Oswald West State Park Activity Guides:
Oswald West State Park Trails:
Oswald West State Park
Oswald West State Park Overview
Named for the governor who began the successful quest to preserve Oregon’s coastline for public use, Oswald West is a gem of a park located about ten miles south of the crowds at Cannon Beach. A variety of trails wind through peaceful, mature forest to a picturesque cove nestled among mountains that keep beachfront winds at bay. There are no entrance fees at Oswald West; just pick up a park map at the main day-use parking lot (the middle of three lots in the park) on the east side of Highway 101.
Hiking and Backpacking
Park rangers lead guided hikes and tide-pool exploration walks that vary in difficulty. But to get an immediate ocean fix on your own, Short Sands Beach is an easy quarter-mile walk from the main parking area along U.S. 101. Other trails take hikers to the Oregon Coast Trail, where you can get a raptor’s-eye view from Cape Falcon Overlook (an easy five-miler; park at the north parking lot off Highway 101), or along the curving path of Short Sand Creek as it twists and turns and ultimately surrenders to the Pacific. For a more challenging trek, try the 5.5-mile Neahkahnie Mountain Loop Hike, which follows the Oregon Trail and travels over the 1,697-foot-tall mountain. Finally, from the north end of the park, bag a vista-packed six-miler from Cape Falcon to Arch Cape by hiking the well-named Cape Falcon Trail to the Arch Cape Trail.
Backpackers will be pleased to follow the 382-mile Oregon Coast Trail, which passes through the park, to other beautiful Oregon locales. The south parking lot for the now-closed campground (see "Camping" below) features a hike over a suspension bridge to access the Oregon Coast Trail.
Oswald West and the surrounding coastal area is a wildly popular surfing, bodysurfing, and boogie-boarding destination. Park at the main day-use parking lot to access Short Sands Beach. Water in summer can be colder than in winter; check marine forecast sites for temps and wave heights before your trip. Tidal tables are handy as well.
In 2008, a mature Sitka spruce fell without warning in the park campground (no one was injured), prompting officials to close the campground. It remains closed. Camp nearby at Nehalem Bay, Fort Stevens, and Cape Lookout state parks and return to explore the trails and beach at Oswald West.
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