Lace up your boots to explore massive headlands rising from the Pacific, lush forest groves and, if you’re lucky, find a secret waterfall.
Three miles north of Lincoln City, Cascade Head offers out-and-back trails with breathtaking views of the Oregon coastline and the Salmon River Estuary. Just remember, this is a protected wildlife sanctuary—removal of foliage, hunting, camping, fires, bicycles and dogs are not allowed to help preserve this delicate habitat.
Nature Conservancy Trail – Lower Trailhead
Open year round, this two-mile-long trail covers the north and south sides of the headlands. While terrain can be challenging, the view of the Salmon River Estuary and Pacific coastline is worth it. Travel west from Highway 101 down Three Rocks Road to Knight Park, where the trailhead can be found following the shoulder of Savage Road.
Nature Conservancy Trail – Upper Trailhead
To protect the endangered Silver Spotted Butterfly, the Upper Trailhead of Cascade Head is only open from July 16 to Dec. 31. This hike is easier than the lower trailhead—accessible by taking Forest Service Road 1861 west from Highway 101 to the trailhead. This makes for a level, one-mile hike to the upper viewpoint.
The lower and upper trails connect for a six-mile out-and-back adventure surrounded in natural beauty.
Like the Upper Trailhead, Harts Cove is open from July 16 to Dec. 31 and can be found taking the same Forest Service Road 1861 west from Highway 101. The trailhead is found further west along the road and is not for the faint of heart, with difficult terrain and elevation changes. But through the bridges and groves of Sitka spruce and Western hemlock, you will stumble across the gorgeous Harts Cove, where oftentimes seals, sea lions and whales play in the waters below.
Cascade Head Inland Trail
A mile south of Neskowin, this forested adventure is found directly off Highway 101 and can be accessed from either the north or south trailheads. The trailhead is open year-round and is often less crowded. While you will not find the Pacific or the Salmon River Estuary on this moderately difficult six-mile hike, you are still walking through the beautiful old growth of Sitka spruce forests shared by the other Cascade Head hikes.
Getting to the Drift Creek Falls Trailhead is its own adventure—follow signage south to Drift Creek Road off Highway 101 for two miles and go left on Forest Road 17. Follow the road for 10 miles to the trailhead, where you’ll find parking, day-use fee area and restrooms. The trailhead can also be accessed from Highway 18 north of Lincoln City—take Bear Creek Road for three miles until it becomes Forest Road 17. Continue the additional seven miles to the trailhead. Drift Creek Falls is open year-round, and three miles in, you will discover a 240-foot suspension bridge leading down to a dramatic 75-foot waterfall, misting into the air.
A little sister headland to Cascade Head, the meadowed hill north of Lincoln City is affectionately known as “The Knoll.” While a moderately difficult half mile uphill hike, those who reach the top can breathe in the spectacular views of the Pacific coastline. To reach the trailhead, turn north on NE Devils Lake Blvd from Highway 101. Follow the road past a gate until you reach a cul-de-sac. Park on the street and the trailhead to the Knoll is just beyond the road and takes you through fields and forests.
Spring Lake Trail
Open year round, this 2.5-mile moderate trail a short distance from Regatta Grounds on NE 14th Street, Spring Lake Trail takes you wandering through the wooded area surrounding Spring Lake.
Friends of the Wildwood Trail
A one-mile hike canopied by tall trees over woodlands and streams, this easygoing hike can be accessed from West Devils Lake Road, just north of NE 22nd Street at Milepost 2.
Regatta Grounds Park
Just off NE 14th Street, this half-mile nature trail begins at the north end of Regatta Park. You wander through old growth forest and will find a 400-year-old grandfather Sitka spruce, stretching more than 200 feet tall.
Cutler City Nature Trail
An easy one-mile hike through a woodland area, the trail can be accessed from Highway 101, west on to SW 63rd Street and followed one block to the trailhead.
Breathe in two miles of trail through Western Hemlock, Sitka spruce and open forest lands. You may catch sight of nesting birds, deer and other wildlife. Get to Agnes Creek at the end of SW Dune Ave. or at the end of SW 19th Street and start exploring.
Alder Island Nature Trail
Prepare to wander this half-mile loop through the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, winding along the Siletz River and passing through forest and marshland. This flat, easy hike is accessible year-round and offers lovely sights where the river meets the sea. Look for egrets, herons and marsh birds among the tall alder trees. The trailhead is directly east of Highway 101, just five miles south of Lincoln City. Drive over the Siletz River Bridge and go east on to Millport Slough Lane.