OCT North Coast Trail Data

OCT North Coast Trail Data

Trek through Stunning Landscapes from Lincoln City to Fort Stevens

The northern Oregon coast boasts lush coastal rain forest, stunning rock formations, and some long, uninterrupted stretches of beautiful, sandy beaches. There’s even a shipwreck in the homestretch! You will also cross through towns frequently in this section, including popular destinations such as Pacific City, Manzanita, Cannon Beach, and Seaside.

This page will help you construct precise plans for each day on the trail, including pinpointing areas to visit and to avoid. To decide which areas to prioritize, refer to the following key:

Should I hike or should I bypass?

(Should be sung to the tune of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”)

0 – Skull and Crossbones You gonna die; do not attempt! For instance, walking on a curvy section of Highway 101 with no shoulder.
1 – Poomoji You may not die, but you will at least soil yourself. For instance, walking along Highway 101 with no barrier.
2 – Neutral Face Meh. Right near the highway, not scenic, etc.
3 – Thumbs Up Solid. This may not appear in your Instagram feed, but it’s safe and pleasant.
4 – Excited Face Really nice! Definitely worth doing.
5 – Heart Eye Emoji SO WORTH IT OMG. You are doing this hike wrong if you don’t go here.

OCT North Coast Trail Segments

Click on individual hike segments and destinations to learn more about them. There is some overlap with the OCT Central Coast Trail Data page; this is intentional. I don’t want to force you to bounce around too much! Finally, please note: I hiked the OCT from south to north (northbound, or nobo, as the kids call it these days). As such, these segments are also organized from south to north.

Without further ado, let’s start pushing north:

 D River State Recreation Site to Devil’s Lake State Park
0.25 miles along Highway 101 – but there is a sidewalk! Connecting two Lincoln City landmarks. Rating: 2
 Devil’s Lake State Park to Lincoln City Beach Access
0.7 miles along roads, including Highway 101 – but there is a sidewalk! Easy connection, though in and of itself, it’s not that thrilling. Rating: 2
Thumbs Up Lincoln City to Road’s End
This 3-mile span of beach is beautiful, but it can be crowded. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Road’s End Out-and-Back
About 2 miles out and back from the Road’s End State Recreation Site parking lot. Beautiful and well worth the detour. Rating: 5

NOTE: There is a significant breakdown in the continuity of the OCT between the north end of Lincoln City (Road’s End) and Neskowin. I discuss this in more depth on the OCT Transportation page. That said, I highly encourage you to do Cascade Head, which is between Lincoln City and Neskowin. It may not be an official part of the OCT, but it is entirely worth doing. Two hikes in this beautiful area are described below.

