Tillamook Head Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Tillamook Head Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://tillamookcountywatertrail.org/

The Tillamook Head Trail, located in Oregon, holds a significant historical background that dates back centuries. The trail was originally used by Native American tribes, particularly the Clatsop and Tillamook tribes, who inhabited the region for thousands of years. These tribes relied on the trail to access the abundant resources of the coastal area, including fish, game, and various plant species.

During the early 19th century, the Tillamook Head Trail gained prominence as a vital part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In 1806, the famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with their Corps of Discovery, traversed the trail on their return journey from the Pacific Ocean. The expedition party faced numerous challenges while navigating the rugged terrain, dense forests, and steep cliffs of Tillamook Head. However, their successful passage through the trail marked a significant milestone in the exploration of the American West.

In the late 19th century, the Tillamook Head Trail became an integral part of the Oregon Coast Trail system. This system was developed to facilitate transportation and trade along the coast, connecting various settlements and communities. The trail played a crucial role in the economic development of the region, allowing for the transportation of goods, supplies, and mail between coastal towns. Over time, the trail was improved and expanded to accommodate the growing needs of the communities it served.

Today, the Tillamook Head Trail stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can experience the same awe-inspiring landscapes and challenges that the Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, and countless others encountered throughout history. The trail serves as a reminder of the resilience and determination of those who came before, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Indian Beach Trailhead: This is the starting point of the Tillamook Head Trail. It is located at Ecola State Park and offers parking facilities.

2. Ecola Point Trailhead: This access point is located within Ecola State Park and provides an alternative starting point for the Tillamook Head Trail.

3. Seaside Trailhead: This access point is located in Seaside, Oregon, and offers parking facilities for hikers starting the Tillamook Head Trail from the south.

4. Cannon Beach Trailhead: Another access point for the Tillamook Head Trail, located in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It provides parking facilities for hikers starting from the north.

5. Elk Flats Trailhead: This access point is located along Highway 101 and offers parking facilities for hikers looking to join the Tillamook Head Trail from a different starting point.

6. Tillamook Head Interpretive Trailhead: Located near the Tillamook Head Lighthouse, this trailhead provides access to the Tillamook Head Trail and offers parking facilities.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Tillamook Head Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Tillamook County Transportation District – Public bus service covering the Tillamook area.
2. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service available in the Tillamook Head Trail vicinity.
3. Lyft – Another on-demand ridesharing service operating in the Tillamook Head Trail area.
4. Yellow Cab – Local taxi service providing transportation in and around Tillamook Head Trail.
5. Tillamook Air Museum – Offers scenic helicopter tours near the Tillamook Head Trail.
6. Tillamook Headlight Herald – Local newspaper with classified ads for transportation services in the Tillamook area.
7. Tillamook County Airport – Regional airport providing flights to and from Tillamook Head Trail.
8. Tillamook Bay Community College – Offers driver education courses for obtaining a driver’s license in the Tillamook area.


The amenities available at the Tillamook Head Trail in Oregon include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby visitor centers.

2. Parking: There is parking available at the trailhead or designated parking areas nearby.

3. Camping Sites: There are no camping sites directly on the Tillamook Head Trail, but there are nearby campgrounds such as Nehalem Bay State Park or Oswald West State Park where camping is available.

4. Picnic Areas: There are no designated picnic areas along the trail, but visitors can find scenic spots with benches or open spaces suitable for picnicking.

5. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, there are interpretive signs providing information about the natural and cultural history of the area.

6. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks where hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding landscape.

7. Wildlife Viewing: The trail provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, including birds, marine mammals, and forest animals.

8. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and markers to guide hikers along the designated route.

