Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

MODERATE 155 reviews
#3 of 5 trails in

Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 9.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cannon Beach, Oregon that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,454 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

walking

beach

forest

views

wildlife

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.

Solid advanced beginner hike. Take the left over the bridge to run the loop clockwise - the periodic vista points are well worth it. Try to find the abandoned WWII radar base along the trail to the Terrible Tillie overlook. Descent via the fire road is fast cool and straightforward. Beach is worth lingering...

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
16 days ago

hiking
muddy
16 days ago

hiking
muddy
23 days ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
24 days ago

This was a good but challenging hike since a fair portion of the trail wasthe slippery from the wet and mud

hiking
muddy
28 days ago

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

FYI - at the hikers camp there is a guy living in one of the cabins. Creepy.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was epic. The views of the coast are awesome and the hike itself in the forest is just about as good. There is a good amount of elevation gain but it’s pretty gradual. We went early and barley saw a soul. The fog made the forest almost seem enchanted. Would highly recommend this hike.

1 month ago

Everything about this Hike was awesome! Took the lighthouse trail, no mud and spectacular views ! :)

hiking
1 month ago

Most of the great views could be seen from the Clatsop loop trial but I still really enjoyed this hike.beautiful wooded areas and it was really peaceful to hear the waves crashing throughout the hike!

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

This was a great hike. Lots of things to climb over and under, with lots of side trails to explore. We saw lots of humming birds, bees and woodpeckers. Added bonus was views of the beach...although this isn’t a trail to hike if you want to go onto the beach.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
blowdown
muddy
4 months ago

The trail overall was great! We started at Indian Beach and the gate was open. We hiked all the way up to seaside trailhead. We encountered 2 trees down over the trail but were manageable. We encountered a bunch of mud near seaside but nothing horrible. The views through the forest were awesome and many vista view along the way of the ocean. Stopped at Hikers Camp and ate some snacks and to also detour to views of terrible tilly. 5.5 miles one way so not to bad of a hike. Good elevation gain right away from either side.

hiking
5 months ago

We set off from the Seaside trailhead on a crisp, clear New Year’s Eve morning, around 8:30 am, and made it to Cannon Beach city center in about 6 hours, covering about 10 miles in total (26,000 steps). There were many points along the trail with spectacular vistas. Some of this may be obscured by foliage during spring and summer months because we noticed a lot of bare deciduous trees along the way. We loved the variety of forestation we encountered. There were some very muddy areas, and several of the boardwalks placed over them were weakened or broken. Largely a well kept trail, however. Hiker’s camp, the WW2 bunker, and Indian Beach were highlights of the day. We hardly encountered a soul until we got to that point. The only disappointment was that the trail from Indian Beach to Ecola Point is closed, so we chose to hike the road back. Other reviews suggest that it’s passable, but we didn’t want to risk it. Hopefully this portion opens back up; we’d definitely do this one again!

5 months ago

Beautiful views in the beginning. Pretty trafficked throughout

6 months ago

If you start at Indian Beach- all the best views are basically at the beginning.

I really love this Trail. Great canopy, beautiful Lush Greenery, elevation, beautiful sights and sounds. Enjoy.

hiking
10 months ago

Absolutely beautiful; a majestic, fairy-filled wonderland! We parked a car at each end of the trail (highly recommend), and went from Indian Beach all the way to Seaside. Including our many stops for photo ops, and lunch break, it took 3.5 hours. There’s AT&T cell service the whole time, but definitely a good amount of mud. 81 flights of stairs, and about 14,000 steps according to the iPhone.

hiking
10 months ago

Fun hike. Started at Indian Beach parking lot and did the Tillamook Head out & back. The trail is a little muddy in places but it’s a rain forest so no big surprise. I’d wear some sort of hiking or trail shoe/boot just for the added traction.

hiking
10 months ago

I want to emphasize that you should start from the Indian Beach parking lot and picnic area, not the lot the navigation leads to. The Ecola Point Trail is closed, and I wouldn’t recommend pushing through passed the “trail closed” sign like I did. Hiked this in early August and the trail was still very muddy. The trail itself was not that hard (would rate moderate only due to length) but the mud and fallen trees on the trail force you to parkour around a bit, making it mildly more strenuous. The trail itself showcased some beautiful rainforest areas and views of the ocean. Very peaceful. I would not recommend doing the 12mi there-and-back. The walk back was pretty soul-sucking and exhausting. Leave a car in Seaside if you can.

hiking
10 months ago

Very muddy! Would consider this a more than moderate hike and very slick. Need proper hiking gear as well

10 months ago

This is a wonderful hike... make sure you have a car on the other side.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a fabulous Trail. In fact, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery actually took this trail from their winter quarters to Ecola to trade with the Native Americans. I have noticed that many people have said the Tillamook Head Trail is closed. That is not correct. The trail is open. I think people are confusing the Tillamook Head Trail with the Ecola to Indian Beach Trail. The Ecola to Indian Beach Trail is still closed about half way in, but to be crystal clear, the entire Tillamook Head Trail is open from Indian Beach to Seaside -- and there is a parking lot at Indian Beach (in addition to the Ecola parking lot). One-way, this is about a 5.5 mile hike with about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. If you do not want to do the 11 Mile in-and-out hike, you can leave a car in Seaside and park one at the Indian Beach parking lot (which is in Ecola State Park). I have seen people do this hike in everything from flip-flops to serious hiking boots. I would definitely recommend hiking boots, especially if it has rained recently. But many people choose to do this hike in tennis shoes and do fine. We hiked it again last week and it was mostly dry. I would also suggest bringing some insect repellent. This is a wonderful hike with some great ocean views and lots of old growth trees. I am in decent hiking shape and would classify this trail as moderate.

Load More

Featured Trails