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How to Plan the Perfect Hiking Adventure on Oregon’s Adventure Coast

How to Plan the Perfect Hiking Adventure on Oregon’s Adventure Coast

Tue, Jun 22, 2021

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Have your hiking boots been neglected this year? Are they calling out to you and begging you to take them somewhere, anywhere, other than your dark, dusty closet? Have you forgotten what breathing fresh air feels like? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions - it’s time to grab those hiking boots and come to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston. Our region is a hiker’s paradise, and there is no time like summer to get outdoors and take on a rejuvenating hike!

If you worry you’re just too out-of-shape or out-of-practice, fear not! No matter your skill level, there is a hiking trail for you. Some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the country are right in our backyard! Whether it’s climbing majestic sand dunes, hiking through a rugged coastal forest or overlooking the Pacific, a beautiful adventure awaits. Here are some tips to help you plan the best hiking trip on Oregon’s Adventure Coast:

# 1 PACK SMART

The weather on Oregon’s Adventure Coast is temperate year round, but there are seasonal fluctuations and daily ranges. We strongly recommend dressing in layers to adjust temperature accordingly. A light, waterproof jacket and sweaters come in handy even in the summertime, and depending on the season, a combination of shorts and long pants will give you some options for daytime adventures. Obviously, you’ll want to bring your walking/hiking boots along with several changes of socks.

PRO TIP: Pack a pair of binoculars so you can view breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean, along with the playful sea lions, harbor seals, and occasional elephant seals from the viewing areas on Oregon’s Adventure Coast!

#2 STAY HYDRATED

There are miles and miles of trails on Oregon’s Adventure Coast you don’t want to miss, so you’ll need to stay hydrated to keep up your energy level. Be sure to bring a reusable water bottle and keep it handy. Speaking of staying hydrated, many local hiking trails and state parks allow dogs as long as they are on leashes (be sure to check the park’s pet policy before you go). Make sure you bring plenty of water for your furry friend (rule of thumb is 1 quart of water for your dog for every three miles you plan to hike).

#3- MAKE A PLAN AND BE SAFE

Visitors are encouraged to stay safe by following these simple rules: Prepare. Care. Connect. Hiking conditions are subject to weather patterns, seasonal closures and other elements outside our control. Therefore, make sure to make a plan and check the appropriate websites before heading out. We encourage you to hike with others and/or notify someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Always carry a cell phone, but be prepared in case you have a poor signal. Travel Oregon recently launched a campaign, Take Care Out There, to help promote responsible recreation in Oregon and ensure outdoor opportunities for health, connection and joy for generations to come.

#4 KNOW THE TIDES & NEVER TURN YOUR BACK TO THE OCEAN

Our quiet, peaceful, undeveloped beaches are ideal for hiking, but we urge you to learn & follow critical safety guidelines while you’re near the ocean. What should be a beautiful day by the Pacific Ocean could suddenly become unsafe without warning if you are not careful. Check the tide times at tides-forecast.com. Read Safe Ways to Explore the Beach for more information.

#5 FUEL UP BEFORE & AFTER YOUR DAY OF HIKING

Don’t go out on the trails on an empty stomach! There are many locally owned restaurants dishing out hearty breakfasts, satisfying lunches/dinners, and the freshest seafood you could hope for. Download our Local Restaurant Guide to keep with you, or visit Oregonsadventurecoast.com/dining to see all our local restaurants.

#6 LEAVE NO TRACE

Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston is full of treasured natural destinations to enjoy, and it is up to us to be good stewards of the land. All visitors are responsible for their own actions, and we ask them to take special care and follow Leave No Trace principles. Please do not touch the wildlife under any circumstances! If you see wildlife, please appreciate it from afar and do not attempt to touch or interact with them - it is, after all, their home.

#7 BOOK EARLY & STAY AWHILE

There are no shortage of comfortable lodging options on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston that will suit your needs and preferences. However, summer tends to be our busier season, and there’s much pent-up travel energy coming our way! We recommend booking your accommodations as early as possible.

#8 VISIT THE BEST HIKING DESTINATIONS ON OREGON’S ADVENTURE COAST

We have a whole system of hiking trails in the immediate and surrounding area, but listed below are some of our favorites:

Golden and Silver Falls

For adventure lovers, Golden and Silver Falls (about an hour off Highway 101, on Highway 241) does not disappoint! This is a perfect place to enjoy nature and solitude as you hike through scenic canyons and lush coastal forests to two magnificent waterfalls. Click here for our tips and more info. A small parking and picnic area is located along the banks of Glenn and Silver Creeks, set in an old-growth forest of Douglas fir, Big Leaf Maple and Oregon Myrtle trees.

