Exploring The Many Trails Near Manzanita

Rain or shine, exploring this awe-inspiring, forest-filled coast by foot is an absolute favorite among Manzanita locals and tourists alike. With so many gorgeous state parks nearby, you’ll have plenty of trails to choose from. 

Set on the southern border of Manzanita is Nehalem Bay State Park. Head down to the beach and take the 5.2-mile loop on the picturesque sandy shores of the beach.

Oswald West State Park is north of Manzanita and with almost 2,500 acres of lush forest, you could easily hit a different trail a day and still have untouched trails for your next trip. Take a mile-long trail down to Short Sands Beach for a quick jaunt to a beautiful sandy cove, or follow the well-marked trail to the top of Cape Falcon for some gorgeous views of the waves crashing below.

One of the most famous hikes near Manzanita is Neahkahnie Mountain, which literally translates to “place of supreme deity”, and definitely lives up to its name. The ocean views from the peak are breathtaking on clear days. But don’t take this hike lightly—the view doesn’t come without a fight! With 5.1 miles one way and 1,000 feet elevation gain, the panorama will be well-earned.

If you don’t want to take such a strenuous hike but still see what the fuss of Neahkahnie Mountain is about, no worries! Take the moderate loop to the summit viewpoint that is only three miles roundtrip. Or if you want to skip major elevation changes altogether, try out the coast trail, which takes you past Devils Cauldron, Smugglers Cove, and Cape Falcon with enchanting ocean views the whole way.

Locals know the best time to hike is May to October. Bring some good hiking boots—or tennis shoes you don’t mind getting muddy—since you will likely still hit wet patches. But this is the best time to wager nicer weather to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

Courtesy of Paige Kenyon, Vacasa Rentals

Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.