Step out of your vehicle and into a place with natural beauty that truly inspires. Just a quarter mile from any of the parking areas to the beach, yet the rigors of everyday life are stripped away by the time your feet hit the sand. Although the walk is short, there are several different trails to the beach and lead you to the Cape Falcon overlook or to the Oregon Coast Trail. Be sure to pick up a map on the way into the park. All of the trails to the beach are through a mature forest; one trail follows the winding path of the Short Sands creek. This trail gives way to the spectacular view of the ocean and the creek meeting. This is your first glimpse of the ocean and Short Sands beach. The beach is nestled in a cove that provides you with a feeling of total privacy. Popular with surfboarders and boogie boarders, the beach is always alive with activity. Surrounded by the mountains, the beach at Oswald West gives you a sense of being transported away from the trials of everyday life. Lose yourself; find Oswald West State Park.
Parking was easily accessible. Trailhead easy to find.
The hike itself was moderate. The conditions of the trail was a different story. Storms seem to have snapped several trees, leaving the trail confusing. We got lost 2 times, attempting to pass large fallen trees in the path. Note: if there is a fallen tree in the path, don't walk around it. Check to see if the tree was intentionally left there to guide you away. Both times we discovered that the trail actually continued in a switchback form above, but the path was washed out. You'll need to get a little clever in your methods for getting up to the trail, but if you don't mind fern whacking, it's doable. Being winter time, it's also pretty muddy so be prepared.
I would recommend the north trail, starting at short sands. You get both close up views of the beach and a mountain view. While both south and north trails appear to spend almost the entire hike in a wooded area with no views, the south trail is much longer.
Good workout, good view. Cape Falcon hike is a better option if you want more ocean scenery.
Mark T. on Cape Falcon Trail
Nice hike thru old growth forest. Easy trail to follow with not much up & down. The only downside was the trail got muddier as we got closer to the Cape. Wonderful view from the cape of the coast. Saw a Bald Eagle in the trees. Not a lot of people on the trail. Weather was sunshine with high clouds and upper 40's in temp. Great hiking weather.