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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

OCT: Segment 7 — Bay City to Netarts

A north segment along the Oregon Coast Trail from Tillamook to Schooner's Restaurant in Netarts.



Segment 7 of the Oregon Coast Trail spans the north costal area from Bay City to Netarts. It passes through Tillamook, Cape Meares, Oceanside, and Netarts. This section encompasses the Tillamook Bay, Bayocean Peninsula County Park, Cape Meares beach, Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, the octopus tree, Oceanside recreation site, and Netarts beach. I did this segment in multiple small pieces; 8 hiked sections and 2 driven sections. It could easily be done in 1 or 2 hiking sections along with road sections driven. There are multiple sections I added on including, Bayocean Peninsula (in the future), Cape Meares Lighthouse, and Tunnel & Agate Beaches.


The Oregon Coast Trail spans 362 miles (according to Oregon State Parks) or 425 miles (according to the Oregon Coast Trail Foundation) of the Oregon Coast from the Columbia River in the north to the California border in the south. The trail still has "gaps" in trail that are road walking sections along highways and roads until more trail can be made. The Oregon Coast Trail Foundation works to maintain and expand this interconnected trail system. This long-distance trail can be done as day hikes, section hikes, or a thru-hike. There are many ways to recreate and experience this trail and the beautiful coastline it entails.



Blue - driven section | Pink - hiked section


Explore by section:


My Section Hiking Approach

The Oregon Coast Trail is technically incomplete and the road walking sections are "gaps" in trail where no trail exists. So, I decided to do the road sections by vehicle instead of walking on the side of Hwy 101 or other roads that I feel unsafe doing. As more trail is established, I plan to come back and do those sections that were previously road sections. I also plan to add on sections such as capes, spits, and peninsulas to hike as much beach as possible on the Oregon Coast. Some sections I'll do as out and back, round trips when I head out alone and other sections I'll go north or south in a point-to-point hiking style. My intention with section hiking is to cover the Oregon Coast regardless of direction. I don't feel a need for my section hiking to be in a certain continuous direction. I will be trying to do as much of it as possible in a southward direction to avoid winds hitting my front, but besides that my goal is to cover all of the Oregon Coast trail, regardless of how I do it or in what direction. Obviously do whatever feels right for you on your own section hike. My reason for being out is to enjoy exploring and work toward finishing this long-distance trail in a way that works best for me and my body.

A note on how I classify "segments"


 

ADD ON: Bayocean Peninsula

Currently closed through 2025 for construction on the dike. Will hike as an in and out hike once open again. I won't be doing the boat crossing from Garibaldi.


 

Tillamook to Cape Meares Beach



Mode of access: Vehicle

Access: Road

Direction: North

Distance: 9.3 miles

Points of Interest: Tillamook Bay

Date driven: March 18, 2024


I've driven this section many times over the years. But I recorded it driving from Cape Meares to Tillamook this time around. It's a really pretty drive. It follows along the Tillamook Bay and passes through some farm land before continuing into Tillamook proper.



 

Cape Meares Beach to Cape Meares North Trailhead



Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail, Beach

Direction: North

Distance: 1.73 miles

Ascent/Descent: +0 ft / -510 ft

Points of Interest: Hidden section of Cape Meares beach

Tide Alert: "Rock ledge. At low tide, ledge can be rounded. At high tide, scramble over." -FarOut

Date hiked: May 5, 2024


I decided to hike this shorter section northbound so I would be going downhill instead of uphill. It started raining right before I got of the the car and then stopped so I lucked out and didn't get rained on during my hike.



I started at Cape Meares North Trailhead (45.48872, -123.96536) near the gate to Cape Meares. I hiked down the trail and only came across two people with their two dogs 5 minutes into my hike. The trail followed switchbacks downhill the whole way to the beach. It was muddy most of the way, but the trail was easy to follow. 



It appeared that there had been recent trail maintenance due to some large blowdowns that had been cut/cleared from the trail. The forest was very green and full of underbrush. The trail came out on a bluff above the beach. There was a muddy short trail down the bluff and then the beach was rocky until I rounded the rocky ledge.


Where the trail nears the beach

This "secret" part of Cape Meares beach is really beautiful. There is a light waterfall this time of year coming off the rock cliffs into the ocean. There are a few easy streams to cross and then I was easily able to go around the rocky ledge (45.49481, -123.96507) with the tide being where it was at. The tide was coming in and while I was hiking ranged from 2 ft – 3.4 ft.


Waterfall and arches along the cape

Once I got to the main stretch of Cape Meares beach it was pretty easy hiking on the wet sand. The wind gusts started to get stronger coming from the west. As I neared the beach access where my mom was waiting to pick me up, really strong gusts blew sand in the air. It was really pretty.


Rock ledge that has to be rounded or climbed over depending on tide

I got to the car just as it started to downpour. I was able to avoid being rained on my whole hike which was quite the unexpected surprise. I definitely found this side of Cape Meares to be prettier than the trail on the south side, but both were unique.


Looking down the beach toward Cape Meares


 

ADD ON: Cape Meares Lighthouse


Cape Meares Lighthouse

Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail

Direction: Round Trip

Distance: 0.55 miles (round trip)

Points of Interest: Lighthouse, expansive ocean views

Date hiked: July 17, 2023


I hiked to this lighthouse with my mom and one of her work friends. It had been years since I'd been there. It was really windy, but the views were stunning. The lighthouse is definitely worth it.


View to the north

From the parking area the trail is pretty clear cut. It's a somewhat downhill hike to the lighthouse. This is honestly such a beautiful hike. The views along the trail are just as great as the ones at the end. The lighthouse is neat to see up close.


