The view from the top of the Cascade Head hike is one of the most spectacular along the Oregon Coast. That, paired with the diversity of plant and animal life here, makes this hike an absolute must for Portland hikers.
The view from the peak of the Cascade Head hike is one of the most spectacular along the Oregon Coast. That, paired with the diversity of plant and animal life here, including an endangered species of butterfly as well as several rare plants, makes this hike an absolute must for Portland hikers. Before you enter the meadows of Cascade Head, there is an informational sign that states this area was saved by the Nature Conservancy in the 1960s and you are about to find out why.
What Makes It Great
The Cascade Head hike really has everything you would ever want out of a coastal hike. You walk through old growth coastal forest and thick undergrowth sometimes filled with rare flowers, there is a chance you’ll see some coastal wildlife, and you’ll get some of the best views of the coast you can find.
From the trailhead parking lot, you walk down an ordinary path to cross the road heading north on the side of Savage Road. You will dip into the woods and parallel the road for a short time until you exit the woods on a trail cut into a grassy hill and continue down the hill on the road. At the bottom of the hill to the right, there is an old trailhead sign that marks where you will leave the road for good and start the actual hike. The climb through the beautiful old growth coastal forest is fairly steep for about .2 miles until it levels out onto a grove.
After crossing a couple of bridges, you will get to some thick undergrowth before you begin climbing again. After passing the informational sign, you will head into a meadow and immediately catch picture-worthy views of the coastline. You continue along this path for a while until it levels out and you get a great view of the cliff sides and the Pacific below, along with the already incredible view you have been taking in along the way. To get to the upper viewpoint, you traverse up several steep switchbacks until the trail levels out, leaving you with one of the most beautiful views you can find in this area. From here, the easiest way back down is the way you came.
Who is Going to Love It
This hike can be very steep at some points, so it is only recommended for intermediate or experienced hikers. Make sure you catch the views on a clear day to really be able to see it all. The coast is notorious for completely socking in these highpoints with thick clouds. If that does happen, head down to one of the close by beaches. There is something dreary and magical about the coast on a foggy, rainy day.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the Cascade Head Lower Trailhead from Portland, take I-5 S toward Salem to exit 289 for Tualatin/Sherwood. Turn right onto SW Nyberg Street then take a slight left onto SW Tualatin Sherwood Road. Turn left on OR-99W S, taking that for about 15 miles then turn left on OR-18W/OR-233S. Just before Lincoln City, take US 101 north for about a mile to Three Rocks Road. Turn left here and drive for about two miles until you get to Knights Park. The parking area will be on the left.