Day Trip to Ecola State Park — Explore the Oregon coast | MLMR Travel
While getting a little stir crazy in our apartment we decided to go on an early morning day trip to Ecola State Park for a hike and picnic. It was a perfect way to explore the Oregon coast and was less than two hours from Portland.
Our first thought was to only check out Cannon Beach, but during trip planning, Phil found the park nearby, and we knew immediately it was more our style. We see it as the best of both worlds because you get to hike in the trees and walk along the beach.
Talk about a win-win for any nature lover like ourselves. So we packed a day pack and set off for the coast first thing in the morning. Then we had a perfect mini-adventure with the pics to prove it.
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Ecola State Park
We had never in our life heard of Ecola State Park but boy are we glad we found it. It’s like a mini forest right along the coastline. What’s not to love?!
Some people consider Ecola State Park as Cannon Beach but it’s really a few miles north. From the best of our understanding, some consider the entire area to be Cannon Beach but most agree that only one portion of the coast is the official “Cannon Beach” location.
We think this is another win-win situation since you could always see both. On one day trip to the Oregon coast, you get to see a well-known beach and a State Park.
To get into the park you take Ecola State Park Road (makes sense). You’ll come to a point where you can go left or go right to continue down the road until it becomes Cannon Beach Trail.
This can get confusing quickly so we’re gonna try to break it down more for you and even include a hand-drawn map.
Ecola Point Day Use Area
By staying left on Ecola State Park Road you’ll find yourself at the parking lot for the Ecola Point Day Use Area. This spot is great because you can walk on some short paths but still get a fantastic view of the coastline.
You can see Cannon Beach in the distance and the beautiful rock formation of Ecola Point. There are also some bathrooms, picnic benches, and a covered seating area.
Parking is five dollars paid with a credit card. We think this is more than a fair price since it helps preserve this stunning area.
There is a trailhead for the Indian Beach Trail which takes you along the coast and through a canopy of trees. Then you end up at the more secluded “Indian Beach”.
This is the hike we traveled on but treefall from a recent storm kept us from reaching the final destination. Even with the blocked path, it was a quick and fun “down and back” hike and we enjoyed every moment.
Indian Beach Day Use Area
If you turn right to stay on Ecola State Park Road, you’ll be able to drive all the way to Indian Beach. To actually get the sand in your toes you do have to hike a bit of the Indian Beach Trail but not too far.
For an even greater adventure, you can take Cannon Beach Trail to Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint. This was our original plan but again, the recent tree fall caused the road to close and made this path unreachable.
But oh well, just another reason to visit again. That is the gamble of visiting in the winter and right after a storm rolled in.
Let’s talk about beaches since that is the reason most people want to visit the coast. Really any sand along the coastline is a beach but there are some specific areas to check out.
It’s still a little confusing but what we gathered is that Cannon Beach is the “city” but also a specific spot along the coast that is very popular. If you’re looking for a place to stay with a view or restaurants this is the touristy place to be.
Also if you’ve seen a lot of social media posts about the Oregon coastline…it’s probably Cannon Beach. It really is a fan fav.
Located up the coast in Ecola State Park is the previously mentioned Indian Beach. We like to consider this spot more secluded and more immersed in nature.
Keep in mind that the seclusion of the location makes for a cooler but riskier option since it’s not always accessible. AKA what happened to us.
Nestled in between Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park is Chapman Beach. If you’re up for a walk along the Oregon coast, this is a perfect spot since you can adventure North or South on foot to check out the other locations.
Since the treefall threw a wrench in our plans, we headed to Champan Beach since it was on our way back home. Right after leaving Ecola Stale Park we found a free parking lot for cars by Breakers Point apartments and walked the small path to the ocean.
Even though it wasn’t the initial beach we had in mind it fit into our day plans perfectly. We got our beach fix and even had a quick picnic lunch.
Our Mini Adventure
So all-in-all we count our morning day trip to the coast a smashing success even though the plans didn’t play out exactly as planned. We loved our short hike and the views of the coastline from above.
We felt like it was the perfect mix of a hiking adventure, sightseeing, and a day at the beach.
But the main takeaway was the pictures. Let’s just take a second for that view to really soak in.
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Originally published at https://mlmrtravel.com on February 5, 2021.