Heart Eye Emoji Cascade Head: Hart’s Cove
A 5.4-mile out-and-back to view a 75-foot waterfall plunging into a turquoise cove. NOTE: Only open July 15-December 31 to protect endangered species. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Cascade Head: Upper Viewpoint (Description on OregonHikers.org)
A 6.8-mile round-trip exploration of beautiful, varied Nature Conservancy and Forest Service lands. NOTE: Upper portions of the trail are only open July 15-December 31 to protect endangered species. Rating: 5
Excited Face Neskowin to Wi-Ne-Ma Road
5.5 miles primarily on a quiet beach, with a short final walk to meet 101. Rating: 4
Poomoji Wi-Ne-Ma Road to Bob Straub State Park
6.9 miles primarily on Highway 101, including some narrow sections. Rating: 1
Heart Eye Emoji Bob Straub State Park: Nestucca Spit Out-and-Back
About 4 miles of beautiful scenery in a location significant to the history of Oregon’s public coastline. Not to be missed. Rating: 5
Excited Face Bob Straub State Park to Cape Kiwanda (and Pelican Brewing)
About 1 mile of beautiful beach with a full-on view of Cape Kiwanda and the giant sand dune. A lovely and easy way to get to Pacific City. It’s often crowded, and you need to watch out for dory boats – but that’s all part of the charm. Rating: 4
Heart Eye Emoji Pacific City Giant Sand Dune
Just what you need: Another giant climb in soft sand! But your hard work will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views – and the descent is fun. Rating: 5
Thumbs Up Pacific City to Tierra Del Mar
A short road walk and then about 1.5 miles of beach. Rating: 3
 Tierra Del Mar to Cape Lookout State Park
About 9 miles, mostly roads, into a beautiful state park. Rating: 2
Thumbs Up Cape Lookout State Park to Netarts
About 5 miles along a road into the charming small town of Netarts. The final span is along beautiful Netarts Bay, a hub for shellfish harvesting. Even though this is along a road, and sometimes a narrow shoulder, it’s a lovely walk. Rating: 3
Thumbs Up Netarts Beach Access
Take West Crab Avenue to its end at 2nd Street, then take the stairs downhill to the beach. Easy access, and immediately pretty. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Netarts to Oceanside
About 2 miles of beautiful beach. Sights include tidepools and sea stacks. Rating: 5
Thumbs Up Oceanside to Cape Meares Lighthouse
About 3 miles of climbing along a twisting road with a shoulder and amazing views. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Cape Meares Lighthouse and Octopus Tree
A short stroll in an amazing place. Rating: 5
Thumbs Up Cape Meares Lighthouse to Bayocean Peninsula Park
About 3 miles downhill on a twisting road (some of which is closed to vehicles) to a beautiful area. Rating: 3
Excited Face Bayocean Spit
8 miles out and back of beach with beautiful scenery. Rating: 4
Thumbs Up Bayocean Peninsula Park to Tillamook
7.7 miles of roads, with nice views. Rating: 3
Poomoji Tillamook to Barview
12 miles along Highway 101. Rating: 1
Excited Face Barview to Nedonna Beach
About 5 miles of beautiful beach, including views of the Twin Rocks by Rockaway. Rating: 4
Poomoji Nedonna Beach to Nehalem
8.3 miles along Highway 101. Rating: 1
Thumbs Up Nehalem to Nehalem Bay State Park
2.5 miles through quaint beach towns to a beautiful state park. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Nehalem Bay State Park
6 miles out and back in a beautiful state park. Rating: 5
Thumbs Up Nehalem Bay State Park to Neahkahnie Mountain South Trailhead
3.2 miles of beach, trail, and road. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Neahkahnie Mountain – South to North
2.5 miles one way, beginning with stunning views of Nehalem Bay. Gorgeous, lush forest in the middle, and then views of Oswald West State Park and the ocean on the descent. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Elk Flats to Arch Cape Suspension Bridge
About 8 miles through stunning Oswald West State Park, over Cape Falcon, and concluding at a nice bridge.
Heart Eye Emoji Arch Cape Suspension Bridge to Hug Point
About 2 miles along the beach to a beautiful spot with a beachside waterfall and rock formations.
Heart Eye EmojiSkull and Crossbones Hug Point Crossing
Carved into the rock so stagecoaches could pass in the days when the beach was used as a highway, this pinch point is a beautiful and treacherous piece of Oregon coast history. Make sure to cross at low tide, during calm weather. Rating: 5 at low tide; 0 at high tide.
Poomoji Hug Point High Tide Route
About 2.5 miles of roads, mostly along Highway 101, then down South Hemlock and West Sitka Streets, back to the beach. This span of 101 is rather scary, but if it’s high tide, it’s what you gotta do. Rating: 1
Heart Eye Emoji Hug Point to Cannon Beach
About 4.5 miles along the sand, with seastacks galore, into an iconic Oregon coast town. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji West Sitka Street to Cannon Beach (Continuing from Hug Point High Tide Route)
About 1.5 miles along the sand, with seastacks galore, into an iconic Oregon coast town. Rating: 5
Excited Face Cannon Beach to Ecola Point Day Use Area
Even though you’re following roads, it’s a beautiful route and a rewarding climb. Rating: 4
Heart Eye Emoji Indian Beach Trail – South to North
1.3 miles of beautiful old-growth forest, cliff-side ocean views, and a finale at a gorgeous beach. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Indian Beach to Tillamook Head Hikers’ Camp
Two options, each about 2.5 miles one-way, that take you through lush coastal rainforest to three Adirondack-style cabins in a hilltop camp that is first-come, first-served – and free! Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint and WWII Bunkers
A short walk from the Tillamook Head Hikers’ Camp to a stunning viewpoint and WWII bunkers. YOU MUST DO THIS. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Tillamook Head Hikers’ Camp to Tillamook Head North Trailhead
About 4 miles of rolling hills through lush coastal rainforest, with occasional glimpses of the ocean. Rating: 5
Thumbs Up Tillamook Head North Trailhead to Gearhart Beach Access (Pacific Way)
7 miles, beginning with a descent along a little-used road, then a span of beach in popular Seaside, cutting through Seaside, a couple miles on Highway 101, and finishing by walking through the quiet town of Gearhart. Rating: 3
Heart Eye Emoji Gearhart Beach Access (Pacific Way) to the Next Gearhart Beach Access (10th Street)
0.5 miles on beautiful, quiet beach, or 0.7 miles on lovely, quiet roads. Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Gearhart to Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, Fort Stevens State Park
About 9 miles of beautiful, level, sandy beach, with a fair amount of solitude. Concluding at a sizeable chunk of a shipwreck. Makes for a perfect day! Rating: 5
Heart Eye Emoji Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale to South Jetty Observation Tower, Fort Stevens State Park
About 3 miles of beautiful, level, sandy beach, with a fair amount of solitude. The last pitch is up some dunes, and then up a short staircase. Soak in views of the coastline to the south, the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and Washington state as you savor the completion of your journey. Rating: 5

Done with the North Coast? You stud!

Backtrack to OCT Central Coast Trail Data, or jump to OCT South Coast Trail Data.

Continue planning your trip! Cross-reference with the OCT Transportation and OCT Lodging pages.

Return to the Oregon Coast Trail main page.

Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale
Shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, Fort Stevens State Park © Jenni Denekas

Banner Image: Trail on Neakahnie Mountain © Jenni Denekas