View to the south


 

Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint Parking Area to Octopus Tree


Octopus Tree

Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail

Direction: Round Trip

Distance: 0.57 miles (round trip)

Points of Interest: Octopus Tree, views of Pacific Ocean

Date hiked: March 18, 2024


My mom and I had originally planned to hike the Cape Lookout trail to whale watch, but the whole coastline was fogged in and we decided to change our plans. We headed out to try finding the elusive (to us) Octopus Tree. We'd tried to figure out where it was the previous summer but had been unsuccessful in finding it. Since we had the time we decided to search it out. It ended up being pretty easy to find. The tree is huge and fenced. There's a great view of the ocean beyond the tree. Made for a fun short hike.


View to the south from 45.48419, -123.97111

Visit the Oregon Coast states that the Octopus Tree is estimated to be around 250 years old. It's a Sitka Spruce and is 105 ft tall.



 

Octopus Tree to Old Cape Meares Loop Road


View from 45.48420, -123.97110

Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail, Road walk

Direction: Round trip

Distance: 1.3 miles (round trip)

Ascent/Descent: +157 ft/ -179 ft

Date hiked: March 20, 2024


I had a few hours before I needed to pick my mom up from work and wanted to do a shorter trail so I decided to go and complete this section as a short, round trip hike. It was rainy and overcast. So I decided it would also be the perfect hike to try out my new rain gear — jacket & pants. There was a pullout on the west side of Old Cape Meares Loop Road where I parked. The trail was just a few hundred feet up the road. It's unmarked but easily visible if you're looking for it.


View from 45.48395, -123.97235

The trail went through forest and descended a bit following the natural contours of the hillside. There was one footbridge across a small stream and then the trail climbed uphill as it got closer to the area where the Octopus Tree is. There are only a few spots along the trail with views of the ocean. I hiked to the cool lookout near the Octopus Tree and then turned around and hiked back out the way I came. It rained almost the whole time. I didn't come across anyone else on the trail while I was out. This section wasn't as memorable as I thought it might be, but my rain gear held up really well.



Pullout parking coordinates: 45.48240, -123.96748

Trailhead coordinates: 45.48323, -123.96708



 

Old Cape Meares Loop Road to Oceanside




Mode of access: Vehicle

Access: Road

Direction: North

Distance: 3.3 miles

Points of Interest: Short Beach

Date driven: March 20, 2024


I drove the section of road between Oceanside and the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and knocked out two road sections in one go. The section between Oceanside and the south side trail, as well as the section between the Cape Meares Beach north trail and the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint parking lot.


The drive is pretty and on a bit of a rougher, older road with potholes and uneven pavement. It passes by Short Beach and the turn-off for the new Cape Meares Loop Road. The Old Cape Meares Loop Road continues to the entrance of the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and continues to a parking area on a narrower paved road (Lighthouse Road). It's wide enough for two cars to pass at the same time but doesn't have center lines.



 

ADD ON: Tunnel & Agate Beaches


Agate Beach

Mode of access: Hike

Access: Beach

Direction: Round trip

Distance:  1.4 miles (round trip)

Date hiked: July 17, 2023


Tunnel and Agate Beaches are accessible through the tunnel on the north end of Oceanside Beach. The tunnel is rocky but fairly easy to navigate. Tunnel Beach is very rocky and then gives way to sandy beach eventually. I've hiked this section numerous times. Agate Beach is popular for finding agates. I really like coming closer to low tide since there's tons of rock outcroppings that become visible. It's really beautiful. The last time I hiked this I found some agates and proceeded to wack my head on an overhang when I stood up. Definitely not my finest moment. I had a nice bump on my head for a few days after.



 

Oceanside to Happy Camp



Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail, Beach, Road walk

Direction: Round trip

Distance:  4.4 miles (round trip)

Points of Interest: Beach, Netarts Bay

Date hiked: May 21, 2021


I've hiked this section of beach numerous times. We had friends of the family who lived between Oceanside and Netarts that we would stay with when my mom came over for work until they recently moved. I'd usually hike down to Happy Camp Beach from their neighborhood and then walk north up to Oceanside before looping back. It's a pretty section of beach. A popular place for locals to walk their dogs. I made the mistake of walking the entire sand section of this barefoot. I was fine in the moment but I dealt with terrible foot cramps after and into the following day.



 

Happy Camp to Schooner's


Looking back at Happy Camp

Mode of access: Hike

Access: Beach, Road walk

Direction: Round trip

Distance:  2.1 miles (round trip)

Points of Interest: Netarts Bay, Schooner's Restaurant

Tide Alert: "If passing at mid- to high tide you may need to leave the beach at Beach Access 32: Happy Camp and take an alternate route through town." - FarOut. Or wait until below mid-tide to be able to hike beach section.

Date hiked: March 20, 2024


I decided to hike this section as a round trip instead of doing a point-to-point since it was so short and I had some time during the afternoon before I needed to pick my mom up from work. It was overcast, a bit windy, and looked like it might rain. I parked at the Happy Camp Beach parking lot when it was close to low tide. The tide was going out during my hike and ranged from +1.5 ft to +0.7 ft. I had my rain gear on from previously hiking in Cape Meares State Park.


I was able to hike in the wet packed sand until the beach ended and it put me out on Netarts Basin Boat Road. I road walked to the bathrooms near the Netarts Bay Boat Ramp. Then I hiked back the way I came to Happy Camp. On the way back I saw a seagull eating a fish and another one eating a crab it just caught. It started to mist the last 10 minutes of the hike.



 

Resources

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Trail Overviews


Information/Maps


Tide

How to get there


My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

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