View of the Coastline in Ecola State Park

Best Hiking Trails in Ecola State Park: Trail Maps, Directions & More

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Taking part of the day and hiking in Ecola State Park is one of our favorite things to do in Ecola State Park!  The trails are well marked and maintained, and all inevitably offer stunning views of the cliffside landscape and the Pacific Ocean.

There aren’t that many trails that are in the park, but planning ahead will be beneficial to be sure you know what you’re getting into.  In this guide, we’ll cover hike length, difficulty, elevation gain and provide a bit of a description about what to expect on each of these amazing hikes in Ecola State Park!


ecola state park itinerary


Ahead of your trip, download a copy of our Ecola State Park itinerary!  We cover the best hikes, what to do ahead of your visit, include useful maps, 1, 2 and 3 day itineraries and what to see and do in the area.


While the hikes in Ecola State Park aren’t overly challenging and the weather is mild, there are still a few thing that we recommend to be best prepared for your hike:

  • Ahead of your hike, be sure to check on the weather. Since it’s Oregon, you can count on there being a threat of rain, so bringing a light jacket with you is recommended.
  • Of course, be sure you bring plenty of water. It’s likely that you’re going to want to spend a bit of time exploring the beach on several of these hikes, so you may be out longer than you originally planned.
  • Keep an eye on the tides if you plan on exploring any caves close to the beach. The water level does change significantly throughout the day.


Picking out the right hike for you and any travel partners can be a challenge, which is why we put together this graph to help you.  We plotted elevation gain vs. distance to give you an idea of hike difficulty.

ecola state park hiking distances and elevation



  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance (round-trip): 2.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 790 feet
  • Hiking time (approximate): 1.5 hours
  • Trail type: Out-and-back (yes, even though its name has “loop” in it!)
  • Potential hazards: Cliffside falls, sun exposure
  • Restrooms: Pit toilets are located at the trailhead.
  • Recommended footwear: Closed-toed hiking shoes are ideal.
  • Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed at all times.
clatsop loop trail map in ecola state park


Clatsop Loop Trail map, courtesy of Oregon State Parks

Trail Description

This interpretive trail runs from the Indian Beach parking area and climbs through a lush old-growth Sitka spruce forest to the Hikers’ Camp. Beyond the camp, take the short spur trail to the viewpoint which looks at the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Although decommissioned long ago, a basalt sea stack still supports what remains of “Terrible Tilly”.  Loop back to the parking lot via the Oregon Coast Trail, which winds along the coastline. 

Clatsop Loop Trail Highlights
  • Scenic and Diverse Landscape: The coastal views here are something to behold, and it is combined with forests and incredible cliffside views.
  • Historical Significance: Along the trail you’ll see interpretive signs that explain a bit about the history of the area, which is neat to learn about (plus you get a break while you are reading!).
Clatsop Loop Trail Challenges
  • Crowds: Be prepared that this trail is quite busy during the peak season. You can avoid that crowds by getting here early in the morning.
  • Weather Dependent: If the fog or rain is present, it can mute the views significantly.
Trailhead Directions

The trailhead starts at the Indian Beach parking area.

view from the clatsop loop trail


  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance (round-trip): 3.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 840 feet
  • Hiking time (approximate): 2 hours
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Potential hazards: Cliffside falls, sun exposure
  • Restrooms: Flush toilets are located at the trailhead. There is a pit toilet at the turnaround point.
  • Recommended footwear: Closed-toed shoes.
  • Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed at all times.


indian beach trail map in ecola state park

Indian Beach Trail map, courtesy of Oregon State Parks

Trail Description

You can start the hike from either location, and hike out-and-back.  This trail provides incredible views looking back at Ecola Point.  You can also see Sea Lion Arch just before Bald Point. Unfortunately, part of the trail washed out in the spring of 2017 and hasn’t been rebuilt, so you can’t hike all the way.  You can still see incredible views looking back to Ecola Point.

Indian Beach Trail Highlights
  • Amazing Scenery: The views of the rocky cliffside combined with the beaches and Pacific Ocean are incredible!
  • Accessible for Families: The trail is very well marked and not overly challenging, making it a favorite for families.
Indian Beach Trail Challenges
  • Crowds: Again, since this is a super popular area when the weather is good, the crowds can be a bit overwhelming.
  • Limited Parking: Parking at the trailhead fills up really fast. The wait may be a bit too, since the trail takes a bit of time to hike (about 2 hours).  Avoid the parking crunch by getting here early in the morning.
Trailhead Directions

The trailhead starts either at the Indian Beach parking lot or the Tillamook Rock parking lot.



  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance (round-trip): 12.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3000 feet
  • Hiking time (approximate): 6 to 8 hours
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Potential hazards: Cliffside falls, sun exposure
  • Restrooms: Toilets are located at the trailhead and there are also restrooms along the way (mixture of pit toilets and flushing)
  • Recommended footwear: Hiking boots for ankle support and good traction when climbing.
  • Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed at all times. 
Trail Description

This trail traverses the length of Ecola State Park.  Be prepared for plenty of uphill hiking, great views and mud.  It’s a long hike, but super beautiful if you are up for the challenge.

The elevation gain happens though a variety of long ups and downs.  Traveling from the north, the first 1.3 miles is all uphill, climbing around 1000 feet on the way up to Tillamook Head Peak.  From here you will have great views of the Pacific Ocean along a ridge before descending for the next 2.8 miles.

