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Cannon Beach Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Haystack Rock and The Needles, Cannon Beach (bobcat)
Harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus), Silver Point (bobcat)
Southern end of Arcadia Beach (bobcat)
Old Highway 101, Hug Point (bobcat)
Black turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala), Hug Point (bobcat)
Red shows the route (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Cannon Beach TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Hug Point
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out or car shuttle
  • Distance: 10.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 25 feet
  • High Point: 25 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, except for stretches between parking areas


Hike Description

Although this is one of the most visited beaches on the entire Oregon Coast, walking the sandy expanse will take you into some quiet spots whenever you get some distance from the main access points. Do not stop once you have fraternized with the hordes at Haystack Rock. There are other tide pools, stacks, and headlands to explore before you reach Hug Point. Make sure you attempt this at low tide; otherwise, navigating the headlands at Humbug Point and Hug Point can be a drenching experience! In any case, there are a number of creeks that flow out across the beaches and you should be prepared to get your feet wet at any time of year.

In addition to the hike as described, there are several other options here:

From the main parking area, walk west to Hemlock Street. Go right half a block and then go left on 2nd Street and walk out to the beach. Here Ecola Creek meets the Pacific Ocean at Kramer Point. Across the creek is Chapman Beach backed by Chapman Point, with Ecola Point and then Tillamook Head to the north. Walk south towards Haystack Rock, a 235-foot sea stack that hosts nesting puffins, cormorants, and other sea birds in the spring. At low tide, explore the tide pools around its base, but do not go beyond the signs forbidding passage (Haystack Rock is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge). Anemones, sea stars, and chitons are easily spotted here. More of a find are colorful nudibranches, or sea slugs, found in pools at the low tide line.

Proceed southward along the beach. The other stacks around Haystack Rock are known collectively as The Needles. To the left is a low hill of spruce and pine and then comes the fairly lengthy and open stretch of beach fronting Tolovana before another forested hill is passed. Navigate the next headland with the stack of Silver Point and its low sea cave to the right. Look for harlequin ducks floating in and out with the surges here. The short stretch of beach past Silver Point is backed by a high, many-layered sedimentary bluff. On the right is the rounded hump of Jockey Cap.

The next headland, Humbug Point, can be tricky except at low tide. You can clamber over the rocks and squeeze between the headland and Lion Rock, which looks somewhat like a sphinx in profile. Now you are on Arcadia Beach. There’s a state wayside, the Arcadia Beach Trailhead, at the beach’s north end which would be a good place to leave a car if you are doing a shuttle and are concerned about making it to Hug Point’s parking area because of the tides. Looking south, Arch Cape and offshore Castle Rock are visible.

Walk along Arcadia Beach noting the contorted layers on the bluff, twisted by some massive tectonic force. Getting towards the southern end of the beach, you can admire the colorful cliffs and find more solitude. Reach Hug Point and take the “path” around the headland unless it is high tide. This is an actual road bed, carved sometime around World War I to allow cars passage to the community of Arch Cape. It is paved with barnacles and algae, so watch your footing, but it takes you around to views of the pocket beaches at Austin Point. You can continue from here if the tide is low although the south side of Hug Point is more difficult to negotiate without getting soaked (see the Hug Point Hike).


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No fees. Dogs on leash.
  • Check tide tables before beginning the hike.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast and the Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon by Douglas Lorain
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Oregon's North Coast by Lizann Dunegan
  • Hiking the Oregon Coast by Lizann Dunegan
  • Trail Running: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • Oregon Coast Trail: Hiking Inn to Inn by Jack D. Remington
  • A Hiker's Guide to the Oregon Coast Trail by David E.M. Bucy & Mary C. McCauley
  • Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • Fire, Faults, and Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River Basin by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest and Central Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan

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.