Four Fall Hikes & Craft Beer Stops
Cannon Beach is blessed with some serious scenery. Between the iconic Haystack Rock and countless other sea stacks that dot the beaches, the primordial forests and viewpoints of the Coast Range, and the distant and distinctive Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, the place is teeming with Instagram fodder for hikers - and with cooler temps and fewer folks on the trails, fall is one of the best seasons to enjoy them. But as good as the natural beauty is, the craft beer scene in and around the cozy community is equally top-shelf. As such, the North Coast Craft Beer Trail was created to ensure you don’t miss the best post-hike brews the area has to offer. Culling from the free guide, here are four great fall hikes with recommendations for pub stops after your explorations are finished.
Clatsop Loop Hike
There are a handful of Oregon State Parks that regularly draw visitors from around the globe and Ecola State Park is one of them. This hike exhibits a lot of the reasons for that draw into a tidy 3-mile loop which includes a lighthouse view, proximal tidepool access, and the chance to visit a World War II bunker site. Oh, and also the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Captain William Clark of Corps of Discovery fame, who proclaimed the view from this area as, “the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes have ever surveyed.” That’s pretty high praise from a fella who gazed upon some impressive terrain in his time. Brews and Food: Bill’s Tavern & Brewhouse, the oldest brewery in Cannon Beach, offers excellent pub fare to complement an assortment of their hand-crafted beers.
Circle Creek Conservation Center
Just 10 minutes north of Cannon Beach, the Circle Creek Conservation Center is one of the North Coast Land Conservancy’s largest habitat reserves. The property, which is tucked into a nook on the northeastern corner of Tillamook Head, is home to a pair of nature trail loop hikes totaling just under 3 miles that visit both a Sitka spruce wetland and a recovering floodplain on the west bank of the Necanicum River. It’s a great two-for-one hiking outing that also provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, most notably a herd of elk that calls the area home for much of the year. Brews and food: Public Coast Brewing. Named in honor of the landmark 1967 piece of legislation that made the entire Oregon Coast open to the public, Public Coast Brewing features a full lineup of rotating microbrews and a locally sourced food menu of elevated pub grub.
The hike to the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the premier outings on the entire Oregon Coast. There are two different trailheads, and essentially two different hikes that ascend the mountain from different sides; each ending with the same inspiring view of Manzanita and the Nehalem Bay. Either way you choose to go up, you’ll have climbed about 1,000 feet and hiked between 3 and 5 miles, so plan on replenishing all that caloric expenditure post haste. Brews and Food: You earned a few stops after this one, so consider starting a pint or a glass at Oregon’s first hardware store to serve beer and wine, Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House. Then head to Pelican Brewing Co. The Cannon Beach location of this legendary brewpub is large, wide-open, and all but begging for your presence to enjoy a round or two of post-hike beers alongside an extensive food menu with something for everyone.
Cape Falcon Trail
The capes of the North Coast make for some spectacular hiking. Much of the region’s accessible old-growth is located on the headlands that reach out into the Pacific. The woods are magic, and on a clear day, the views can’t be beat. Cape Falcon is no exception, the 4.8-mile out and back sports inspiring views of the ocean and Neahkahnie Mountain waiting at the end. However, cape hiking can be windy and or muddy, so dress accordingly. Brews and Food: Warren House Pub provides a great tap selection including brews from downtown Cannon Beach’s Bill’s Tavern & Brewhouse and a food menu that features seafood, steaks, and all the pub delights you could hope for.
More reasons to plan a fall hiking trip: Watch local menus during the fall season and you'll be rewarded with a fresh bounty ranging from wild-caught salmon to locally foraged mushrooms. If you are as inspired by art as you are by the great outdoors, find out why Cannon Beach is known as one of the best art towns in the Northwest by planning your hiking trip to coincide with the Stormy Weather Arts Festival, where you can also soak in three days of arts and music events in one of the world's most beautiful destinations.
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