The “end point” of the trail is at the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.

Many hikers complete this trail in two days and camp along the way at the Ecola Point Day-Use Area.

Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail Highlights
  • History Combined with Scenery: The scenery is incredible on this trail, and it also combines the same route taken by early discovers Lewis and Clark.
  • Wildlife: You’ll be on this trail for quite sometime, and it’s not rare to come across deer and elk.
Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail Challenges
  • Challenging Terrain: You’ll be going up and down quite a bit as you travel along the coast, so just be prepared for it to be a bit grueling, especially if you are carrying a pack.
  • Whether Dependent Experience: Okay, if it’s rainy here and you are out for two days, this is going to be a long couple of days.
Trailhead Directions

The trailhead starts at the most northern point of the park (at the end of Sunset Blvd.) at the start of the Tillamook Head Trail. 

Hikers walking along the coast in Ecola State Park



  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance (round-trip): 0.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 190 feet
  • Hiking time (approximate): 1 hour
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Potential hazards: Wet rock and tides
  • Restrooms: No restrooms at the trailhead nor on the trail.
  • Recommended footwear: Sandals or closed-toed shoes.
  • Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed at all times.
crescent beach trail map in ecola state park

Crescent Beach Trail map, courtesy of Oregon State Parks

Trail Description

The trail heads down to Crescent Beach, where you can explore this peaceful and secluded beach.  You can see caves and a waterfall.  Be prepared for the hike back up!  

Crescent Beach Trail Highlights
  • Great Payoff with Little Work: This trail has a caves and a waterfall in only 0.7 miles! Umm, sign me up!
  • Family-Friendly: This is great for young families in particular.
Crescent Beach Trail Challenges
  • Slippery Conditions: The hike down to the beach can be a bit treacherous if it’s wet, so take care!
  • Limited Parking: Though this hike is short, the parking lot can be packed and it can take some time to get a spot.
Trailhead Directions

The trailhead starts from Ecola Park Road just about a mile before the southern end of the park. 


We loved hiking on the Oregon Coast with our young children.  Not every hike was for them, though.  We tend to pick shorter hikes that have interesting features to keep them occupied and intrigued without getting too tired.  If you are hiking with kids, these are the trails we recommend:

  • Crescent Beach Trail (short, easy and interesting caves to explore)
  • Clastsop Loop Trail (a bit more challenging, but this includes a forest, a camp as well as a view of the lighthouse)

The other trails in the park are also worth doing with kids, if they are adventurous and up for the challenge!


Pets are allowed on all trails in Ecola State Park.  They must be kept on a leash no more than six-feet long, and you are required to clean up after your pet.


We love hiking in Ecola State Park anytime of year.  If we had to pick, though, we’d recommend hiking in the summertime.  The weather is warmer (though it can still be cold) and the fog tends to burn off more frequently and open up to more amazing views.


Hiking in Ecola State Park in the winter can be wonderful.  The trails are quiet and the beach will be nearly empty (except for a few others like you!).  But temperatures are cold-the lows average in the 30s and it only warms up to the lower 50s.  Along with the high humidity, you are going to get cold if you don’t have the right gear with you.

We can’t stress enough that you need to be sure you are prepared if you plan to hike in the winter!  Be sure to bring hand warmers and rain gear.


While the hiking in Ecola State Park is wonderful and can keep you busy for a few days, you may also want to venture outside of the park and experience a few other trails nearby that are also amazing.  Here is an idea for a hike close by:


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance (round-trip): 0.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 50 feet
  • Hiking time (approximate): 30 minutes
  • Trail type: Out-and-back
  • Potential hazards: Waves, high tide
  • Restrooms: Toilets located at the trailhead.
  • Recommended footwear: Sandals or hiking shoes
  • Pets: Allowed, but must be leashed at all times.
Trail Description

The trail begins by descending quickly from the parking area to the Hug Point beach.  After about 0.1-mile, the trail then turns north on the beach along the cliffside.  At the 0.2-mile point is the short but pretty Hug Point Falls.  You can then continue to Hug Point, provided you come here when it is not at high tide.

Along the cliffs you’ll be able to see ferns and sitka spruce.  There are also caves to explore!

This trail can be pretty busy, but the beach walk is quite pretty and worth it, especially if you have children who love to play on the beach.

Hug Point Trail Highlights
  • Short Trail with Great Scenery: This hike is very short, and some may consider it just a walk down to the beach. Whatever you call it, you don’t have to go far to see a waterfall, a beach and caves!
  • Family-Friendly: It’s hard to find a hike that has this much to offer to explore for kids. They are sure to love it!
Hug Point Trail Challenges
  • Crowds: Oh boy, this spot is popular. Unless you come here during the off season, you will not be alone.  Just be ready for that, as it is worth it.
  • Tide-Dependent: Check the local tidal charts to be sure that you will be able to access the caves and have plenty of time to explore. The tides move fast here, so be careful!
Trailhead Directions

The Hug Point Trail is located about 8 miles south of Cannon Beach on Highway 101.  It’s on the west side of the highway, so just be on alert for signs to Hug Point Recreation Area.



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About Just Go Travel Studios

We are Amy & Pete Brahan. Very simply, we are passionate about our National Parks and Public Lands and explore them with our three kids whenever we can.

As much as we enjoy traveling, we also love sharing our knowledge and helping others create everlasting memories through our custom-made travel posters, downloadable travel itineraries and detailed blog articles.

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