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Oceanside to Netarts Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Sea stacks at Tunnel Beach (bobcat)
Three Arch Rocks from the beach at Oceanside (bobcat)
Emerging onto Tunnel Beach, Oceanside (bobcat)
Looking to Happy Camp and Three Arch Rocks from the narrow beach at Netarts (bobcat)
The beach hike from Oceanside (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Oceanside Beach TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: O'Hara Creek
  • Hike type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 6.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 20 feet
  • High point: 20 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, at Oceanside


Hike Description

The view from Oceanside's beach is dramatic: offshore are the Three Arch Rocks (Shag Rock, Finley or Mid Rock, Storm Rock), a national wildlife refuge and wilderness area closed to the public; to the north is sheer-sided Maxwell Point, seemingly impregnable but pierced by a 90-year-old tunnel leading to secret beaches. Cape Lookout's long volcanic headland juts into the Pacific on the southern horizon. While the beach at Oceanside itself may be busy, two "secret" beaches to the north, Tunnel and Agate, can be reached for part of the day. The walk down towards Netarts sees fewer and fewer holidayers, and you'll end the hike at Netarts Basin and picnic spot. Be warned that the northern coves and the beach past Happy Camp to the south may not be accessible at high tide.

From the parking area, head down to the beach. Cape Lookout juts out to the south and Maxwell Point is just to your north. Three Arch Rocks loom offshore. With binoculars, in winter you may be able to see Steller’s sea lions loafing on Seal Rock. In spring, look also for large numbers of breeding tufted puffins and common murres. Walk north on the beach first. Approach the tunnel through Maxwell Point that was constructed in 1926. Heed the warning sign about rocks coming down from above (You can walk around the point, rather than go through the tunnel, at low tide). The tunnel itself may have standing water in the wet season. Come out on the cobbled strand of Tunnel Beach, also called Isolation Beach, with its little sea stacks protruding from the ocean on the far side. After wobbling across the little beach, climb up the closest rock to the beach and get a view of Cape Meares to the north. The rock is studded with fossil barnacles that are forming little crystal zeolites in their centers. From here, you can proceed to the next beach, little Agate Beach, reachable when the tide is out. Beyond Agate Beach is the almost inaccessible Lost Boy Cave Beach, best attempted at a minus tide. The cave is in the headland at the north end of the beach and forks to have two seaward exits. Farther north, Short Beach can be reached via a short trail from the Three Capes Road.

Back on Oceanside Beach, there may be surfers venturing into the water. The wide beach leads south below the little community of Oceanside and Symons State Scenic Viewpoint, with the Three Capes Road leading up over the next bluff. Cross Baughman Creek, which has a sign warning about sewage treatment effluent, and then walk below a development of larger homes on the bluff above. Then to the left, there’s a shore-pine forested dune with a wooden staircase leading down it. The stairs are closed - No Entry Sensitive Ecologocial Area. Soon after this, you're passing mudstone cliffs and have to cross wide Fall Creek higher up on logs laid across it. The end of Netarts Spit hoves into view and you round a point heading into Netarts Bay, first passing the cottages of Happy Camp nestled above a driftwood strewn beach. Cross Hodgdon Creek, where the strand is narrower and not easily walkable at a high tide. Round the bay, and head up a narrow beach below a low riprap wall to a breakwater that shelters a little harbor, the Netarts boat basin. Stroll onward to a picnic table above the boat ramp and dock where O'Hara Creek leads into the bay, and watch crab boats scoot in loaded with traps and catch. Look for harbor seals bobbing in the placid waters, and then return the way you came.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Oregon Coast North #356SX

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Keep to the beach; respect private property
  • Take care around and in the tunnel through Maxwell Point

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail by Bonnie Henderson
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • Oregon Coast Trail: Hiking Inn to Inn by Jack D. Remington
  • Oregon's Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • Oregon State Parks; A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan

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.

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