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Otter Point to Rogue River Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Needle Rock and Double Rock, Rogue River Reef (bobcat)
View to Hubbard Mound, Humbug Mountain, and Cape Blanco from Otter Point (bobcat)
View to Bailey Beach from Otter Point (bobcat)
Looking to Otter Point from Bailey Beach (bobcat)
Fort Feline cat sanctuary, Rogue River North Jetty, Gold Beach (bobcat)
The route from Otter Point to the mouth of the Rogue River (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Otter Point TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Rogue River North Jetty Trailhead
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 7.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 160 feet
  • High Point: 130 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes, in sections
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Falling

Contents

Hike Description

The rather obscure Otter Point State Recreation Site is just off the Old Coast Road north of Gold Beach. Otter Point juts into the ocean, a thick soft layer of terrace deposits over vertically folded layers of sandstone and shale. Views extend almost 100 miles from Cape Blanco in the north to Point St. George in the south. To lengthen your day, take the Oregon Coast Trail down to Bailey Beach, and hike south to the Rogue River North Jetty. Bring binoculars to scope out impressive Needle Rock in the Rogue River Reef far offshore, and to search for seals, sea lions, and seabirds when you’re at the jetty. There’s a hike and bike option also using Old Coast Road. Stash a bike at one end, and hike to it from the other.

From the north end of the parking lot, get a view north to Agate Beach below with its array of offshore stacks and the next promontory, Hubbard Mound, with Humbug Mountain farther north. Take the trail out to Otter Point, passing the junction with the Oregon Coast Trail. Hike through a Sitka spruce/shorepine/salal/evergreen huckleberry tunnel and arrive at the soft terrace headland, but don’t stand too close to the edges – these can collapse at any time. Vegetated spots support crowberry, lupine, paintbrush, angelica, and coast strawberry. Shrubs include coyote brush and blueblossom ceanothus. You’ll get the same views north, but from here you can see all the way south to Point St. George in California. With binoculars, scan for the St. George Reef Light six miles offshore. Bailey Beach forms a wide sweeping stretch south to the Rogue River, and an interesting family of odd-shaped stacks are scattered around the point. Out to sea, look for the rocks of the Rogue River Reef, especially distinctive Needle Rock, which looks like it was transplanted straight from Arizona's Monument Valley.

After taking in your fill, head back to the junction with the Oregon Coast Trail, and go right. Pass under spruce, alder, and waxmyrtle and then a small grove of Oregon-myrtle with larger spruce trees. Also look for silk tassel and azalea shrubs. There’s another view south over the beach. Switchback down twice above Old Coast Road, and hike through a salmonberry thicket. Tiger lilies bloom here as does starry Solomon-plume in early spring. Cow parsnip flourishes among the vines of big root (wild cucumber). Cross a creek on a footbridge, and arrive at the beach. The Rogue River North Jetty is 2.8 miles away, but you could also turn around at Fort Miner Point, only 1.8 miles from the creek.

Out on the beach, first look back at the Otter Point headland, and note its two distinct layers. Notice also the arch in the point, which you can only see from this angle. Keep walking south, and cross a second small creek. Vehicles are permitted on this beach, but you’re unlikely to encounter other humans at this north end. Foredunes vegetated with beachgrass back the sandy strand. You can make out the radio towers atop a forested knoll. There are rocks on the beach and more offshore as the tread becomes more cobbled. Pass the emergency locator #173 where there is a path that accesses the beach from Old Coast Road. Cross a small creek, and reach the first houses of the Rogue Shores development. There are more rocks offshore as you round Fort Miner Point, which is near the location where local settlers underwent a 30-day siege in a driftwood bastion after 23 of their number had been killed in a battle with Tututni Indians. The high headland to the south is Cape Sebastian.

Continuing along the beach, you’ll pass the last of the Rogue Shores houses and then dark Knox Rock offshore. When you arrive at Doyle Point and the Rogue River North Jetty, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1960-61, you can walk out to observe seals, sea lions, and various sea birds in the river and surf. Then walk along the north bank of the Rogue to a parking area, and come to the whimsical Fort Feline, a colorful village of small wood homes (including a lighthouse) for the local feral cat population. Volunteers from a charity called Jetty Cats Plus began building these structures in the early 1990s because the local animal shelter had no space for cats. Look upriver to the low span of the Wedderburn Bridge which carries Highway 101 over the Rogue.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Otter Point day use open: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Share Bailey Beach with vehicles

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Oregon’s Best Wildflower Hikes: Southwest Region by Elizabeth L. Horn
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • Oregon Coast Hikes by Paul M. Williams
  • Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail by Connie Soper
  • Oregon Coast Trail: Hiking Inn to Inn by Jack D. Remington
  • The Oregon Coast Trail Guide by Jon Kenneke (eBook)
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Oregon’s Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout

More Links


Contributors

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.