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The Thumb Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Salmon River and Cascade Head from The Thumb (bobcat)
View to Devils Lake from The Knoll (bobcat)
In the alder-lined meadow on the way to The Thumb (bobcat)
On the south slope of The Thumb (bobcat)
The hike to The Thumb (road walk sections in orange; Xs mark No Entry trails) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Roads End TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: The Thumb
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1025 feet
  • High Point: 570 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On weekends
Falling

Contents

Hike Description

This hike from Roads End takes you up along an elk–frequented ridge to a basalt formation known locally as The Thumb (or sometimes more colorfully as God's Thumb) on Siuslaw National Forest land. There are spectacular views from here of secluded coves, offshore stacks, and across the Salmon River, the great grassy promontory of Cascade Head. Note that the shorter and most popular access route in past years, from the end of Logan Road, crosses private land and is no longer tolerated. Also, make sure you use the Roads End Trailhead for this hike as there is little space for extra cars on the narrow neighborhood streets. Please stay on the route described below, and respect all signs.

From the Roads End Trailhead, walk back to Logan Street and walk one block north to 61st Street, crossing Logan Creek in the process. Follow 61st as it curves to the left. Keep straight at Spindrift, and then make a right on 63rd. Cross Neptune Drive and then walk up to the left on Port Drive, which curves left along a ridge lined with residences. Swing right where Port Drive becomes gravel and keep straight at Sal La Sea Drive. Pass the last house and reach a gate.

Walk around the gate and take a grassy track leading to the right (The main track leads to a quarry). Hike up along this old road bed under red alder and Sitka spruce with thickets of blackberry, salmonberry, and elderberry. Walk between two large spruce trees and look back to get a view of Lincoln City and Devils Lake. Reach the crest of the ridge, known in these parts as The Knoll, a Lincoln City Open Space. On your return, you can walk out along this crest to get an expansive view to the south and then rejoin the main trail. Note that the local elk bed down in this meadow at night. Continue north along the crest to a grassy clearing, and find the trail leading north along the ridge on your right. Hike through a mossy spruce forest and drop along the west side of the slope. Rise and drop to keep left on the crest at a junction with a trail coming up from the Villages Open Space.

From here, you can see the Salmon River estuary through the trees. Pass a Forest Service boundary marker, and then drop steeply down the slope to enter an expansive alder-lined meadow. The trail crosses the meadow and rises up a grassy hillside. Drop into woods on the crest, and pass another small field. The path rises and reaches a larger meadow, where it veers to the left. Reach a junction with a trail coming up from the private inholding of Camp Westwind and stay left. The trail from here drops steeply down the edge of a cove: Make sure you don't step too close to the edge here as it severely undercut in places. Then hike up to the top of The Thumb.

Take time here to admire the views north across the mouth of the Salmon River to Cascade Head as well as south to Lincoln City. The Thumb is part of a basalt dike formed during the late Eocene. The small cove below was created when the dike was breached and wave action began to rapidly gouge out the much softer siltstones and claystones of the Nestucca Formation which the dike had been protecting. An even larger cove, formed in the same way, is just north of this one. Various stacks and rocks scattered below you near a secluded beach preview the eventual fate of The Thumb, which will become a isolated sea stack in time.

A trail descends the steep, grassy slope of The Thumb across the meadow below you. Note, however, that once in the spruce forest, you will reach the National Forest boundary and any further progress would be illegal. Instead, return the way you came over The Knoll and via Sal la Sea and Port Drives to the Roads End Trailhead.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Take care: there are steep drop-offs and unstable slopes
  • Restrooms, interpretive signs, and picnic tables at Roads End Trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

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.