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Bayocean Spit Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Redirected from Bayocean Spit Hike)
View to Cape Meares from Bayocean Spit (bobcat)
Sanderlings foraging on Bayocean Spit (bobcat)
Shipwreck on Bayocean Spit (cfm)
Red-breasted merganser near the jetty, Bayocean Spit (bobcat)
View to Garibaldi from Dike Road, Bayocean Spit (bobcat)
The loop route around the spit, showing the trans-peninsula trails also (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Bayocean Spit TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Kincheloe Point
  • Hike type: Loop
  • Distance: 7.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 50 feet
  • High point: 25 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

This sand spit was once the site of the City of Bay Ocean Park, conceived by a developer in 1906 and then lost gradually to the ocean after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the North Jetty at Barview in 1917, thus radically altering the flow of local currents. Eventually the peninsula itself shifted about 200 yards into Tillamook Bay and became an island. The last home was destroyed in 1960 although a breakwater at the ocean breach allowed the island to become a peninsula once more. The hike description takes you first along the beach to the tip of the peninsula at the South Jetty. You return on an old road track on the bay side, passing Kincheloe Point. A diversion is the short interpretive trail that leads to the Bay Ocean Townsite although most of that is now covered by the Pacific Ocean. If you want a shorter hike, go along the bay side first and pick up one of the trails heading through the dune forest to the beach for your return.

Begin your hike at the Bayocean Spit Trailhead, and take the sandy trail leading through the dunes toward the ocean. Scots broom, evergreen huckleberry, and stunted spruce and shore pine dot the grassy expanse. You should see elk and deer tracks here. Head up the beachfront dune for a view south to Cape Meares, with Pyramid Rock and Pillar Rock offshore. Looking north, you can see Barview Jetty and the town of Garibaldi on Tillamook Bay. Once on the beach at emergency locator #29, walk north. Neahkahnie Mountain, Rock Mountain, Angora Peak, and West Onion Peak come into view. Little clouds of sanderlings may be foraging at the water line, and surf scoters duck in the breakers. Western and ring-billed gulls are common. You can also keep your eyes peeled for the protected snowy plover. Forested dunes in the middle of the peninsula support taller spruces and pines. These dunes are about 50 feet tall at their highest, much lower than the 140-foot dune that once protected Bay Ocean Park. Salal and evergreen huckleberry are the dominant shrubs. You will pass four TRAIL signs on the dunes, indicating the cross-peninsula trails. Coming to the end of the spit, climb up on the jetty and watch the swells rolling into the bay.

To return, head east through the accumulated driftwood towards a beacon powered by a solar panel, and pick up a gravel track, the Dike Road, from here. There's a view across to Barview County Park and the Barview stacks, known as the Three Graces. You will notice several sinkholes in the dike road. Enter shore pine woods and then before a washed out section of the track, take a short trail into the pines to reach a cobbled inlet. Skirt around the little cove and reconnect with the track, getting views to an idyllic beach curving towards Kincheloe Point and its light. The dike road tunnels down an alley of shore pine and passes an outhouse just south of Kincheloe Point. Then the track curves around the edge of Crab Harbor in a forest of spruce and pine. You'll soon pass the first of two trail junctions with benches; these paths lead west across the boggy peninsula to the beach. Spruce, salal, evergreen huckleberry, and wax-myrtle dominate the thickets here, while alders line a mudflat exposed a low tide. You can scan the bay and tidal flats for waterfowl. In winter, there are flocks of ducks and geese, including black brants, as well as herons and egrets posing in the shallows. A third trans-peninsula trail leads off to the right. The road swings inland for a detour around a swamp. Here much taller spruces flourish among salal, salmonberry and sword fern. Walk around a gate, and reach another connection to the beach labeled Bayocean Townsite on a post.

Turn in to follow this trail through an open area that supports stunted pines, spruce, willow, salal and Scots broom. The first post you'll see marks the site of the Reeder house (Perry Reeder wrote a book about the fate of Bay Ocean Park). Then you'll come to a junction with a Bayocean Townsite sign mounted on an old telephone pole. The trail to the right leads to the beach, but to explore a little more of the townsite, turn left to pass the site of the Mitchell Store and post office as well as the Bayside Hotel. (Nothing remains of the buildings themselves. This part of the town was originally situated right on the bay at the ferry dock. Most of the townsite is further west and under the surf.) The trail returns you through the Scots broom to Dike Road, where a detailed interpretive display in three panels tells the sad history of Bay Ocean Park. Turn right here to reach the trailhead.

The spit is also a great venue for a family bike ride. The flat terrain makes it easy going on both the interior gravel road and the packed beach sand at low tide. The only hard part is dragging your bike back over the dunes to the parking area.

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • $10 Tillamook County Day Use Access Parking Fee, payable at the trailhead
  • Port-a-potty, interpretive signs
  • Outhouse at Kincheloe Point
  • Overnight camping is no longer permitted on Bayocean Spit

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 25 Hikes on Oregon's Tillamook Coast by Adam Sawyer
  • 100 Hikes: Oregon Coast by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan
  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson
  • Bayocean, the Oregon Town That Fell Into the Sea by Bert & Margie Webber

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.

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