Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

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Ecola State Park

Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 19.8 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seaside, Oregon that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length19.8 kmElevation gain789 mRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashCampingHikingWalkingBird watchingBeachForestViewsWildlifeMuddy
Description
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Facilities
Getting There

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.

$5 day pass or Oregon state park annual pass. Plenty of parking & restrooms. Camping too.

Drive west from Portland on Highway 26 to the Oregon Coast. Turn left on Highway 101 for 3 miles, take the north exit for Cannon Beach and follow Ecola State Park signs, keeping right for 2 miles to the park's entrance booth. Turn right at the booth for 1.5 miles to the Indian Beach picnic area parking lot.

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Reviews (300)
Photos (983)
Recordings (244)
Completed (769)
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Jeff Lacey
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Hiking

Great hike... Muddy like everyone else says!

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Lu Lu
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HikingBlowdownMuddy

Very muddy, lots of down trees, no view of the ocean majority part of the hike

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Chrsitiana Henning
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HikingFeeMuddy

We went in winter and it was SUPER cool but also very cold, windy, and rainy. Definitely need to wear boots you don’t mind getting very muddy and a raincoat. There was hardly anyone at all on the trail and the mist gave it a spooky vibe. It was especially spooky when we got to the abandoned bunkers and those cabins near the lighthouse lookout. So cool though. You can hear the ocean roar almost the whole time you’re in the forest and there’s even a place to go on the beach at the trailhead on the south entrance. We only did half the trail-to the lighthouse and back so we didn’t have to bring two cars!

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Gary Clark
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Hiking

Beautiful of growth forest. Trail(s) in decent shape. Several mud bogs that got deep in areas due to fairly steady rain/mist. Was not able to complete full hike due to weather. Made it 3/4 of the way and was not able to enjoy the views of beach and cliffs. Would suggest to start on south entrance by Cannon Beach route

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Andy Schultz
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Hiking

As anticipated, it was muddy. So no one ought to have any complaints there! It is, after all, winter on the Oregon coast. Great hike with cool sights. Caught a lucky break with the weather and didn’t have to use my rain gear. Good to be back to my truck, it was a long day.

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Zach Lough
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HikingFeeMuddy

seems good for a little longer of a coastal hike. just thought I'd emphasize it's 95% forest and 5% beach views

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Andrea Scott
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HikingBlowdownMuddyOver grown

Great views starting up from Indian beach if you take the outer trail. Trees are enormous. Trail conditions were very muddy when I went on a Monday morning before work, even though there had been no rain the two previous days. Also lots of blowdown, at least 10 trees that you had to climb over. I had had the intention of trail running it which quickly went out the window when I saw what trail conditions were but it still ended up being a beautiful hike.

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Kevin Terlep
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HikingFeeMuddy

AllTrails mileage is way off. According to my track it was 12.3 miles. The sign at Sunset said Indian Beach was 5.5 so it’s at least 11 round trip. Unless you’re doing a shuttle and parking at sunset there’s no reason to do the decent after all of the viewpoints. The end of the trail is a neighborhood, no beach or anything. All that aside, the old growth forest was amazing. HUGE trees for most of the trail and everything is covered in moss. The vistas were also mind blowing but for my money the forest is the real draw for this hike. It’s magical. But very muddy throughout, as long as you have waterproof boots it’s not insurmountable.

Comment from AllTrails

- 2 months ago

Thanks for your feedback. This trail has been reviewed and updated to reflect the comments in this review. For additional questions please email support@alltrails.com

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Jessica McGuire
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Hiking

Gets a little muddy in spots around the 2.5 mile mark - most can kind of be dogged but definitely wear shoes you don’t mind getting a bit dirty! (It helped than it hadn’t rained the few days before we hiked). Beautiful hike all around; we passed less than 20 people. It was great to simply be amongst the trees hearing the waves crashing nearby. Highly recommend!

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Meijing Peng
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Hiking
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Nick Murphy
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Hiking
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Andrea Turner
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HikingMuddy

We had a great time through beautiful old-growth and moody forest....extremely muddy - sort of a swamp the whole way. Don’t wear your nice shoes! Some trees to climb over. Somehow I clocked about 11 miles and 2000 gain, starting from the Seaside trailhead and going to Hiker’s Camp and the lighthouse viewpoint.

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Madison Welsh
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Hiking

Trail was quite muddy but otherwise beautiful.

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Marie Romani
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HikingMuddy

Nice forest hike, shaded and cool (bordering cold at times). Not a lot of views because you are in the trees but some good views of Tillamook Lighthouse and the ocean during some tree breaks and at the viewpoints. REALLY muddy!!

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Kristi Bauer
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Hiking

Beautiful views. A few slick muddy spots. Enchanting lush forest. Would definitely recommend!

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Bryon Allen
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Hiking

Only a few muddy spots, not bad. Only did part of the trail.

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Glen Werner
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Tons of fun! Couple of mud patches to be wary about. The overlook and the old bunker were super cool!

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Jaimie Barchus
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Hiking

Muddy! But worth it. Some parts of the trail are pretty narrow. Lots of switchbacks at the start.

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Zsofia Csikos-Tardy
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Hiking

Super muddy, but great hike! Not many people. Worth the effort!

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Brook Sattler
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HikingMuddy

Very, very muddy. But so worth it. The views are stunning.

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Chris Schaus
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HikingMuddy

One word: Muddy the i

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Megan Cohen
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HikingMuddy

Started in late afternoon, trail very very muddy but still beautiful. Thwarted by the mist at the lighthouse view point. Turned around there. Starting from Seaside is open still.

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Eric Sloan
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HikingMuddy

Beautiful scenery and not too crowded. You have to be ok and prepared for the mud. But def worth it.

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Matt H
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Muddy

Yes it was muddy. A pole helps to get over the mud pits. Views in forest, beach, lighthouse all worth it. No water source other than a light muddy trickle at about 2miles. Make sure you reach the lighthouse viewpoint on the right just past hikers camp. Trail was empty going in, back out we passed 18 or so people in total.

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