Super Scenic Stops
By Erin J. Bernard
Published: 06/21/2016  Updated: 08/15/2019
Photo by Gary Hayes
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Ecola State Park: The Prime Perch

Ecola State Park offers the best bird's eye lookouts on the North Oregon Coast.

Long a favorite side trip for picnickers, photographers and afternoon adventurers, this high-flying North Coast gem spans nine miles of Tillamook Head's striking shoreline, offering unbeatable windswept vistas around every curve. Awe-inspiring viewpoints await just steps from the parking lot, and trails winding out from Ecola offer the best bird's eye lookouts to be had on this stretch of coast. Watch colorful puffins nesting along the monoliths dotting the shoreline, then ponder the decommissioned Tillamook Rock Lighthouse sitting sentry a mile offshore. You can even hike a portion of the Oregon Coast Trail, or take the shorter Clatsop Loop Trail out to Indian Beach, a swimming cove and perennial favorite surfer spot. Along the way, you'll stand cheek-to-jowl with towering Sitka spruce trees, some hundreds of years old; plus a riot of salal, salmonberry and other flora and fauna, and perhaps even a furry friend or two. Those branches you hear snapping in the distance might not conceal a Bigfoot lying in wait, but close encounters with resident elk are common here.

Find It:
The trip in is an adventure all on its own. Ecola State Park is located just north of downtown Cannon Beach, up Ecola Park Road, a lush, two-mile drive offering gorgeous glimpses of the forest primeval.

Visitor Tips:
Arrive early — this spot often attracts a crowd. Intrepid visitors can hike in from town on foot, but caution is advised: a portion of the trek runs right along the busy road. Entrance fee is $5.
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Super Scenic Stops