South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

The trails at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (SSNERR) are one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets. This glorious nature preserve, located off Cape Arago Highway, on 7 Devils Road, near Charleston, covers 19,000 acres and offers miles of beautiful hiking trails and waterways to explore for all ability levels. Visitors say these trails are well maintained and relatively easy to hike, however, there are uphill portions to conquer, so be prepared. SSNERR is also home to various marine life, plant and bird species - so be sure to bring binoculars with you! Visit the South Slough Reserve webpage for more information. Click here for the Estuary Study Trails map (pdf).

Watch the video below to take a virtual tour of the South Slough Estuary Trails with Rick Dancer.

Cape Arago Highway

Trust us, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the trails, beaches and state parks along the majestic Cape Arago Highway. Download this guide to help you on your route. Here are some hiking destinations you may want to explore along the way:

  • Oregon Coast Trail (Sunset Bay To Cape Arago) - Located off Cape Arago Highway through Charleston, you’ll find four miles of trails (one way) winding along one of the most spectacular coastlines in Oregon. From Sunset Bay, the trail winds around the coastal bluffs, offering spectacular views of the rugged Oregon coastline, past Shore Acres Botanical Gardens and Simpson Reef viewing area, to the captivating Cape Arago State Park. Visit the Oregon Coast Trail website (Sunset Bay to Cape Arago, Segment 7). Click here for a trail map.
  • Shore Acres Loop Hike- (Sunset Bay to Simpson Beach) - This section of the Oregon Coast Trail, open year-round, is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the state of Oregon. Dense, coastal forests, rugged sandstone cliffs, and majestic vista points make this a popular destination for nature lovers and hikers of all levels. Be sure to bring a camera with you for all but certain wildlife photo opportunities you’ll encounter.
  • Shore Acres State Park - Located off U.S. Highway 101, just 13 miles southwest of Coos Bay/North Bend, Shore Acres has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, along with towering waves crashing against the shoreline and cliffs. A secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach awaits those willing to hike down a trail. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Parking is $5 per car.
  • Simpson Beach (situated directly below Shore Acres) - A winding path takes you to this secluded ocean cove. You’ll find a small sandy beach bounded by high cliff walls, crashing waves, and views of seals, sea lions and other wildlife. (Note: please do not disturb the seals or sea lions you find on the beach.)
  • Cape Arago State Park - One mile to the south of Shore Acres, Cape Arago State Park has picnic tables and hiking trails that take you to a flat beach area. On a clear day, you can see for miles north and south. There are excellent opportunities to view tidepool life and the offshore colonies of seals and sea lions on Shell Island and Simpson Reef, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. All three parks are connected by a segment of the Oregon Coast Trail.
  • Shell Island- As part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, this area offers breeding and rest areas for sea birds and marine mammals. Gray whales, Northern Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Stellar Sea Lions, Black Oystercatchers, Great Blue Herons and Pelagic Cormorants can all be viewed at the Shell Island Interpretive Stop.There is no public access to the island itself, but viewing points can also be found here and at both Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park.

Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area

Experience the Thrill of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. For a truly unique Oregon coast adventure, go for a ride or hike in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. This national treasure is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America; 40 miles in all. For guides, rentals and more, click here.

  • Bluebill Trail - Located off Horsfall Road in the Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area outside of North Bend, this trail loops around a seasonal lake, which is home to different species of birds and aquatic animals. Sometimes, it looks like a grassy meadow, and sometimes, lake waters lap at the boardwalks. Bring your camera and binoculars to view the sights. Visit the USDA Forest Service website for Bluebill Trail information.
  • John Dellenback Dunes Trail - Part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where motorized vehicles are prohibited. 2.7 Miles of the Dellenback trail leads to the beach, but the hike will appear longer as hikers are treading on soft, open sand. There is also an easier interpretive loop hike.

Other Great Hikes to Check Out!

Empire Lakes Trail

Millicoma Marsh

Mingus Park

North Spit Of Coos Bay Trail System

Simpson Park/ferry Road

GOT A QUESTION? ASK US!

Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to lay your head after a long day of hiking or an excellent spot to unwind with a local brew, we’re here to help! The volunteers in the Coos Bay – North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau are always glad to help you plan and get the most out of your trip! Give us a call at (541) 269-0215 or info@oregonsadventurecoast.com.

Click here for directions and other important travel tips. Learn more about vacation ideas on our site, or contact us for help to plan your next trip or family getaway.

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(541) 269-0215
50 Central Ave, Coos Bay, OR 97420

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