A string of 1,854 wave-washed rocks and islands mirror almost the entire length of the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head to the California border. These precious chunks of land, protected as the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, total only 372 acres, but those relatively few acres provide a nesting habitat for an estimated 1.2 million seabirds, more than nest along the coastlines of California and Washington combined. Beginning in April, black-and-white common murres throng the islands. Summer also brings tufted puffins, rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets, pigeon guillemots, Leach's storm-petrels, black oystercatchers, western gulls, and other species, which nest on the islands and feed in the Pacific Ocean. These rocky islands and reefs also serve as haul-outs for seals and sea lions including harbor seals, northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and the Steller sea lion, which haul themselves up on to rocks to give birth, to rest, and to molt. The Rogue and Orford Reef units of this refuge and wilderness constitute the largest breeding and pupping sites for Steller sea lions in U.S. waters south of Alaska.
The payoff on this hike is pretty fantastic. We had a beautiful day today and made it down quickly to the beach. We did plenty of walking and running along the beach and had racked up 6 miles by the time we marched back up to the trailhead. Trail is in good condition, but I doubt it ever completely dries out, so be ready for some mud and wet roots/rocks. Footwear with good traction is a real plus on this one.
Getting around the downed tree at the start of the trail was not too tough. I love the part of the trail that crosses the lake. Watch out for snakes in the tall grass (non venomous). It can be tricky to know which way to go and I ended up walking 6.88 miles instead of 6.2. The abandoned, half buried car is a little creepy, but the overall ambiance is peaceful. I did this hike in April and didn't see a soul. If you don't like walking uphill, this hike is not for you. The 6.88 (a wrong turn here or there) took me 3 hours. Have fun!
It looked like a less popular beach with some rock climbing opportunities if you're into that, although it's probably frowned upon. It's not a very big area and I didn't find myself spending a whole lot of time there before I was done with it.