Hike Distance: 9.3 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1044.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2046 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 110687 feet
We decided on a non beach hike for this trip to the coast. Tillamook Head is a hike I heard about and have wanted to try for a while! We’re still avoiding the heat and smog in the Portland/Vancouver area.
The Tillamook Head TH has plenty of parking and begins with great signage. Today it was quite foggy and we didn’t expect any views from the viewpoint that was our destination. There was so much fog that the water vapor was condensing on the trees and dripping down heavily onto the trail. As such, the trail was very wet and slick. The fog also gave an eerie effect during the entire hike, which just added to the ethereal atmosphere!
The trail basically ascends for the first several miles. There is mud on the trail but it doesn’t really get bad until the trail levels out at about three miles out. There are also plenty of boardwalks along the way to help keep off the soft and saturated soils, but many of the boards are rotted or missing completely.
At about 1.5 miles out there is a slide that can be circumvented, but it’s quite muddy and steep in this area. I had expected there to be dropoff’s, per some trail literature, but there was only one of real concern, and there was a loose steel cable in this area. That said, this trail would be a concern for children as there are plenty of opportunities to tumble down steep slopes, but the trail is primarily wide in these areas.
At about 4.5 miles out we reached a trail intersection. Continuing across the narrow road will continue to take you on the trail to Indian Beach. Turning right on the trail you’ll find a restroom and camp area for backpackers. Continuing past the camp you’ll find a viewpoint with steel safety cable restricting you from the cliff area. We briefly saw the waves crashing onto the beach, very far below us. We then turned around and investigated the several small trails that will bring you to concrete structures, possibly from WWII?
There are plenty of old growth trees on this trail, and it was a humbling sight to see them. We took our time getting back down so we didn’t slip and cause injuries. Carol hurt her knee when coming down the steep trail near the slide, but is okay now! A fantastic day in the cool, but wet, Ecola State Park!