Editor’s note: As of Feb. 12, 2020, Ecola State Park is closed until further notice south of Indian Beach Day Use Area due to recent landslides that damaged the park entrance road. For more information, visit Oregon State Parks.
Wrapping around Tillamook Head, between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park stretches along 9 miles of coastline and offers outstanding sightseeing and recreation opportunities combined with a storied past. Though the scenic and hiking opportunities may be the main allure, the diversity of outdoor recreation including picnicking, tidepooling, surfing and wildlife observation make Ecola State park a destination year round.
Sightseeing opportunities begin the moment you enter the park. The entrance road meanders through a lush Sitka spruce forest, eventually opening up to a grassy bluff offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. You may recognize the viewpoint south, a scene from many published photographs. Sea stacks punctuate the long sweep of shoreline south, backed by the town of Cannon Beach and ridge of coastal mountains above.
Ecola’s trails offer cliff side viewpoints of secluded coves, forested promontories and even a long abandoned lighthouse. The park’s network of trails include an 8 mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail, and a 2 1/2 mile historical interpretive route called the Clatsop Loop Trail. Part of the Clatsop Loop Trail and the trail over Tillamook Head follow in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery. Captain William Clark and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery traveled through what is now the park in 1806 in search of a beached whale near present-day Cannon Beach. After scaling the north slope of Tillamook Head and reaching one of its viewpoints, Clarke described the vista as “… the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed…”
Stop for a picnic before taking to the many miles of trails. Visit Indian Beach, a secluded sandy beach, popular with surfers and beach goers, offering tide pools and scenic splendor. Keep a watchful eye open for the park’s wildlife, such as deer, elk or eagles soaring overhead. You may even spot migrating gray whales throughout winter and spring.