hiking Boardman Park, Oregon

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Astonishingly, Oregon has kept it’s coastline mostly undeveloped.

… 1967’s Oregon Beach Bill allows free beach access to everyone. This Bill allows private beach landowners to retain certain beach land rights, but it removes the property tax obligation of the beach landowner. In exchange, the beach landowner grants an easement passage to pedestrians. …


But where’s the best place to hike that pristine coast?

hiking Boardman State Park, Oregon

For some reason the authors of Lonely Planet HIking USA directed me to Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, close to the California border:

Dramatic sea-stacks, arches and offshore islands seen on this short, down-and-back day hike … are one of Oregon’s best kept secrets …

5.4mi (8.87km)

I drove to the Arch Rock trailhead, locking up my mountain bike to a railing. …

larger map (PDF)

… Then drove to the Natural Bridges trailhead to start the hike.

It is gorgeous. Here are a couple of the many “natural bridges”.

Natural Bridges Cove - Boardman State Park, Oregon

hiking Boardman State Park, Oregon

This “hike” is a series of steeply dropping trails that then backtrack up to the highway. You might drop down to see a secluded beach …

hiking Boardman State Park, Oregon

… or a minor waterfall.

waterfall - Boardman State Park, Oregon

The lush vegetation I liked.

hiking Boardman State Park, Oregon

But the trail itself sometimes returns all the way to paved highway! Dislike.

hiking Boardman State Park, Oregon

I’d not call this a best hike. For once Lonely Planet gets it wrong.

The strategy for Boardman is to drive (or cycle) to each trailhead in series. Then hike down and back each.

I’m still looking for the best long section of the mythical Oregon Coast Trail. Leave a comment if you have advice.

7 Replies to “hiking Boardman Park, Oregon”

  1. On Hwy 101 near Brookings, Oregon are three of the most astonishingly beautiful sea-scapes on the entire pristine Oregon Coast. About two miles north of the town, in Boardman State Park, is a pull-off
    called Natural Bridges Viewpoint. This is a must-see-and-photograph. It requires a two-minute hike
    down a trail to a wooden platform. About a quarter-mile further up 101 is Thunder Rock Cove. This
    rewards the twenty-minute round-trip hiker with two precipitous views of Thunder Rock (including the
    arch), as well as a superb view of Secret Beach. Just north again is the five-minute loop trail at Arch
    Rock. This is also is a must-see-to-believe experience. Having just returned from the Coast, I fully
    concur with the comment by Rick McCharles above regarding “the strategy for Boardman”.
    These viewpoints are mandatory!
    St. Even (775) 297-2232

  2. I urge all who love the awesome Oregon Coast to schedule seven days by car to avail themselves of
    the many superb pull-offs, short strolls and minor detours in order to fully enjoy and appreciate this
    national legacy.
    St. Even Palmer (775) 297-2232

  3. There are several groups in the area who are working to connect various portions of the Oregon Coast Trail with each other, so that it doesn’t constantly return to Hwy 101.

    Some areas are too remote & rugged, but it is improving. For now, it’s many day hikes with some drives between them.

  4. Thanks so much for helping out in my search for where to hike Boardman. One pointer if you come back tho is that the rambles further south don’t surface at highway much. Indian Sands knocked my socks off.

  5. The entire length of this park is connected with trails. You can hike from just north of Brookings oregon about 18 miles of coastline. The entire trail system is beautiful. There are also little trails that can take you directly down to some sites and back but most of that is not part of the trail system.

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