Cape Falcon and Short Sand Beach

Date: August 22, 2009
Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 325 ft
Time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Weather: warm and sunny
Maps: Oswald West State Park Map
My Route:

  1. The trail head is near a large sign with a map on the west side of the northern-most parking lot. Follow the trail.
  2. Turn right at the sign directing toward Cape Falcon, this is the Oregon Coast Trail
  3. At unmarked but distinct 3-way intersection, turn left
  4. Continue to view points overlooking Cape Falcon
  5. Turn around and return as you came
  6. Follow sign to beach
  7. Check out Short Sand Beach
  8. Return to trail head on the same trail, follow sign to hwy 101
Notes:
The trail to Cape Falcon is an easy hike, although at 5 miles round trip it may be a challenge for children or folks with lower endurance. The trail is wide in most places and well maintained. There are lots of exposed roots that make this a time to keep your eyes on the trail to avoid tripping. But don't forget to look up occasionally and enjoy the view.
Looking over Short Sand Beach from the hike to Cape Falcon. Neahkahnie Mountain in the distance.

While this route is on the coast, it's not on the beach, but rather in the forest. I do enjoy old growth forests and there are some spectacularly big trees and stumps. The destination, Cape Falcon, is a lookout over some rocks. We stopped there for a while and ate a snack as we watched sea gulls and pelicans flying around.
Cape Falcon

One the way back to the car we detoured slightly to go to the beach. The beach area is one of the most popular surfing spots in Oregon and was crowded with picnickers, surfers, sunbathers, campers and dogs. The hike to Cape Falcon would make a nice mid-day break from the sand to get out of the sunshine during a day at the beach or part of a camping trip at Oswald West. In those cases, starting the hike from the beach rather than 101 would be the logical choice.
Short Sand Beach

The trail was not crowded, however the parking lot was very full with beach goers. We may have gotten the last space in the lot and had to negotiate a tight parallel spot to get into it.

Trail Head:

View PDX Day Hiker in a larger map
Trail head is at the North-most of the park's parking lots. Restrooms located in the next parking lot to the south, as well as at the beach.

What I said about these trails before: Hikes at the coast, Hikes in Oswald West State Park, Cape Falcon hikes
Other resources for this and other nearby hikes:
Cape Falcon on Portland Hikers
Oswald West State Park
Oswald West on GORP
Cape Falcon on Trimble
HikingArea
Guidebooks:
60 Hikes within 60 Miles
Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon
Portland Hikes: The Best Day-Hikes Within 100 Miles of Portland
100 Classic Hikes in Oregon
100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range (Oregon 100 Hikes)
Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon
Day Hiking Oregon Coast (Done in a Day)

This hike was part of Hike-A-Thon 2009, a fundraiser for Washington Trails Association. All my hike-a-thon posts are here. My fundraising page is here.

Have you been on this or a nearby trail? Please share your experience.

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