Adventures on the Oregon Coast Trail

From the PCT to the OCT:

A group of us decided to take time to hike the Oregon Coast Trail to allow time for the Sierras to clear up a bit. We had arrived in Kennedy Meadows too early in the PCT season. The decision to jump over to the Oregon Coast Trail allowed us to continue hiking, see beautiful landscapes, and make the most of the situation. We started the OCT at the begining of May. 

Overall Impressions of the Trail:

I am extremely grateful for the short time we took to hike the OCT. Overall, the trail was beautiful. We spent a ton miles hiking along the beach which was very serene. There were days we would hike 15 miles along the beach and not see another person! It allowed for a lot of quiet reflection.

At times the trail would veer off the beach and into forested areas. This provided a drastic juxtaposition of scenery. The forest was so lush and green.

When we were not on the beach or in the forested areas we were walking through small coastal towns. I enjoyed seeing these unique and at times eclectic towns. We were stopped by many locals who were all kind, welcoming and inquisitive of our journey. Locals were eager to give us insights on the future sections. 

The main downfall to the OCT is the road walk along the Highway 101. We had many long stretches of road walking. We quickly learned that trail runners do not provide proper support for hard concrete. Many of us experienced foot pain, and developed blisters as a result.

We did see a lot of wildlife which was great. On a daily basis we were greeted by seals or sea lions on the beach, starfish, and seagulls of every shape and color. Every morning birds would fill the campground and forest with their chirping and songs.

Oregon State Parks:

The state of Oregon has a fantastic state parks department. All along the coast there were state parks that had “hiker/biker” camping spots. Most nights we paid $7 to camp at these sites. We were spoiled with state campground that had running water and charging stations most nights. No cat holes or filtering water on the OCT.

Below are the camping spots we stayed!

  • Fort Stevens State Park
  • Tillamook Head State Park 
  • Nehalem State Park 
  • Bay City State Park 
  • Cape Lookout  State Park 
  • Devil’s Lake State Park 
  • South Beach State Park 
  • Cape Perpetua State Park
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area 
  • Umpqua Lighthouse State Park 
  • Sunset Bay State Park
  • Bullards Beach State Park
  • Cape Blanco State Park
  • Harris Beach State Park 

Nuggets of Insight:

  • Hike the trail from North to South. That way the wind is always at your back.
  • The last 100-ish miles are the most windy areas in Oregon. 
  • Wear proper road walking footwear
  • Watch the tide tables and use your best judgment when trying to cross. 
  • There are many times that you cross rivers or streams that feed into the ocean. Always find the best place to cross and take your time. Some were deeper in certain areas and had stronger currents. 
  • If road conditions are unsafe on the 101, Oregon has great public transit. Many times locals warned us about potential unsafe roads and advised us to use public transit to bypass those sections. 
  • There is a section heading into North Bend, where hikers cross 3 bridges. It is as windy as FarOut warns but SO fun to cross! 
  • The first 100 and last 100 miles were the most scenic and beautiful! If you can only section hike, I would highly recommend those sections. 
  • Visit the small coffee huts! Great local coffee! 
  • If you follow a vegan or gluten free diet, check out Golden Harvest Herban Farm in Port Orstad. They had so many options and everything was clearly marked based on dietary needs! 

Shout Out:

The two women who worked  at the visitor center at the southern terminus were truly amazing. Their genuine excitement, and enthusiasm was contagious. They went out of their way to congratulate us for completing the trail! We signed a log book, got certificates, they gave us all sorts of small Oregon State Park swag and scrounged up small items for a drawing!

Farewell OCT:

I am leaving the OCT with nice hiker tan lines, probably buns of steal from all the walking on sand, some battle wounds from tide crossings and great hiking friends! 

We are ready to conquer the Sierras and be back on the PCT! I have definitely missed the trail and the sense of adventure and solitude it provides. 

From sea level to 14,000 feet here we come! 

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