Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail

MODERATE 212 reviews
#3 of 5 trails in

Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail is a 15.9 kilometer 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: 15.9 km Elevation Gain: 748 m 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.

hiking
muddy
rocky
17 days ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
washed out
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Decent trail for having rained hard yesterday. Not much to see at the Seaside trailhead. Make sure you go out to observation point from hikers camp for best view of lighthouse.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great hike for a sunny day. I’m glad we parked on the Seaside end (in a residential area) so that we had the payoff of Indian Beach views for lunch before heading back. All signs and our devices said it was 5.5 out, so is actually at least an 11 mile hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike through a peaceful forest. The elevation change definitely added a little difficulty, but not too bad. We will definitely do again.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

I love this trail! It has been a few years since I’ve been on it but the trail remains breathtaking both literally and figuratively! Ran it yesterday for a relay and can’t wait to do it again. It is currently muddy/slick in places and as always- steep up and down. If you want a beautiful and peaceful hike- this is a great option!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Very technical but what a beauty. Hope I get back to the area to do it again some day

Pretty, but i started late so after hiking 2 miles & seeing the sunset way high above the clouds over the ocean i turned around and hiked back down.

hiking
3 months ago

Overnight parking: there is a small lot at the northern trailhead by Seaside. The sign says no overnight parking but if you call the Seaside police non emergency number and let them know it's okay to park there overnight. They were super nice, which was great since we couldn't find anywhere to park by Cannon Beach. Hiked in to the hiker camp and spent the night. There is a fire ring, out houses, and plenty of established sites if you don't want to use the cabins. Trail was a bit damp and slippery at times but nothing terrible and didn't even notice the mosquitoes. Nice short hike but no access to water on that side of the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this hike today as a day trip in about 4.5 hours. It was muddy in areas, but there were easy ways around the mud. Good day hike overall!

hiking
muddy
4 months ago

backpacking
4 months ago

we started from the seaside end. we left our car at the beach, but there was a turn-off a little closer up the road that we wish we had left our car at, since the lot at the trailhead says no overnight parking. the trail is muddy, great hike. there were lots of mosquitoes at the campsite! make sure to bring enough water, we didn't see any streams or water sources along the way. we had to go down to indian beach to get more water. we pitched our tent near the cabins at hikers camp & watched the sunset from the lighthouse overlook. the next day we hiked to indian beach, such a nice beach!

hiking
4 months ago

Great backpacking trail, and they even have a little established hiker camp to stay if you don't have a tent to pitch. There were smaller streams for water sources along the way too. I went on this hike in the winter so at the top I woke up to snow in the morning and the trails were pretty muddy at parts, but other than that it was still a beautiful hike. Overall beautiful and fairly easy going trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Very muddy and overgrown in many parts. a nice hike but not a favorite.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
5 months ago

Worst version of this hike. The trail up from Seaside is narrow and washed out to exposed root and rock in many places which are slippery. I fell twice with poles. I would recommend coming up from Indian Head beach hiking all the way down the backside of Clark’s Mountain to the last trail intersection. Skip the hike up from Seaside.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

Gorgeous hike worth the step initial climb. Great views of the ocean speaking through large Sitka Spruce. Wild iris were in bloom. Crowd thins out after the Hiker’s Camp where most return on loop trail. Keep going up and around to the last trail intersection on the backside of Clark Mountain. It’s worth the $5 entry fee to hike in this way. Avoid Seaside hike in.

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

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