Hike Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park

Cape Falcon Trailhead, Arch Cape, Oregon, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles

Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

The trail is easy enough that you can bring your dog. Get amazing coastal forrest and beach views. Duration: A few hours

Cape Falcon is one of two major hikes within Oswald West State Park, fifteen minutes south of Canon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Park in the lot at the trailhead off Highway 101 and head in. After a half a mile or so you’ll come to a junction with options for “The Beach” or “Cape Falcon”. Go right toward Cape Falcon and follow the trail which weaves through a beautiful coastal forest with some amazing old growth spruce trees. Don’t forget to look up

The trail occasionally opens up to the left towards Smuggler Cove providing views of Neahkahnie Mountain and Short Sands Beach. You will also pass Blumenthal Falls below as it trickles down toward the Pacific. After a bit the trail opens up and comes to a fork. Go left and follow along to the end of Cape Falcon.

Between Short Sands beach, the massive spruce trees along the trail, and the end of the cape itself, this spot has a lot of punch. Head out early and stake a spot on Short Sands: bring your surfboard along, climb around on rocks around the tide pools, and soak in the sun (assuming you get lucky). When it’s all said and done, get on the trail and get a unique perspective on the area you’ve been calling home all day. Let the wind wake you up as you watch waves crash into the rocks below. If you start the hike in the late afternoon, you not only maximize beach time, but the trail will quiet down a lot and you might get lucky and have the place to yourself (we did!). Not only that, but when timed just right, you can watch the sunset from the end.

Once you’ve had your share, head back down the trail until the last fork you encountered, and head off the other way. This isn’t officially part of the Cape Falcon trail, but instead just part of the Oregon Coast Trail. This trail will take you a ways, and there is a great 15 mile plus hike all the way to Arch Cape that is very worthwhile and can even be a backpacking trip. However even if you aren’t looking to go that far, venture a half mile or so along the trail until you reach some stunning views of another cove below. Hang out here for a bit, venture on, or snap some shots and head back. Either way, it is a worthwhile excursion.

Keep in mind, the parking lot has signs for closing at 10PM so if you go watch the sunset in the summer, be wary of that. The woods get fairly dense even though you’re fairly close to the water for most of it, so bring a headlamp if you plan to come back after sunset.

Also important to note, that like many beaches along the Oregon Coast, high tide eliminates most of the beach along Short Sands, so time your beach visit around the tides.

It’s a great hike for dogs and kids, but there are some pretty steep cliffs at the end of the cape to be wary of.

When I'm finished, I always like to grab a brew from Bill's Tavern in Canon Beach after a long day of adventuring in this area, but there are tons of great seafood places in the town too. If you stay until 10PM on a Sunday night like we did, I think Dairy Queen in Seaside is probably your only option.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Daypack
  • Headlamp
  • Surfboard
  • Wetsuit
  • Towel
  • Snacks and a lunch
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Overall rating: 

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This hike is breathtaking! Bring old hiking shoes with great traction because it is extra muddy. Intermediate level hike bc of distance(5 miles round trip), slippery terrain, drop offs and small trails. Definitely need to check out this hike if your near seaside! There's a little trail on the left right before you get to the end. It takes you down closer to the water. You'll get great pics !

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

There's a secret passage slightly up the parking lot of Cape Falcon. I pulled up and looked down, found a couple of stairs that led to the edge of the cliff, right above the ocean. It was an amazing view and relaxing place. I'm not sure if anyone else has been to this spot, but you can see Cape Falcon and Manzanita beach from here. It's a hidden gem.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I am normally a more of an exercise driven hiker but this hike was 100% worth it for the views alone. On a sunny day the beach views are as nice as any place in the world. As far as the physical hike is concerned, it is relatively flat and not very demanding. The biggest challenge was the fact that in spring the train is very overgrown and at times it was even difficult to squeeze between the bushes. However, if you don't mind navigating tight trails, this hike is an easy and enjoyable day hike. Note: this is not a circuit and you will either have to hike back the way you came, walk on the road back to the trailhead, or find someone to pick you up at the end of your hike.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This hike beings in dense forest and moves out to some viewpoints with an excellent panorama view of the ocean and coastline. It's relatively flat, and a pretty gentle hike overall. Great for a lazy hike on a sunny day.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Seth Whelden

Director of Photography.


 Born on the small island of Nantucket 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, it was always easy for me to appreciate the beauty of this world. Moving to Portland 7 years ago has only enhanced my desire to capture the stunning scenery around me, and driven me to go further in search of the perfect shot.


 By day I'm a freelance director of photography working out of Portland as my home base. I also co-own a stock footage company (The Stacks) with my wife Kelly.


 My mission is to bring my passion for light, color, tone, depth and framing to the brands that define Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.


 Visit my website: sethwhelden.com

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