Ecola State Park
No visit to Cannon Beach would be complete without visiting Ecola State Park, perched dramatically on the edge of Tillamook Head. Ecola Park Road in the north end of Cannon Beach winds through old growth rainforest before emerging at one of the Oregon Coast’s most famous views, overlooking numerous rock formations and the capes and headlands miles to the south. Paved walking trails provide vantage points for panoramic views including the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse lying just offshore on a lone rock in the Pacific. A short drive to the other side of the park leads to picturesque Indian Beach, a popular location for surfers. Ecola State Park offers several miles of hiking trails, picnic areas and great vantage points for bird and whale watchers. Look for herds of Roosevelt Elk grazing in meadows and Bald Eagles flying overhead.
Ecola State Park is a hiking and sightseeing mecca with a historic past. The park’s two main attractions are Ecola Point and Indian Beach. Each has viewpoints and picnic tables that take advantage of incredible scenery. Ecola Point’s trails lead to views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, rocky shores and ocean expanses. The park’s hiking trails offer clifftop viewpoints that look out on picturesque seascapes, cozy coves and the rainforest-covered cape.
Hiking & History:
The park’s backbone is an eight-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), also designated as part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. From the Ecola Point parking lot, visitors can either follow the OCT south on a 1.25-mile steep descent to Crescent Beach, or head north 1.5 miles to Indian Beach. From here, the trail continues north over Tillamook Head for an additional six miles. Indian Beach also connects to the 2.5-mile Clatsop Loop Trail. The Clatsop Loop Trail begins at the information kiosk in the Indian Beach parking area, ascends to Hikers’ Camp, and loops back to the parking lot via the OCT, passing breathtaking views of the coastline. Don’t miss the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse viewpoint via a short spur trail from OCT Hikers’ Camp. Clatsop Loop traces the route used by an expedition party from Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery led by Captain William Clark who visited the area of present day Cannon Beach in 1806 in search of a beached whale that the local Native Americans had informed them of. Ecola State Park is part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park, which includes federal and state parks associated with the history of the Corps of Discovery expedition in both Oregon and Washington.
Getting to Ecola Point and Indian Beach:
Enter the park from the north end of Cannon Beach. From 5th Street, head north on Ecola Park Road for 1.5 miles to the fee station. At the fee station, turn left to drop down into the Ecola Point parking lot or venture right and drive two miles to Indian Beach. A $5 day-use permit is required to park in Ecola and permits may be purchased at the fee station at the park's entrance. Alternately, you may also display an annual Oregon State Parks permit or Oregon Pacific Coast Passport, which can be purchased from all major state park offices. Parking at Ecola Point and Indian Beach is limited and long lines form during the busy season from June to September. Please note that the road is narrow with no place to turn around, making it unsuitable for RVs and trailers. Overnight parking is prohibited within Ecola State Park.