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Lake Marie Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to the north shore, Lake Marie (bobcat)
Boardwalk on the Lake Marie Trail (bobcat)
ATVs in the Umpqua Dunes near Lake Marie (bobcat)
The Umpqua River Lighthouse, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (bobcat)
The trail around Lake Marie in the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Lake Marie TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Umpqua Dunes Overlook
  • Hike Type: Loop with two spurs
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 50 feet
  • High Point: 100 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, in summer


Hike Description

Lake Marie’s tranquil 15 acres nestles in a coastal forest on the inland edge of the Umpqua Dunes. The lake is part of the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, and right below its campground (which has the most luxurious yurts in Oregon), with the Umpqua River Lighthouse itself being only a short stroll away. While you can walk to the Umpqua Dunes, it’s advisable not to hike in them here as this section is a heavily used ATV playground. Lake Marie itself, however, offers a shady loop hike, a small swimming beach, and trout, perch, and largemouth bass for fishermen.

From the parking area, hike down towards the swimming beach, and take a trail leading left. Keep close to the shore on this hike as there are numerous connector trails leading up to the day-use area and then also the campground. Picnic tables are tucked into the undergrowth here: the day-use facilities at the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Pass through dense thickets of evergreen huckleberry, rhododendron, salal, and wax-myrtle. Pink rhododendron blooms provide splashes of color in late spring. The forest canopy is composed of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red-cedar. Pass through a dark tunnel of evergreen huckleberry, and keep right at a junction with a paved trail leading to the campground. Note the little identification plaques informing about some of the plants. Drop to a salmonberry, horsetail, skunk-cabbage bog, and pass under some large Sitka spruce. Then walk up through another huckleberry tunnel before hopping over a trickling creek in a salmonberry thicket.

At an unmarked junction, take the trail leading left through a tunnel of rhododendron and huckleberry. Note that what you are hiking on are actually old sand dunes now densely vegetated. Drop to the Umpqua Dunes Overlook at a boundary sign for the ATV area. You can see over an expanse of sand to a staging area and north to the mouth of the Umpqua River. A strip of shore pine/spruce thicket separates the open dune area from the beach and ocean. Return to the loop trail to go left and head back to the Lake Marie Trailhead.

To see the Umpqua River Lighthouse, you can drive, but you might as well walk the park road up the slope. When you reach the top of the bluff, there’s a viewing deck overlooking the mouth of the Umpqua River, a lookout tower, and the river jetties. This is also a designated whale watching station with detailed information about gray and humpback whale habits and migration patterns. Across the road from the viewing platform, and behind a fence in a Coast Guard base, is the Umpqua River Lighthouse. This is the second incarnation of a light in the area. Oregon’s first lighthouse was constructed down next to the river and began operation in 1857. River action constantly undermined the structure, it became unsafe, and it collapsed in 1863 while a crew was in the process of dismantling it. It wasn’t until 1894 that the next lighthouse, safely located atop the bluff, began signaling. This location makes it the farthest from the coast of any of Oregon’s maritime lighthouses. The light’s lens also emits the only bicolored beam on the Oregon coast: alternate flashes of red and white. North of the lighthouse is the lighthouse museum, operated by Douglas County. After the Coast Guard declared the light “no longer a critical component for safe navigation” in 2009, the county has also taken up maintenance of the lighthouse itself and offers tours from May to October.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Fees, Regulations, etc.

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Best Hikes With Kids: Oregon by Bonnie Henderson & Zach Urness
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan

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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.

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