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Fort to Sea Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Fort Clatsop historical re-enactment (Lewis & Clark National Historic Park)
Portions of the trail follow fence lines through open pastures (Navigator 2)
Skipanon River Bridge, one of several along the trail (Navigator 2)
Sunset Beach viewing platform (Navigator 2)


Hike Description

In the 1950s, the volunteers who created a replica of Fort Clatsop in the rainforest near the mouth of the Columbia River had a broader vision for the park that included a trail connecting the national memorial to the Pacific Ocean. The National Park Service commissioned a trail feasibility study in 1958, and the trail was finally constructed in 2004-05, in time for the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the creation of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which includes Fort Clatsop. Volunteers completed much of the trail work, as well.

The trail begins at the Fort Clatsop Trailhead, and heads west, crossing a road, then passes through a large area of blow-down from storms of December 2-3, 2008. These fallen trees have opened up the forest for the foxgloves and elderberries that now thrive along the trail. After winding through woods for about 0.8 miles, the trail reaches the Clatsop Ridge Overlook at 1.25 miles and a series of short switchbacks.

From here, the route continues through woods and boardwalks through skunk cabbage-filled wetlands, crosses the Skipanon River on a footbridge, then reaches an underpass at {{Highway 101 Underpass|Highway 101]] at 3.5 miles. After crossing under the highway and passing a church and cemetery, the trail turns south and crosses Neacoxie Creek on another footbridge, then follows fence lines across open pastures of grazing cattle. Soon, cross an arched wood suspension bridge over the arm connecting Neocoxie and Sunset lakes. Here, the trail enters Sunset Beach State Park, passing through coast pine thickets before reaching the Sunset Beach Trailhead. To complete the hike, continue past this western trailhead, following boardwalks to a viewing platform in the dunes above Sunset Beach at the 5.0 mile mark.

Because the hike ends at a second trailhead, this trip works well as a one-way shuttle with two cars. Check with the park for details and schedule. Dogs are allowed on this trail.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Sky Island Graphics: Oregon Coast Area Trails

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5.00 entrance fee for adults 16 and over at Fort Clatsop, or National Park pass. No fees at Sunset Beach Trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.