Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Cannon Beach Nature Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Overlooking the sludge lagoons, Cannon Beach Nature Trail (bobcat)
Big stride, Spruce Preserve, Cannon Beach Nature Trail (bobcat)
Barn on Ecola Creek from the Fir Street Bridge (bobcat)
The nature trail loop in Cannon Beach (bobcat) (Not a GPS track) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Cannon Beach TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Kramer Point
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 10 feet
  • High Point: 20 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

For a diversion while you are in Cannon Beach, try this short walk and interpretive trail around wastewater treatment ponds teeming with waterfowl. The trail leads to a mossy spruce forest, and then back past wetlands to Ecola Creek and out to its mouth at Kramer Point. There are numerous interpretive signs that describe the bird and plant life, the effects of the 1964 tsunami, and wastewater treatment processes. Take binoculars and your bird guide!

From the main parking areas, walk north to 2nd Street, and go right past the restrooms. After the skate park, see a trail leading left with a sign describing the aftermath of the 1964 tsunami: this will be the second part of the walk. Pass more parking at the treatment lagoons, and pick up the trail that circles the lagoons. Begin walking clockwise, taking in the interpretive signs and the raised viewing platform that allows you to scope for waterfowl. In the winter months, you’re likely to see quite a variety of water birds, from coots and pied-billed grebes to buffleheads, hooded mergansers, and green-winged teals. Keep to the outside path and turn a corner. To your left is an alder/spruce ditch, with noisy Highway 101 traffic running behind the screen of trees. Round the southwest corner of the lagoons, and pass a blackwater swamp on your left before going left at a fence line.

At a junction with a paved trail, go left. The trail rises through an elderberry/sword fern thicket into a mossy Sitka spruce forest. When you reach Elm Street, you can return and continue walking clockwise (to your left) around the wastewater site.

You’ll pass aeration basins where gulls and mallards feast off the surface scum. Reach a footbridge that crosses an alder/spruce swamp, and pick up the gravel trail along the west side of the lagoons. The restored Little Pompey Wetlands, which once again are receiving some tidal flow after being blocked for decades, are to your left. Reach 2nd Street, and head to the paved trail just east of the skate park.

A sign here describes the aftereffects of the 1964 tsunami. There’s a city park on your left and a spruce wetland to the right. Soon, Ecola Creek itself will appear on the right. The creek is essentially a tidal estuary and, at high tide, the waters reach the white fence at the barnyard across the creek. The trail merges just south of the Fir Street Bridge at tiny Ecola Creek Park. Cross the road, and find a chip trail that skirts the field north of the elementary school. Pass some picnic tables and reach the end of the trail at Spruce Street.

At high tide, you may want to head back via Spruce Street. Otherwise, walk out to the beach and the mouth of Ecola Creek at Kramer Point. A short return to parking can be made via 3rd Street (Whale Park), 2nd, or 1st Street. On a nice day, especially at low tide, continue down the beach to explore around Haystack Rock.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson

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.