Rugged coastline, secluded beaches, and uncrowded trails on the southern Oregon Coast
Distance: 7.5 miles as described below (longer and shorter hikes available)
Type: out and back or shuttle
Difficulty: generally easy (beware of poison oak!)
Best season: all year
By day six of our Oregon Coast vacation, the highlight of our trip had been exploring the trails in the northern half of Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Fortunately, we had allotted two days for this area just north of Brookings, Oregon allowing the opportunity to fully explore some of the eighteen miles of Oregon Coast Trail in the corridor (click here for park brochure).
The day began with a hike north out of House Rock Viewpoint toward Whaleshead Viewpoint. We followed the trail down through dense forest for a little over a mile before turning around. This was the only disappointing stretch of trail we found at Boardman. The forest here was not particularly attractive and there was only one good viewpoint.
Returning to House Rock Viewpoint, we drove north to a pullout signed for Whaleshead Trail. Here we found a steep, but relatively short trail down to Whaleshead Beach. Whaleshead stretched for approximately 1.5 miles with some nice seastacks, fine views, and very few people. We explored the entire beach from north to south, enjoying the sun and solitude.
Next we drove south back toward Brookings and took the paved spur road to the Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint. I had been debating whether we should head north to a small unnamed beach that was described in our guidebook or south to Lone Ranch Beach. From the parking lot, we could see the beach to the north and it looked lovely, making our choice an easy one.
We headed north out of the parking lot on the well-marked Oregon Coast Trail. I’d guestimate we dropped about half a mile with clear views down to the beach before we saw an unofficial, but well defined trail to the left. The side trail dropped moderately steeply through thick vegetation where I’m pretty sure I found some poison oak (evidence would appear a little over 24 hours later).
We bottomed out on the beautiful beach and discovered we had it all to ourselves. The tide was coming in, but we had several hours before high tide. I suspect this beach would be very small at high tide. There were many rocks and seastacks to explore on this approximately quarter mile long beach. We spent close to a couple hours here lying in the sand and enjoy the sunny day. Temperatures were in the low to mid-70s, really the perfect conditions for a day on the beach. During our stay, we saw one couple come down and leave after taking a couple photos and one woman drop down from Cape Ferrelo with her dog and walk thru. Other than that, we had the place to ourselves.
Back at Ferrelo Viewpoint, we continued south a short distance to an overlook of Lone Ranch Beach. Our plan was to continue down to the beach, but fog rolled in obscuring the views. This seemed strange since the north side of Ferrelo was still in full sun, but that’s the coast for ya!
We decided to head south to Crescent City where we’d be visiting the redwoods the next day. Brookings was the highlight of our trip. We had a beautiful hotel room with stunning ocean view, two of the best meals of our life at Black Trumpet Bistro, and two enjoyable days of exploring rugged coastline with private beaches at Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Thanks for showing us such a wonderful time Brookings!
Directions to trailhead: Samual H Boardman State Scenic Corridor is just north of Brookings, Oregon. Viewpoints are well-signed from the highway.