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Cove Beach Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View north to Arch Cape, Cove Beach (bobcat)
Slide onto Cove Beach (bobcat)
Magic rocks and Cape Falcon, Cove Beach (bobcat)
Cedar Creek and Gull Rocks, Cove Beach (bobcat)
The Cove Beach hike (bobcat)
  • Start point: Tide Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Arch Cape
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
  • High point: 20 feet
  • Elevation gain: 20 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

This small beach lies between Arch Cape and Cape Falcon: There are a couple of points of access for the public. The beach is backed by a high bar of lava cobbles which clink and clank when the high tides reach them: thus, it is also known as “Magic Rocks Beach.” The stretch of sand is entirely covered by high tides, so time your visit with low water. Gull Rock is close to the shore, while Pyramid Rock juts up farther offshore. At either end of the beach are lava headlands, but the community of Cove sits on a soft former ocean floor and a few houses have already slid down the slope. Near the south end of the beach, the magic rocks dam a driftwood-filled lagoon.

Take the new stairway down to the beach. Find your way past the driftwood and onto the wide bar of lava cobbles which backs the entire beach. It’s much easier to walk on the sand, however. At low tide, a pool forms at the base of the cobbles. Walk north towards Arch Cape. Cross Mason Creek and look up to see the soft, sliding slope of sedimentary deposits from an ancient ocean floor. Several houses have already met their doom because they were perched too close to the edge. A woodland of Sitka spruce is silhouetted above. A cluster of rocks stand close to the shore; the largest of these is Gull Rock. Farther out to sea is the stack of Castle Rock (All of these rocks are part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and are designated wilderness areas.). Cross Cedar Creek opposite Gull Rock, and then head up the cobbles where they form a causeway or dam between the beach and a dark, driftwood-cluttered lagoon.

Descend to the beach again, and hike past the last homes. Highway 101 passes close above them although it cannot be seen. Closer to the Arch Cape headland, clamber over rockfall as far as you can go. At the very lowest of tides, you can keep going to a pocket beach and visit the Arch Cape Arch. If you're fine with getting a little wet, you can continue on and scramble around to the beach at the community of Arch Cape.

The north end of the beach has one more creek to cross before you reach the rocks of the Cape Falcon headland. The slumping bluff here is set to claim one or two more homes in the near future. You'll see the second public access point to the beach in the form of a steep path that leads up next to the creek. The best tide pools are at the south end of the beach. At very low tide, you can scramble round two points to two secluded beaches, but make sure you have time to get back!


Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Keep to the beach; respect private property

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.