hikes: Southern Oregon Coast – Samuel Boardman Corridor
We spent three nights camping at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon so we could spend time exploring and hiking the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Stretching for twelve miles along the Oregon Coast, the park has some of the most dramatic scenery on the west coast. With many pullouts alongside Highway 101, the corridor includes the Oregon Coast Trail, which runs parallel to the highway and coastline, climbing up and down repeatedly to hidden beaches and scenic viewpoints.
Beginning at the north end of the park, Arch Rock Viewpoint has a short loop trail with views in three directions, including one of the namesake Arch Rock.
THUNDER ROCK COVE
Our next stop was Thunder Rock Cove. A short trail goes to a viewpoint at the end of a point. The views in all directions were my favorite from the entire trip.
Just past Thunder Rock Cove is a pullout for Natural Bridges Viewpoint, with a 1/10 mile trail to a platform view of the natural bridges rocks below.
With several beaches accessible only via hikes along the Oregon Coast Trail, we took the trail to China Beach that begins at the North Island Trail Viewpoint. With multiple trails leading in different directions that are all unsigned, it’s not always easy to find your way on the right trail. However, sometimes a trail post marked for the Oregon Coast Trail will help. At times overgrown with conifers and salal, the trail descends quickly to the beach after following parallel to the highway for a short distance. Once the beach comes into view, follow the faint trail all the way to a rocky area to access the beach.
Indian Sands is a unique section of this corridor, with sculpted sandstone rock and dunes forming the landscape above the coastline. A short but steep trail leads to a section of the Oregon Coast Trail. At the junction, turn right to reach the open sandy area with trails through Indian Sands. Small meadows atop the rock are full of wildflowers in mid-June.
Whaleshead Beach has picnic tables, restrooms and views of many sea stacks, including Whaleshead Island.
LONE RANCH BEACH
Lone Ranch Beach is the last stop in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. A wide, sandy beach is easily accessible from the large parking lot.
Harris Beach in Brookings is not part of the Samuel Board Corridor, but it is definitely worth spending time exploring. The coastline turns inland and faces south, creating several large coves with sea stacks, rocks and sandy beaches.
Harris Beach State Park campground in Brookings, Oregon is quite large, with sections for tents, RVs and a few yurts. It’s very family friendly, with restrooms and hot showers, and an ice cream truck that winds through the campground.