9. Benches: There are benches placed at various points along the trail, allowing hikers to rest and take in the views.

10. Information Boards: At the trailhead or visitor centers, there may be information boards providing details about the trail, safety guidelines, and any current updates or closures.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information before visiting the Tillamook Head Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Ecola State Park Campground – Campground located near the trailhead, offering basic amenities and beautiful views.
2. Cannon Beach Hotel – Charming historic hotel in Cannon Beach, a short drive from the trail, with cozy rooms and a restaurant.
3. Stephanie Inn – Upscale oceanfront hotel in Cannon Beach, providing luxurious accommodations and fine dining options.
4. Surfsand Resort – Beachfront resort in Cannon Beach, offering comfortable rooms, a spa, and a restaurant.
5. Pelican Brewing Company – Brewery and pub in Cannon Beach, serving craft beers and delicious food.
6. Tillamook Headlight Herald – Local newspaper in Tillamook, providing news and emergency updates for the area.
7. Tillamook County General Hospital – Full-service hospital in Tillamook, offering emergency medical care.
8. Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office – Law enforcement agency in Tillamook, providing emergency services and assistance.
9. Tillamook Fire District – Fire department in Tillamook, responsible for emergency fire response and rescue services.
10. Tillamook County Emergency Management – Government agency in Tillamook, coordinating emergency preparedness and response efforts.

Tillamook Head Trail Difficulty Notes

The Tillamook Head Trail offers a moderate to challenging difficulty level for hikers. The trail spans approximately 6.5 miles and features a variety of terrains, including steep inclines, rocky sections, and uneven surfaces. Hikers will encounter several switchbacks and elevation changes throughout the trail, making it physically demanding. Additionally, the trail can be muddy and slippery, especially during wet weather conditions. However, the stunning coastal views and lush forest scenery make the challenging aspects of the trail well worth the effort for those seeking a rewarding hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

The Tillamook Head Trail is a scenic hiking trail located in Oregon, USA. Along the trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Tillamook Head Trail:

1. Ecola State Park: The trail starts at Ecola State Park, which offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rocky cliffs, and lush forests.

2. Indian Beach: This beautiful sandy beach is located within Ecola State Park and provides a great spot for picnicking, beachcombing, and enjoying the ocean views.

3. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse: Also known as “Terrible Tilly,” this historic lighthouse is perched on a rocky island just off the coast. It is visible from the trail and adds to the scenic beauty.

4. Hiker’s Camp: Along the trail, there is a designated campsite called Hiker’s Camp. It offers a rustic camping experience amidst the coastal forest.

5. Wildlife Spotting: The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, providing opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer, elk, various bird species, and maybe even a glimpse of a whale in the ocean.

6. Secluded Beaches: As you hike along the trail, you may come across hidden and secluded beaches that offer a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

7. Old Growth Forest: The trail winds through sections of old-growth forest, where you can marvel at towering trees, moss-covered branches, and a lush green canopy.

8. Historical Significance: The Tillamook Head Trail has historical significance as it was once used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. Interpretive signs along the trail provide information about their journey.

9. Cape Falcon: Towards the end of the trail, you’ll reach Cape Falcon, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline, cliffs, and the vast Pacific Ocean.

10. Flora and Fauna: The trail is home to a variety of plant species, including wildflowers, ferns, and unique coastal vegetation. Keep an eye out for interesting flora and fauna as you hike.

These are just a few highlights along the Tillamook Head Trail. Exploring this trail will provide you with a memorable experience of Oregon’s coastal beauty, history, and natural wonders.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Tillamook Head Trail.
2. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed during extreme weather conditions or for maintenance.
3. Camping is not permitted along the trail.
4. Visitors are required to stay on designated trails and not venture off into restricted areas.
5. Littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors must carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
6. Open fires are not allowed on the trail. Only designated fire pits or camping stoves may be used in designated camping areas.
7. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the Tillamook Head Trail.
8. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
9. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles, including minimizing impact on the environment and wildlife.
10. Overnight stays or extended camping on the trail are not permitted.

Seasonal Information

The Tillamook Head Trail, located on the beautiful Oregon coast, offers breathtaking views and a unique hiking experience. When planning your visit, it’s important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy this trail and be aware of any seasonal closures.

One of the best times to visit the Tillamook Head Trail is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (around 18-23 degrees Celsius). This time of year allows hikers to enjoy the trail without worrying about rain or chilly temperatures. The summer months also offer longer daylight hours, providing ample time to explore the trail and take in the stunning coastal scenery.

Another great time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. From April to May and September to October, the weather is still pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (around 12-17 degrees Celsius). These seasons offer a quieter and more peaceful experience on the trail, as there are fewer crowds compared to the summer months.

