If you want a varied coastal hike, try Cape Falcon, a trail that involves both forest and beach hiking. The trail is about two hours from Portland at Oswald West State Park.
Most people flock to beautiful Short Sand Beach, but you’ll start instead at the northern most parking lot in the park. The marked trailhead leads travelers through groves of Sitka spruce, over creeks, and along ocean-damp mossy rocks. There’s a little elevation gain, but nothing too arduous.
If you’re a brave winter hiker, make sure to check out Blumenthal Falls, which spill over several tiers before reaching Short Sand Beach. In the summer months the water levels drop, and it’s best to skip the side trip. It’s an unmarked side trail, but is usually worn down enough by determined hikers that you’ll be able to find your way.
Close to the top, the main trail will split. Don’t be deterred by the overgrown salal shrubs here (park workers ought to have cleared a walkable path). Both trails lead to exposed bluffs that drop down to a view of the shimmering ocean. Enjoy the view here of the Oregon Coast from Cannon Beach to the Three Capes area – it’s an unusual vista to win for such a relaxed hike.
Directions from Portland:
Follow U.S. 26 West and merge onto U.S. 101 South. Continue on U.S. 101 for 13.4 miles and park at Oswald West State Park.
This park is completely free, with no parking fees associated with it.