dunes. Some hikes are around picturesque lakes or marshes, while others are a march to the sea. The Oregon Coast Trail also travels through the dunes with most of the trail on the ... more
To the north are the Oregon Dunes with their miles of sand hiking. The Oregon Coast Trail generally hugs the shoreline in this area, then moves inland to cross the bridge into Coos Bay. In the dunes, there are three day-hiking trails: The John Dellenback Trail, Bluebill Lake Trail, and the North Split Hike. To the south, the shoreline changes dramatically as cliffs rise and the dunes disappear. The most scenic hiking is west of Charleston, through Sunset Bay State Park, Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks. This is not technically part of the Coast Trail ... more
The California Coastal Trail starts at the state line and winds its way along the beach south through Tolowa Dunes, through Crescent City and onto Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park and The Redwoods National Park. Jedediah Smith State Park has excellent hiking trails along with lesser known hikes like Craigs Creek Trail ... more
For avid hikers, the Bandon area does not have the attraction of nearby wilderness or national forests. However, it does have the Oregon Coast Trail, which travels through town and along the beach with spectacular scenery. However, this portion of trail offers challenges in that ... more
Take the family for a nature walk down from Cape Sebastian, challenge Humbug Mountain or set out for overnight backpack trip in the Rogue River Trail or Illinois River Trail through the Siskiyou National Forest and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The Rogue River offers several hiking opportunities. The Rogue River Walk is a day trail (no camping) from just east of Gold Beach. The Lower Rogue River Trail 1168 is another day use trail from just east of Lobster Creek to Agness. The Rogue River Hiking Trail is a backpackers dream, ... more
Brookings - Harbor is the western gateway to the nearly 180,000 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness and the Siskiyou National Forest. Travel up the Wild and Scenic Chetco River for a trip into the wild. Vacation in a comfortable hotel in town, camp along the Chetco, or rent one of the shelters that belong to the Forest Service. Or travel north and hike along the Pacific Coast Trail and enjoy the views. Visit one of the many parks, ... more