Greg and I spent the holiday weekend at the coast and after hiking Neahkahnie Mountain on Saturday we decided to hike out to Cape Falcon on Sunday.
From the trailhead we ducked under Highway 101 beside Short Sand Creek:
Then we followed a nice wide gravel path down towards the beach.
There are some incredible nurse logs/stumps here:
After half a mile we reached Short Sand Beach at Smuggler's Cove. At this early hour (9:45am) there was hardly anyone around, mostly just a few surfers.
There's a cool waterfall at the far end of the beach:
We continued on the trail, which winds its way up and around and out to Cape Falcon. Shortly after leaving the beach we started encountering mud. SO. MUCH. MUD.
There were mud-free stretches...
But otherwise we spent a lot of time navigating stuff like this:
We reached the end of Cape Falcon and sat down to enjoy the view. It wasn't very windy and it was actually surprisingly warm, ranging between 65 and 70! I was only in short sleeves at one point! Although we'd had totally clear skies at Short Sand Beach earlier, the clouds had rolled in fast. We had a few brief moments of sunshine when I took this photo of Neahkahnie Mountain:
But after that it was cloudy:
I believe this is Rock Mountain. Ugh, what an eyesore.
My brand new boots were christened by the mud:
At one point a bald eagle went soaring by. I only got one poorly-lit shot as it sailed by, but that's ok. It was a VERY cool moment.
We also saw a coast guard helicopter go by. I don't know if it was related to the rescue at Hug Point north of us; the timing didn't seem right. The news reported that the guy called for help at 11:50 and we saw the helicopter cruising south at 12:15.
After enjoying the view for awhile we headed back. The trail passes high above Short Sand Beach, but there is a boot path that heads down there. We followed the boot path to find a geocache, then decided to keep descending down to the beach, rather than scramble back up to the trail and navigate Mud Alley. Here is a view from the boot path looking out over the beach:
And then, well, it wasn't fun. We had a heck of a time navigating the final 30 feet down to the beach. I didn't take any pictures, but here is a photo from earlier in the day at high tide. We were off to the right of that waterfall, and the dirt hillside gives way to a sloping rock wall down to the sand:
The rock wall was steep and wet and we had a hard time finding a safe place to descend. We ended up sliding down on our butts. I DO NOT recommend this route. We walked to the far end of the beach where the trail was
Then we sat on a log and enjoyed people-watching, dog-watching, and wave-watching. It's a nice little beach down there, protected from the wind.
Back at our hotel in Manzanita that afternoon it was so incredibly cloudy at sunset that I didn't bother going down to the beach at sunset. I couldn't see any color and it seemed like it was going to be a bust. Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window 20 minutes later and saw a smear of pink on the horizon. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the beach and post-sunset display was going on. Neato!
Considering that just a few days later the coast was experiencing stormy weather and huge waves, I feel lucky that we had such awesome gorgeous weather while we were there.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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Nice photos. Sure is some great old growth along that trail as well as above Cape Falcon. I, too, have done that descent directly to Short Sand Beach to avoid the atrocious mud during the wet season and experienced a sketchy downclimb directly above the beach. The mud's bad enough that the bypass was worth it, nonetheless. I don't want to go to Cape Falcon from Short Sand most of the year because of this reality. However, I found that October is the best month to go because September-October is the best time of the year on the coast and the dry season tends to go all the way until mid-October.