DISTANCE
4.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
242 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

off road driving

walking

beach

views

wildlife

hiking
5 months ago

I hiked this part of the Oregon Dunes NRA on New Year's Day under clear skies and calm winds.

After finding my way around the park itself (talked to a ranger), and paying the $5 fee, I settled on parking at the Day Use area at the southern tip of Cleawox lake.
I immediately climbed the tall-ish dunes right off the left of the trailhead, providing me with good indications of where my path should lead me. A short up-hill of the sandy trail leads to the first expansive view of the main dunes area to the south and the forested strip separating the dunes from the beach. This is a good vantage point to map a route to the trees and access to the beach.
As I was the first one on the trail (30mn after sunrise) I could meander my way leisurely across the dunes, enjoying the morning light, looking for photo opportunities and plotting a course that follows the crest of the dune and the part with harder sand.

Only when I reached the tree-band did the first ATVs start buzzing in the distance. A strip of water separates the dunes from the trees and a main thoroughfare for ATV follows this trip. At 'rush hour' it may not be a very friendly place for hikers :-)
I headed further south along the edge of the water until I came upon the main crossing to the beach (Chapman's OHV trail). There also, it is probably better to avoid this section at periods of high ATVs activity. About half way to the beach is a north-south "trail" (Hunters) but, on this January day, it was flooded in both directions.
Once out of the trees, it is a very short distance to the grassy bluff that overlooks the beach.
Exercise more caution at the "pass" across the bluff as vehicles coming from the beach come at high speed to negotiate the sandy slope.

Once on a beach, I took a short rest sitting on a tangle of large logs where I would could look at the vehicular action while staying out of the way.

I then header north with the intention to make a loop by cutting back inland around the South Jetty Road. The walk on the beach was very pleasant and the washed up logs make for more excuses to take pictures. The portion of the beach I walked (for Chapman's to Heidi's beach is also shared with OHVs but traffic was relatively light and drivers mindful of the slow on the wet sand.

A few "pedestrians" enjoyed the undisturbed sand at Heidi's beach. I did the same before crossing over the bluff to the South Jetty Parking #1. From there, I could not find a safe/enjoyable return route directly to the John Honeyman parking lot and decided to just walk the South Jetty Rd to 101 and then another 1.75 miles to the park entrance. There is sufficient shoulder width pretty much all the way to not have to worry too much about road traffic.

All told this is just about 10 miles (around 3.5 on blacktop)