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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

OCT: Segment 8 — Netarts to Sand Beach

A north segment along the Oregon Coast Trail from Schooner's Restaurant to Sand Lake Fisherman's Day Use Area.


Sand Beach

Segment 8 of the Oregon Coast Trail spans the north coastal area from Netarts to Sand Beach. It passes through Netarts. This section encompasses Netarts Bay, Cape Lookout State Park, Sand Beach, and Sand Lake Recreation Area OHV. I did this segment in three parts: two driven sections and one as a section hike.


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


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 Highway 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”


 

Netarts (Schooner's) to Cape Lookout State Park Day Use Area



Mode of access: Vehicle

Access: Road

Direction: South

Distance: 5.9 miles

Points of Interest: Netarts Bay, harbor seals on sand bar

Date driven: March 18, 2024


The section of road between Schooner's in Netarts and Cape Lookout State Park really is beautiful. It follows along Netarts Bay which is beautiful. There have been multiple times over the years that I've been able to see the seals basking on the sandbars in the bay. So binoculars are a great thing to have for this section of road.



 

Cape Lookout North Trail (Cape Lookout State Park Day Use Area to top of Cape Lookout)

TRAIL CLOSED - due to storm damage

Drove Cape Lookout Rd as alternate route until trail reopens.


Anderson Overlook

Alternate mode of access: Vehicle

Alternate access: Road

Direction: South

Distance: 3.4 miles

Date Driven: March 18, 2024


Since the north trail is closed due to storm damage and it's unknown when it will reopen I drove Cape Lookout Road as an alternate route. Once this trail reopens I plan to come back and hike it. Cape Lookout Road is one of my favorite stretches of road. It's curvy, climbs up the cape and I frequently run into fog when I drive it especially during the winter months. Anderson Viewpoint has one of the best views along this stretch of road. I was able to see all down Netarts Spit and clear to Oceanside.



 

Cape Lookout to Sand Lake Fisherman's Day Use Area



Mode of access: Hike

Access: Trail, Beach

Direction: South

Distance: 6.96 miles

Note: Passes through OHV area.

Date hiked: May 20, 2024


I was a bit nervous about doing this hike because I had gotten sensory overloaded the night before. I decided to at least try going to the trailhead and then I could decide if I was going to do it or not. Once I got to the Cape Lookout Trailhead I decided to do it.


The first two miles of the hike were switchbacks through a forested hillside. It was really beautiful, tall trees with open underbrush. There were tons of ferns. There was one section toward the middle that was a little bit overgrown with salmonberries, but the trail was still easy to follow.


I wasn't feeling too great due to a medicine I've been having issues adjusting to. So I was trying not to puke the first 3 miles of this hike. As well as dealing with some other issues that I won't go into detail about. There were some really beautiful views of the ocean as the trail neared the beach.



Once I reached the beach I looked in my little first aid kit and I didn't have any nausea meds with me (I immediately added some after this hike). I focused on breathing and hiking slower. Thankfully it eventually passed, and I was able to finish my hike without feeling miserable.


This section of trail is interesting because it starts in Cape Lookout State Park, then passes by Camp Clark, a Boy Scout camp, then passes through Sand Lake OHV area and then continues on to the Sand Lake estuary inlet.


View of ocean from part way up trail

Once I reached the beach I was surprised by the lack of wind. It was occasional and when there was some wind it was more of a breeze. When I've been on this section of beach during the winter it can get super windy. There were a few small streams I was easily able to cross.


The tide was coming in while I was hiking and ranged from 2.2 ft to 4.7 ft. I didn't actually see any OHV's when I was hiking through the OHV area section of beach. I only saw some before I reached that section and after I'd crossed it. I had been a bit nervous about walking through the OHV section, but it turned out just fine.


I found A LOT of whole sand dollars along this whole stretch of beach... 16 to be exact. I filled up the side pockets of my backpack with them. I saw a huge barge way out in the ocean and a helicopter fly by. Along the beach I came across some western gulls, two whimbrels, and some red-necked phalarope.


I hiked clear to the end of the inlet and then went inland to the Sand Lake Fisherman's parking are where my mom was waiting to pick me up. All in all it was almost a 7 mile hike. My feet were hurting by the time I was done and I was ready to eat a big lunch.


Beach in OHV area

I didn't see anyone when hiking the forested trail section. On the beach near Cape Lookout I saw one person with their dog, in the OHV area I passed one person, and near the inlet I saw three people. Overall, not a whole lot of people, and if I did this just a few weeks earlier it would be quite likely I wouldn't have seen anyone.



 


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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