Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

MODERATE 19 reviews
#2 of 5 trails in

Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cannon Beach, OR that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

12.5 miles 3195 feet Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

beach

forest

views

muddy

Hike with the Lewis and Clark Expedition to Tillamook Head via Ecola State Park and discover the explorers' farthest western point of discovery. The wide, graveled trail starts on the right-hand side of the Indian Beach parking turnaround. After 100 yards keep left at a fork and climb, steeply at times, through old-growth spruce and alder woods. After 1.6 miles you'll reach an X-shaped trail crossing beside three open-sided shelters and a primitive camping area for backpackers. The shelters and tent sites are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis, but there is no drinking water nearby. Turn left at the trail junction for 0.2 mile to find a 6-room concrete bunker that housed a radar installation in World War II. Just beyond is a cliff-edge viewpoint at the tip of Tillamook Head, breathtakingly high above a rugged rock beach. A mile to sea is Tillamook Rock, a bleak island with a lighthouse that operated from 1881 to 1957. Nicknamed "Terrible Tilly," the light was repeatedly overswept by winter storms that dashed water, rocks and fish into the lantern room 150 feet above normal sea level. The island was finally bought by funeral entrepreneurs who bring in urns of cremated remains by helicopter.

2 months ago

3 months ago

Went on a rainy summer day and it was gorgeous! It was foggy so I felt like I was in an enchanted forest. I loved that the trail was not easy, but not too hard. It was also very, very muddy but it definitely made it feel like this trail was an adventure.

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

Utterly amazing, what a great way to spend the day! :)

3 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is quite a walk (from Seaside Oregon all the way across the mountain side to Canon Beach) but well worth it! I've walked this trail twice and love it. The first quarter of the hike is pretty steep and difficult but once you get to the top and down the other side it gets easier. I would recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots though, it gets very muddy in some spots. And wear layers!

Great trail!

hiking
1 year ago

Walked in Bigfoot's steps

1 year ago

Loved this trail. Started from Seaside and hiked up to the hiker/biker campsite, then through Ecola state park to Indian beach. About 5.5 miles to Indian Beach. There were great look outs of the ocean, slight variety in vegetation throughout the hike. There were some muddy spots, but not as bad after a dry spell. I imagine the mud being much more difficult in the Spring. Beautiful hike, lovely beach to end it with.

1 year ago

I had a great time dodging rocks and navigating over or under or around downed trees. There were plenty of muddy motes that were nearly impossible to jump over as well, but that added to the adventurous feel. The views and scenery were spectacular!

1 year ago

hiking
2 years ago

We engaged this trail from Seaside and it was a great hike. Glad I did it but don't think I will do it again unless I start from the Canon Beach side. The forest is beautiful and through in the light house to make a great hike. Muddy is the theme and should be expected. Enjoy!

hiking
2 years ago

muddy

hiking
2 years ago

Beautiful trail. A little muddy but all in all in pretty good shape. A joy to hike

hiking
2 years ago

awesome hike!!! great views through a lot of the trail. When you go to the lookout that looks at that light house you pass a world war 2 radar station bunker. very cool!!

hiking
2 years ago

fairly easy hike with kids. great payoff at the end with views of Terrible Tilly. go out on the trail and come back on the service road if descents hurt your knees.

hiking
4 years ago

If you do the roundtrip from Indian Beach to the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint, it's actually only 3.5 miles but there is a 900' foot elevation increase. The views of the lighthouse and beach are amazing. This is a muddy trail. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes. The campsite near the viewpoint is very nice with a bathroom, shelters and firepit and the park provides wood & water. The bunkers were intriguing. Would have been nice to see some placards of information on those in addition to the placards regarding Lewis and Clark. Didn't take our dog because the parking lot looked crowded but we only ended up seeing 2 other people on the trail. I think most of the people end up going to the beach.

hiking
4 years ago

This hike is well worth the 6 mile trip each way. After passing breathtaking views, you will traverse a swampy area full of wildlife. There are muddy pools covering a large portion of the trail, so bring your hiking boots! You may also want to bring binoculars and a camera if you have them, as the picturesque coastline offers beautiful scenery and even possible whale watching. The uphill climb on each end will test your endurance but the middle portion is a nice cardiovascular break.

hiking
4 years ago

Great trail, only bad part was we did it after a couple weeks of heavy rain, some places had like 5 inches of mud, like really really bad mud. Nice forest though, not as much view of the ocean as we had expected but we still liked it. Go during nicer weather unless you love the mud, it will be super messy if it's been raining lots. We will for sure do it again!

hiking
5 years ago