Commanding ocean views and long beaches await at Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor
Distance: 3.8 miles from southern parking lot to Hunter’s Cove
Type: out and back
Difficulty: moderate by coastal standards due to 600′ elevation loss/gain (beware of poison oak!)
Best Season: all year
After a visit and short hike at Port Orford Heads, we continued south along highway 101. Our next stop was a slightly more challenging hike at Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. According to the Oregon State Parks website,
Cape Sebastian. The very name invokes images of early Spanish explorers and long journeys. The cape was named in honor of Saint Sebastian in 1603 by the Spanish navigator Sebastian Vizcaino. The most striking feature of this park is the panoramic views. At the south parking vista, you can see up to 43 miles to the north with Humbug Mountain filling the view. Looking south, you can see nearly 50 miles toward Crescent City, California and Point St. George Lighthouse. A deep forest of Sitka spruce covers most of the park and a trail takes you out to the lower levels of the cape.
The weather was still grey and dreary, but it was starting to look less dreary. Arriving at the southern Cape Sebastian Viewpoint, we had a lofty and cloudy view south toward Brookings. We left the parking lot and headed south on the Oregon Coast Trail through Sitka spruce for approximately 0.6 relatively flat miles before beginning a 0.8 mile descent 600’ to a cliff above the ocean.
Here the trail leveled out and we followed above the shore for about half a mile. This was a very scenic stretch of trail with great views to the south of Hunter’s Island, Hunters Cove, and the beach around Pistol River. Even better, the sun started to come out!
We stopped just short of the final descent to Hunters Cove. The cove looked like a lonely and lovely long stretch of pristine beach; however, we could see a little further south to an area of sea stacks that looked much more interesting. We decided to return to the car and go explore the sea stacks.
About half a mile into our return hike, we stopped for a break at a scenic spot above the ocean. Harbor seals below provided fine entertainment. The sun had finally burned off most of the coastal clouds and it was a beautiful afternoon. This made for better photos, but a much warmer hike back up to the top of Cape Sebastian! Fortunately, huffing and puffing your way uphill at sea level is much easier than most places we visit.
Back at the car, we made the short drive south to Meyers Beach. Here, the highway dipped down close to the ocean and we found a nice parking area just above the beach. There were only a few people around, allowing us to explore the area in relative solitude.
Meyers Beach is lovely with many nice sea stacks. The tide was near high while we were there. I suspect you could walk around many of the stacks at low tide. The beach stretched from Hunters Cove to the north and south through the Pistol River area. You could explore this area for hours.
Finishing at Meyers Beach, we drove the short distance south to Brookings where we’d be spending two nights at the Best Western Beachfront Inn. I asked the young woman at check in about a restaurant we had seen. She gave a very subtle cringe of the face and then politely said, “they’re ok but I highly recommend the Black Trumpet Bistro if you like Italian food.”
Our room was on the second floor with a nice little deck and superb views south, west, and north. We were so close to the ocean that it sounded like it might crash through the sliding glass door at any minute.
Figuring you should always listen to the locals, we headed to the Black Trumpet Bistro in downtown Brookings. Our waiter was the owner—food and service were exceptional. Jason had a shrimp pasta dish while I had the baked lasagna, both with a side salad with a homemade dressing that was to die for. The meal was simply fantastic. One of the best we’ve had anywhere.
We ended our day with a gorgeous sunset. Great views, great hotel, great meal— hello Brookings, Oregon. It is very nice to make your acquaintance!
Directions to trail head: From Gold Beach, follow coastal highway 101 south 7 miles and turn right at a sign for Cape Sebastian Viewpoint. When the road splits, continue left up a very steep road to the small southern parking lot.