The Oregon Coast Trail may be the best hidden gem of long-distance hiking: the 425-mile pathway spans the entire coastline of the state, which is open to the public in its entirety, and is is well-marked. The route alternates beach hiking with moving through coastal woods, with views of the ocean, lagoons, and other garden-variety maritime mishmash.
It is surprisingly under traveled: when Barb and I decided to scope out the trail over a two-day, in-and-out trek, we encountered only one (!) other backpacker. In addition to being well-marked, the terrain and conditions were favorable enough to bring a tiny dog with us: it was easy miles. Of course, once we attempt to thru-hike the entire trail, I am certain the miles and difficulty would increase.
This time, we only went seven miles in, pretty much searching for a good campsite to set up for the night. As it turned out, we were lucky to score an ocean view spot: a conversation with the one hiker we encountered revealed that those are few and far between throughout the entire trail. The man did happen to be doing it all, having started in Astoria, Oregon on his way south to the border with California in the town of Brookings.
In the morning we booked it back the same way we came, enjoying the relatively effortless hiking with our usual light gear. If a thru-hike were to be attempted, we would use the same ultralight tent, backpacks, trail running shoes, leaving the stove, heavy items and perhaps the tiny dog back home.
I am certain that such an opportunity will come about in the future, as this trail’s accessibility and ease of travel makes it practically beg to be traveled!
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Barb is @wildlifesangria