It’s less of the remains of a ghost town, and more what’s left of a dune town…historic Bayocean Spit.
Today it’s an island that’s an eclectic mix of trees, sand, and understory located close to Tillamook Bay. But back in the 1900s it was a town that hoped to be the “Atlantic City of the West.” Yet Mother Nature had her own plans, and over the next 60 years the spit washed out, buildings collapsed, and people left. Now it’s a lovely stretch of seaside wilderness with little remaining of the former town.
For all its constantly shifting geography, the Bayocean Spit has a beauty that brings locals and visitors alike to wander its sandy earth. To enjoy this stretch of land thoroughly, opt for the 7.8-mile loop that allows hikers to circumnavigate the island. There are also shorter marked trails if you prefer a briefer island stroll.
The trailhead is at the Bayocean Spit parking lot, and leads down a gravel road. Enjoy the view across the bay of Tillamook and Garibaldi, before the path becomes shaded by trees. There’s a slight incline, but overall it’s an easy trek. Say hello to the lush island foliage, including Scots broom, evergreen huckleberry, and wax-myrtle. The ocean winds are harsh on trees, but stubborn (and stunted) spruce and shore pines dot the grassy hillsides.
The trail leads hikers across the spit, before reaching the jetty and hitting the beach. From here the trail unfolds along the beach, with great views of Cape Meares off in the distance. From there, you will enjoy a wide-open walk down the beach. It’s often an uncrowded and peaceful hike, except for a few locals.