It’s important to note that the Tillamook Head Trail may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions or maintenance. During the winter months, from November to March, the trail can be subject to heavy rain, strong winds, and occasional snowfall. These conditions may lead to temporary closures for safety reasons. It’s always recommended to check with local authorities or the park service before planning your visit to ensure the trail is open and accessible.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Tillamook Head Trail are during the summer months for optimal weather and longer daylight hours. However, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall also offer pleasant conditions and a quieter experience. Just be sure to check for any seasonal closures, particularly during the winter months, to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking adventure.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Tillamook Head Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep and rugged terrain.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, such as accessible parking, restrooms, or signage, as it is a natural and undeveloped trail.
3. Trail Difficulty: The trail is considered moderately difficult, with steep inclines, uneven surfaces, and narrow sections, making it challenging for individuals with mobility impairments.
4. Alternative Access: Visitors with mobility limitations can explore the trail’s lower sections, which offer scenic views and a less strenuous experience.
5. Nearby Accessible Trails: For wheelchair accessibility, visitors can explore nearby accessible trails like the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint Trail or the Bayocean Spit Trail.
6. Accessibility Resources: Visitors seeking accessible outdoor experiences can contact the Tillamook Coast Visitors Association or local disability organizations for information on accessible trails and attractions in the area.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Tillamook Head Trail is a moderately difficult 6.2-mile hike with steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper physical fitness and hiking experience.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including rain, fog, and strong winds, as the trail is located along the Oregon coast.
3. Trailhead Access: The trail can be accessed from either Seaside or Indian Beach, with parking available at both locations.
4. Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers, but it is recommended to carry a map or use a GPS device for navigation.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Keep a safe distance from wildlife, including elk and deer, and do not approach or feed them.
6. Poison Oak: Be aware of poison oak along the trail and avoid contact with the plant to prevent skin irritation.
7. Slippery Conditions: The trail can become muddy and slippery, especially during rainy periods, so wear appropriate footwear with good traction.
8. Cliff Edges: Exercise caution near cliff edges, as some sections of the trail offer scenic views but lack protective barriers.
9. Stream Crossings: Be prepared for stream crossings, especially during wet seasons, and use caution when crossing to avoid slipping on rocks.
10. Daylight Hours: Plan your hike to ensure you have enough daylight to complete the trail, as parts of the trail can be challenging in low light conditions.
11. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety, especially in remote areas of the trail.
12. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting the natural environment.
13. Emergency Preparedness: Carry essential items such as a first aid kit, extra water, snacks, a flashlight, and a fully charged cell phone in case of emergencies.
14. Trail Closure: Check for any trail closures or restrictions before starting your hike, as maintenance or adverse conditions may temporarily close sections of the trail.

Conservation Notes

The Tillamook Head Trail, located in Oregon, is a significant natural resource that requires conservation efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability. The trail traverses through diverse ecosystems, including old-growth forests, coastal cliffs, and pristine beaches, making it a valuable habitat for numerous plant and animal species. The conservation status of the Tillamook Head Trail is crucial to protect these ecosystems and maintain their ecological integrity.

Efforts to conserve the Tillamook Head Trail primarily focus on preserving the biodiversity of the area. The trail is home to a variety of plant species, including rare and endemic ones, which are vulnerable to habitat destruction and invasive species. Conservation initiatives aim to prevent the encroachment of non-native plants and promote the restoration of native vegetation. By maintaining the natural balance of the ecosystem, these efforts help sustain the trail’s unique flora and ensure the survival of plant species that rely on this habitat.

Furthermore, the Tillamook Head Trail supports a diverse range of wildlife, including several threatened and endangered species. Conservation measures are implemented to protect these animals and their habitats from human disturbances and other threats. Preservation of the trail’s coastal cliffs is particularly important for nesting seabirds, such as the endangered Marbled Murrelet. By minimizing disturbances and managing human activities, conservation efforts aim to provide a safe and undisturbed environment for these vulnerable species to thrive.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Tillamook Head Trail is of utmost importance to safeguard its diverse ecosystems and the species that depend on them. By implementing measures to protect the trail’s flora and fauna, conservation initiatives aim to maintain the ecological integrity of this natural resource for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

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