Oregon and Okanagan Road Trip 2014 – Days 6 and 7: Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach

This was our final full day in Oregon and we had once place left we wanted to visit – Cannon Beach.

We had a little breakfast in camp and then headed into Manzanita to visit the Bread and Ocean Bakery. We each had a delicious cinnamon bun and then parted ways with our traveling companions who were headed back home.

From Manzanita we went to Hug Point, which has a gorgeous beach just meters from the parking lot. It was fairly quiet, although families were already starting to set up along the beach.

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The beach at Hug Point

After a quick dog walk on the beach we got back on the road to Cannon Beach. The plan had been to visit Ecola State Park and then have lunch in Cannon Beach but the volume of people already in Cannon Beach made us reconsider. Both of us were sure we wouldn’t enjoy a visit with that much traffic! Still, we wanted to see the park, even if we couldn’t handle the crowds in town.

Ecola State Park is just north of Cannon Beach and entry is free if you’ve got a campground pass. We wanted to hike to the lookout on Tillamook Head, so we drove in and parked at Indian Beach. They have a huge parking lot, so obviously it is a popular spot, but around noon it was less than half full.

We decided to hike the 2.5 mile Clatsop Loop Trail, since it include the Tillamook Head Trail. This was a very wise decision – the Clatsop Loop (when followed in order) lets you ascend to Tillamook Head along a wide, shaded, gravel trail and then descend the windy, twisted trail from Tillamook Head. Patches, now that he is a senior dog, was still tired out from our hike the day before and it was another 30C day so we all appreciated the shade. It is an interpretive loop so there are signposts to direct your attention to key features of the trail but what we found most incredible was the size of the Sitka spruce. There is a viewpoint at the top where you can lookout towards the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, but other than that it is mostly forested.

imageThe view of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Near the end of the loop there is a bench looking out over Indian Beach – we spent about 15 minutes here watching the surfers and letting Patches nap in the shade. We wished we’d brought a picnic lunch with us because this would have been the perfect spot to spend the rest of the day.

image Indian Beach

Hunger finally drove us out of Ecola and back to Cannon Beach – which was even busier than before. We headed north as far as Seaside before deciding all we wanted to do was find a quiet beach and spend the rest of the day relaxing. I spent a frustrating half-hour buying groceries and then we turned south again and back to our quiet strip of beaches. We pulled into Arcadia Beach State Park, found the tiny parking lot to be mostly empty, and carried our beach blanket and lunch down to the sand. Perfect!

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Folding camp chairs mean I have somewhere to sit because Patches thinks the whole beach blanket is for dogs.

We spent what was left of our afternoon sitting on the beach, and then headed back to camp for dinner. I made a pretty decent meal on the fire and we finished the evening with s’mores and cider.

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I don’t normally like corn but campfire corn is just so delicious and so easy!

We woke up early the next morning to slightly overcast skies. We quickly packed up camp, grabbed a coffee in Manzanita and made one more attempt at Cannon Beach before hitting the road out of the state. Success – a light drizzle was falling as we approached the town but once we got out on the beach proper it was just clouds. The slightly damp weather, and the early hour meant both the town and the beach were almost empty and we enjoyed a morning dog walk with views of the Haystack Rock.

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Then it was back in the car and time to head north to our next adventure – the Okanagan!

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