Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

MODERATE 57 reviews
#2 of 5 trails in

Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cannon Beach, Oregon 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.

DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3293 feet
ROUTE TYPE
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.

hiking
1 day ago

Good exercise, but not much to look at.

hiking
2 days ago

8 days ago

Bucklin' Down 2017 completed this loop. We spent the night at the primitive backpackers camp in the Puddle Cabin, aka the yurt. The views along the trail were magnificent, featuring deep woods, huge old trees and the one and only Oregon coastline. I personally found it to be an almost...out of body experience. Loved it all.

hiking
8 days ago

8 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

backpacking
23 days ago

My wife and I just tackled this trail for one night (end of August). It was hands down one of the most tiring trails I have ever done. We bit off a little more than we could chew because we did not expect it to be so hilly.

To hike this trail you have to park on the street in either Seaside or in the town next to Cannon Beach. There is no overnight parking for backpackers.

Between Ecola Point and Indian Beach the trail signs read closed. There has been a wash out near Indian Beach. The trail is completely destroyed. We hiked it anyways. People have walked through it all enough that you can methodically wind your way down to Indian Beach.

The climb North from Indian Beach to the Hikers camp is daunting. You climb 800 feet in elevation in just a little over a mile. The hikers campsite has $5 wood bundles for purchase and a little outhouse to take a poo in. It smells awful. If your looking to getaway from people and enjoy primitive camping this is NOT the trail for you. Up until sunset people we let walking through to see the lighthouse overlook. There are lots of people on the trail, even in the middle of the week.

The views are spectacular. Absolutely breathtaking.

We heard seals but could not see them.

It's fun to go from woods to beach.

Indian Beach is filled with surfers who are catching waves just off the Northern Bay rocks.

Hope this was helpful.

24 days ago

Great even in the fog :) part of the trail is closed due to slides, but you can get around it using the Ecola park road.

hiking
27 days ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was significantly harder than we were anticipating. It is very steep in places with loose rocks and muddy patches. I fell multiple times and I'm not usually that clumsy (although I am very out of shape). Because the trail was so difficult for me, I had a very hard time enjoying the beauty around me. There were some breaks in the trees that gave a splendid view of the ocean. Ended up just stopping at Indian Beach and not continuing on to Canon Beach. Only one person in our large party of hikers completed the trail. Apparently, the last leg of the trail wasn't well-maintained. I'd love to try it again when I'm in better shape, but I just wasn't physically up to the task.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this last year in July, but was slacking on the review. A very very gorgeous trail! Great ocean views, lighthouse and beaches. We extended the hike by going from Seaside all the way to Cannon Beach on various trails because could not get enough of the views. Many great beaches along the way... and actually... with enough time and food you could keep heading south down the coastline! Why not?!? There's a landslide area and some tree fall but nothing that can't be passed easily with the seasoned hiker. Adds to the adventure. Mossy, green and gorgeous.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago