Sponsored content presented by Pelican Brewing Company.
If you’re only headed to the Oregon coast for the beaches, you’re getting it wrong. The coast offers some of the most spectacular hiking in the state, with expansive coastline views, luscious forests, and hidden beaches. And the best part about hiking on the Oregon coast is taking comfort in the fact that a refreshing pint of beer is never far away.
In keeping with the spirit, we are celebrating two things that make Oregon so special: epic coastal hikes and equally epic beer.
Below we’ve got four recommendations - straight from coastal residents - on some of the most magical hikes the coast has to offer, most of which are under 2 hours from Portland. We talked with employees at Pelican Brewing’s beachfront brewpub in Pacific City, an Oregon coast brewery for their hike recommendations. The beachfront brewpub in Pacific City is just steps away from Cape Kiwanda. There are also two other locations along the coast to visit as well in Tillamook and Cannon Beach.
With that in mind, ‘tis the season to enjoy summer sippers like Head Out Hefe, Pelican’s antidote to pleasant, warm days—crisp, juicy and light enough to even take along for a mid-trail break.
To celebrate the release of Head Out Hefe, Pelican Brewing is partnering with TrailKeepers of Oregon, a non-profit organization that works hard to build, maintain, and improve Oregon’s hiking trails in order to create a better outdoor experience for everyone. Pelican is sponsoring a number of Trail Keepers’ trail restoration projects, including two-day trail parties and week-long adventure vacations within various coastal communities. You can find details for dates and events here.
Short Sand Beach Trail, 1.2 Miles
Oswald West State Park, near Nehalem
“This trail is an extended moment to enjoy the journey and appreciate the forest before taking off your shoes and stepping barefoot on to the sand,” says Pacific City resident Alexandra Pallas, who works in Marketing for Pelican Brewing.
The hike to Short Sand Beach feels more like an extended walk to the beach but that doesn’t make it any less stunning. The hike takes you through a beautiful old-growth forest of giant Sitka spruce trees and ends at a secluded cove. A popular spot for surfers and boogie boarders, it’s short enough to tow in a blanket and a cooler of beach beer like Head Out Hefe for a relaxing afternoon by the ocean.
Beginning from the large parking lot on the east side of Highway 101, look for the informational kiosk and take the paved trail under the highway. The trail turns into a dirt path as you make your way through the forest, skirting along Short Sand Creek. You’ll eventually cross a bridge that leads to a picnic area before the trail drops down towards the beach, which means it’s time to relax and crack open a beer. Want to take your explorations further? Pallas has some additional tips: “During low tide there is even more to explore along the beach. Awesome tidepools and rugged features to the North and South ends of Short Sands beach make for a great addition to the adventure.”
Ecola Point to Indian Beach Trail, 4.7 miles
Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach
For Tillamook resident Brent McCune, the combination of trees, forest canopies and spectacular ocean viewpoints is what makes the Indian Beach Trail at Ecola State Park so amazing.
However, the highlight of the 4.7-mile out and back trail is the mid-hike break, where you can have some quality beach time. “Getting to Indian Beach is definitely the best stop for enjoying a beer, taking in the view, walking on the beach, and resting before hiking back,” says McCune.
From the Ecola State Park trailhead, you’ll take a trail that crosses a footbridge over Crescent Creek and then ascend a series of switchbacks through an old-growth Sitka spruce forest. You’ll then reach a viewpoint looking out towards “Terrible Tilly,” a decommissioned lighthouse perched atop a rock in the middle of the ocean. Be prepared for some muddy sections along the trail if hiking after a recent rainfall. After crossing through a secondary Sitka spruce forest, you’ll be treated to views of the Sea Lion Rock arch and “Terrible Tilly” while descending down to Indian Beach, the payoff for all your hard work.
Arrive early since Ecola State park can get crowded, and be prepared to pay the $5 parking fee. Nonetheless, the beach hangout before turning around is the ultimate reward, especially when you’ve come prepared with a picnic and some local brews.
Neahkahnie Mountain, 2.8 Miles
Oswald West State Park
Summiting Neahkahnie Mountain can be a bit challenging, but that’s all the more reason to reward yourself with a nice cold beer. Though this trail doesn’t involve a beach along the way, the panoramic views of the Oregon coast make it worthwhile. “Go early on the weekends for sure, especially in the summer. If you can do it mid-week that would be your best chance for a less crowded trail experience,” advises Coren Tradd, a R&D Brewer at Pelican Brewing who lives in Manzanita. “There’s a marked gravel road off Highway 101 just a few miles north of Manzanita on the right—if you’re headed from there—that I take and park by the marked trailhead. Also, there are no bathrooms or water at the trailhead, so plan accordingly.”
At 1,680 feet, Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the highest points along the Oregon coast. From the trailhead expect a steady climb with gradual switchbacks as you weave through a dense Sitka spruce forest. Expect to encounter some steep sections, especially when you get closer to the summit. Most importantly, check the weather before heading out since this hike is best experienced on a clear day. “There’s a big pile of rocks that you can sun yourself on while taking in the views and enjoying a nice cold beer before heading back down,” adds Tradd, who makes sure to bring along Head Out Hefe when hiking Neahkahnie in the summer.
Rainforest Trail, 7.4 miles
According to Seaside resident Carly Dye, the Rainforest Trail at Cascade Head is the perfect Oregon coast hike. Just a 20-minute drive from Pacific City, the trail has everything you’d want in a summer trek—shaded forest canopy and stunning views. “This hike has everything to make your coastal hiking dreams come true” says Dye. There are “options for different trails that lead you to more spectacular views, such as Harts Cove Trail and even a secret waterfall.”
The hike gradually ascends through an old-growth forest of Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, hemlock, an alder. You’ll continue through the mossy fern-lined woods, crossing a few creeks before the trail opens up to a grassy hillside meadow. Once you make it to the top, it’s time to find a resting spot and enjoy the views of the Oregon coastline and Salmon River Estuary. “The grassy knoll at the top is by far the best spot to take a rest, crack open that Head out Hefe and take in the view,” says Dye. “This beer is perfect for a sunny coastal day on the bluff.” As far as tips for hiking the Rainforest Trail go, Dye recommends that you “get out there mid-week, bring boots, and be ready for gardener snakes hiding around the grassy knolls at the top.”