Cape Falcon

  • Level: Easy (Beginner Level: Doable)
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Elevation: 300 ft. gain
  • Type: out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h45m
  • Google map: “Oswald West State Park”

This was one of the first coast trails I’ve done and I think of it so fondly. Not surprising because it’s absolutely gorgeous and so easy to get to. Five miles is a good amount of distance, but the climb isn’t too crazy, so I sometimes add this one onto others, like nearby Neahkahnie Mountain. You can also just make a day of hanging out here because Short Sands Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on this stretch of coast and there’s also another short, 1.2-mile loop hike from the trailhead if you want to tack it on.

I listed the Beginner Level at Doable, because I truly think it is, but I want to be completely clear: this one is muddy year round and there are a lot of rooty parts that require careful footing. The abundant salal closes in on the trail in multiple parts, but it’s not quite machete-worthy. Also, there was a tree down when I was last there was a pain in the ass to get around, but not dangerous. It’s probably gone by now.

From the trailhead:

The trail starts to the left of the restroom and heads under a highway 101, following Short Sands Creek. Keep right at all junctions to a picnic area just before the beach. Follow the Cape Falcon pointer to the right to a trail through the woods. After about 2.3 miles, you’ll reach a trail junction to the Cape Falcon viewpoint, turn left. You’ll walk through some salal strangling the trail like an overgrown hedge maze and shortly reach the a viewpoint. There are a bunch of short spur trails here for different views. Return the way you came.

The start of the trail by the bathroom.
Sitka Spruce freaks
Tell me again how it isn’t all sex and genitals..



A few boardwalks over the crazy mud, but it gets worse later with no boardwalks.
This was shitty and stabby to get around. Prob gone by now.


Oh hey, I just climbed you…
Salal hedge maze
Atop Cape Falcon! I love this view.
This squirrel was no dummy. They were clearly use to a human hand out.
Salal ❤

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