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Cape Falcon Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

TKO put tools to trail here.png
Neahkahnie Mountain from Cape Falcon (Steve Hart)
Cape Falcon from Short Sand Beach (bobcat)
Skunk Cabbage (Steve Hart)
Blumenthal Falls (Steve Hart)
The trail route to Cape Falcon (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Cape Falcon TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Cape Falcon
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 160 feet
  • High point: 250 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

This is a short hike through a forest of huge Sitka spruce trees to a lava headland that offers views south to Neahkahnie Mountain. Hikers should note that this very popular section of the Oregon Coast Trail, while short, is highly eroded in many spots, with numerous twisted, exposed roots to negotiate. Much of the tread is muddy most of the year, so tennis shoes are not appropriate. Wear appropriate footwear and proceed carefully!

Start at the Cape Falcon Trailhead on the Cape Falcon Trail. The trail runs along the side of a forested ridge above Short Sand Creek. Soon the highway noise is replaced by the sounds of small birds and wind in the trees. You'll come to a signed trail junction at the half-mile mark. Turn right and follow the trail toward Cape Falcon. (You may wish to make a short detour down to Short Sand Beach and Smuggler's Cove before you continue out to Cape Falcon.)

You're now on a scenic section of the Oregon Coast Trail. The trail is often muddy in the spring as it weaves through damp areas filled with skunk-cabbage. There's a culvert over Kerwin Creek and then more forest. Farther along, there's a crossing over an unnamed creek. The trail here was relocated when a huge spruce blocked the path. Today's trail is a bit rough, but easily passable.

Soon after you begin to hear the ocean surf, you'll come to a large slide zone. A slanted cliff here marks the boundary of the area that slid into the sea. The trail drops about 60 feet to the low spot of the hike at Blumenthal Creek. Just past this creek, there's a short side trail to a viewpoint of the upper tier of Blumenthal Falls. This tiny waterfall is very scenic as the water cascades down a basalt slope. The side trail is sketchy, but it goes to the base of the upper tier and the lip of the larger lower tier. From here the creek falls directly onto the rocky shoreline.

Back on the main trail, continue toward the end of Cape Falcon. The trail climbs through a switchback, and then weaves in and out of a couple of meadows completely filled with salal. There's an obvious, if unsigned, trail junction a bit further on. Take the left path and drop down into a small saddle. The trail from here has been cut through a jungle of salal. The area would be completely impassible without this constructed trail. The trail ends at a series of viewpoints. The view to the south includes Neahkahnie Mountain and the town of Manzanita.

Return the way you came.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Dogs on leash
  • Trailhead parking lot is closed from 10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Oregon's Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide by Chandra LeGue
  • 25 Hikes on Oregon's Tillamook Coast by Adam Sawyer
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Best Hikes with Children: Western & Central Oregon by Bonnie Henderson
  • I Heart Oregon (& Washington) by Lisa D. Holmes
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • Oregon Hiking by Matt Wastradowski
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Craig Hill & Matt Wastradowski
  • 50 Hiking Trails: Portland and Northwest Oregon by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • 100 Hikes: Oregon Coast by William L. Sullivan
  • A Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell Wood
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • 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
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Fire, Faults, and Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River Basin by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • 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.