Clatsop Loop Trail, Ecola State Park
Before I moved away from Oregon, I wanted to go on as many Pacific Northwest-specific hikes as possible. This included going out to the Gorge and hiking along the Columbia River, and a trip to the Coast to try a new hike I had never tried before: Clatsop Loop Trail in Ecola State Park.
The Ecola area is one that I’m drawn to. It’s one of my favorite areas to visit along the Coast (that’s a relatively easy day trip from Portland), and there’s a small town vibe to it that this small-town-girl-gone-city likes and appreciates. The air is full of the ocean’s moisture, the trees are furry with mossy sweaters, and the ground is so soggy you just expect muddy shoes when you’re done hiking.
This particular trail, located on the south side of Tillamook Head, is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Oregon Coast Trail. I really like that their journals were full of documented stories detailing their adventures here; it’s comforting to know that the trails you’re walking were once walked by men and women that helped shape our country’s history.
Along this route, there’s an option to break off the main trail and head towards the ruins of an old World War II radar station; this jaunt ends with a clear view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. I didn’t realize that there were bunkers like this along the Pacific Coast from WWII, so this was a bit of a surprise when I read the trail brochure and saw that there was an option to see one of these while hiking.
As an added bonus, I also saw a huge banana slug! How cool is that? I walked right by this guy en route to check out the bunkers, and nearly made me jump a foot when my shoulder brushed past him. This slug was about 6 inches long!
The trailhead is adjacent to a pretty popular beach for surfers. One thing about surfing in Oregon? Even in August, you’ll need full body wetsuits to stay (relatively) warm.
Image credits: Jet Set With Mary