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Samuel Boardman: Lone Ranch Beach to House Rock Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking down to Lone Ranch Beach from Cape Ferrelo, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor (bobcat)
View to House Rock Beach from Cape Ferrelo (bobcat)
On House Rock Beach, Samuel Boardman SSC (bobcat)
Hoary manzanita (Arctostaphylos canescens), House Rock Point (bobcat)
Boardman Monument, House Rock Point (bobcat)
Coast sneezeweed (Helenium bolanderi), Cape Ferrelo (bobcat)
The Oregon Coast Trail route from Lone Ranch Beach to the House Rock Viewpoint (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Lone Ranch Beach TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: House Rock Trailhead
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1140 feet
  • High Point: 490 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes, in sections
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Only near trailheads


Hike Description

The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor stretches along Oregon’s south coast for 12 miles north of Brookings. It is a visual feast of sea stacks, cliffs, and secret beaches. This hike, in the southernmost portion of the corridor, takes in all three of these, and also offers a wildflower extravaganza on Cape Ferrelo in the spring. You’ll begin at Lone Ranch, hike up an open moor, and then amble along through coastal spruce forest to reach a side trail that descends a steep sandy slope to a secret beach. Views on the hike extend south to Point St. George in California and north to Cape Sebastian.

Samuel H. Boardman was the first superintendent of Oregon State Parks, and a major advocate for preserving coastal beauty for the public. He was also the founder of the town of Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon. Cape Ferrelo is named after Bartolomé Ferrelo, the chief pilot of the Spanish-employed Portuguese navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, an associate of Hernán Cortés, who in 1542 became the first European to explore the west coast of California. After Cabrillo died of gangrene from an infection, Ferrelo succeeded him in command and sailed farther north to reach the area of Cape Blanco the following year.

The Oregon Coast Trail actually begins below the restrooms at Lone Ranch Beach, but for a more scenic route to Cape Ferrelo, switchback down to the beach past the picnic tables, and cross Lone Ranch Creek. Walk north to the end of the sand, and find the grassy footpath leading up from the driftwood. Bracken, Douglas iris, blue-eyed grass, and lupine grow on this open moor. Get views south to Lone Ranch’s sea stack bay, Twin Rocks farther out to sea, and on to Goat Island. Point St. George in California is on the southern horizon. Cape Ferrelo can be windy, so hold on to your hat! Hike up through the irises to a crest. Tall House Rock and Barnacle Rock are the stacks farther offshore. Get a view of a rocky cove below and, past a promontory, House Rock Beach and the 500-foot forested cape of House Rock Point. Join the Oregon Coast Trail in a small depression, and keep left. Hike up through a spruce/salal/thimbleberry/coyote brush thicket, and pass a spur leading right to a bench with a splendid view over Lone Ranch Beach. Then come to the Cape Ferrelo Trailhead, a good whale-watching spot in migration season.

The Oregon Coast Trail drops down an open slope, permitting some views into the stack-filled cove below. Wild azaleas bloom here in late spring. Hike along a Sitka spruce slope carpeted with big sword ferns. Cross a creek, and rise through a coppice of alders before crossing a small footbridge. Switchback up at a fat, multi-limbed spruce, and then make a traverse across an slder/salmonberry/sword fern slope. The trail passes over House Rock Creek pouring out of a culvert pipe and then turns out in a glade of violets. Make seven more switchbacks down to a footbridge over a creek before rising again to a junction with an unsigned side trail.

If you take this trail, it’s a steep quarter-mile down to House Rock Beach. Drop through shore pine, spruce, and tanoak to cross a steep sand slope. The actual trail tread crisscrosses this slope, but some people simply skid straight down. Pass through a coyote brush thicket, and make use of the knotted rope to drop to driftwood-backed House Rock Beach. Walking left will take you to House Rock Creek. Going right will take you to tide pools and sea stacks at the base of a cliff.

Back at the Oregon Coast Trail, hike through a salal/evergreen huckleberry thicket, and begin ascending through a carpet of false lily-of-the-valley up to the House Rock Trailhead. A short path leads up steps to a monument in remembrance of Samuel H. Boardman. Trees obscure some views (You can’t see House Rock), but Whalehead Beach, Crook Point, and Cape Sebastian are to the north and Cape Ferrelo and Point St. George are visible to the south.

On the return, after you pass the Cape Ferrelo Trailhead, you can decide whether to take the more scenic route down to Lone Ranch Beach or the more direct route via the Oregon Coast Trail. If you do the latter, you’ll be getting views directly down to Lone Ranch Beach and south, but not north or out to sea. Clumps of coyote brush dot the moor, and you’ll pass a pair of outcroppings. The grassy trail switchbacks down to alder-shaded Lone Ranch Creek. There’s no bridge here, but as of 2018, there were some downed alders upstream that facilitated an easy crossing. Otherwise, you're in for a ford.


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Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Oregon’s Best Wildflower Hikes: Southwest Region by Elizabeth L. Horn
  • Hiking Southern Oregon by Art Bernstein & Zach Urness
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon by Douglas Lorain
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Hiking the Oregon Coast by Lizann Dunegan
  • Hiking Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Hike America: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • 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
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Oregon Beaches: A Traveler's Companion by John Shewey
  • Oregon’s Best Coastal Beaches by Dick Trout
  • The Dog Lover’s Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson
  • Best Hikes With Dogs: Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • 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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