In the summer months and late spring the Columbia Gorge gets a lot of love from hikers, so beat the crowds and the heat by detouring to the Oregon Coast instead. Terrific mountain hikes with dizzying views of the rugged seaside, plus a cooling ocean-born wind mean these trails are perfect places to explore.
Neahkahnie Mountain is a popular destination for more serious trekkers. It’s a moderate but steep three-mile climb to the summit, gaining 900 feet of elevation. Brace yourself for some switchbacks that wind up the mountainside through meadows and turn into wooded acreage. The trees part right at the summit, where a beautiful meadow and viewpoint await.
It’s not just the trails that draw travelers to this location, however. Tillamook tribal legend names this mountain the abode of their most powerful god. (The name Neahkahnie comes from their words Ne ("place of") and Ekahnie ("supreme deity"). There’s also a lingering hope of buried treasure, as a Spanish wreck at the base of Neahkahnie Mountain supposedly carried chests of gold. Stories still circulate that this treasure remains buried in the mountainside.
Today, many hike for simply the prize of the mountain's breathtaking, aerial view of the Coast with sandy beaches south to Tillamook Bay. Neahkahnie Mountain is also conveniently located between Short Sand Beach and a walk-in campground at Oswald West State Park.
The trails are open year-round, and there’s no admittance or parking fee.
Directions from Seaside:
- Drive south on Highway 101 for about 20 miles to a brown hiker-symbol sign opposite Sunset Drive.You can spot this between mileposts 41 and 42, and opposite the Neah-Kah-Nie subdivision.
- Turn east on a gravel road, roll down another 0.4 miles and park at a wide spot. The trailhead is marked.