The pacific northwest of the United States conjures images of lush green flora and fauna. It entices you to dream of trails alongside the seaside. You picture idyllic scenes of serenity and geographic wonder. Let me tell you, it does not disappoint. This was my first trip to Oregon. We hiked and ran the areas surrounding Cannon Beach and experienced breathtaking views and incredible trail running and hiking experiences.
Neither my wife nor I had ever been to Oregon. We decided to search the internet for some inspiration and fortunately stumbled upon an article by Territory Running Co. This served as our inspiration as we explored Cannon Beach and the surrounding areas over a three day period in late July.
We hiked, ran and relaxed. We rented a car and traveled from the mountains to the beach and back. Hope you like reading about our adventure!
Saddle Mountain State Natural Area
Wheels touched down at 12:30pm PST in Portland, Oregon. From PDX we rented a car and began our adventure. Our first stop was Saddle Mountain to hike the Saddle Mountain Trail. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Saddle Mountain from Portland. By the time we rented the car and headed out we arrived at the trailhead just before 4pm. It was a beautiful time to hike. The weather had cooled and was in the low 70’s with a nice breeze and clear blue skies. Be careful on the drive. The last 6-7 miles to the trailhead takes you along a windy, narrow road with an uphill climb. It wouldn’t be the first narrow, windy road we needed to navigate on this trip.
The Saddle Mountain Trail is a nice 5 mile out and back trail with 1,800 feet in elevation gain. There were some tricky sections and some steep areas. The footing was precarious in parts but the trail is complete with metal fencing covering the trail to help with traction. The trail was a bit too steep for us to run. We did end up trail running in a few areas but we mostly hiked and enjoyed the incredible views.
The top of the mountain is fenced off with amazing 360 degree views. We even had our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from the top. Be careful, there are some very steep drop offs around the peak.
We also ventured off to a couple of false peaks that had amazing views themselves.
After finishing the hike, we used the bathroom at the trailhead and headed off to Cannon Beach. We did see people camping at the trailhead. It looked like there were reasonable rates to stay for a few nights for those interested in doing a bit of camping.
From Saddle Mountain the drive to Cannon Beach is only 40 minutes. We hopped in the car and had an easy and scenic drive out to the ocean.
My wife picked out an awesome spot to stay. The place was called Webb’s Scenic Surf. It was a small hotel with awesome ocean views. The hotel is independently owned and operated and right on the beach. The staff was extremely welcoming and accommodating. The rooms were comfortable and affordable.
After picking up some groceries at the local market, we walked down to the beach. I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be! Actually, the water was quite comfortable.
We made dinner in the hotel room and watched the sunset over the ocean. Then, we retired for the evening and prepared for the next day’s adventures.
Tillamook Head National Park & Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail
The next morning we walked down to Insomnia Coffee Co to grab a brew before we kicked off the day. The downtown in Cannon Beach is quaint. The street is filled with little shops and independently owned eateries. A nice break from the usual beach going commercialism.
We filled our camelback’s with water and drove the short distance to Ecola State Park which borders Cannon Beach.
The trail was an out and back adventure. From the trail there were ocean views and beautiful trails. It was muddy in parts and had some decent elevation changes. The trail is a little over 12 miles long when you complete the full out and back. We were able to trail run the majority of the trail. There were only a few parts that were too steep to run. However, it was challenging. This trek definitely put me in the upper limits of my conditioning.
The views of the ocean and the natural scenery all around us were well worth the effort!
After we finished, we cooled off by watching the surfers in the water. Then, we headed to the grocery store to grab some food for the road and drove farther south.
It was about an hour drive from Cannon Beach to Tillamook. We passed the famous Tillamook Creamery on the way into town. We didnt get the chance to stop, but fortunately they served Tillamook Cheese on my Delta flight back east. I got the best of both worlds!
We drove through Tillamook and stayed close by in a place called Netarts, Oregon. The town was very small with only a couple restaurants and small places to buy groceries. We stayed in Netarts Surf Inn. The place was nice. It had a large tv and couch with a stove and large refrigerator. I ate some delicious Tillamook Strawberry yogurt to feel like a native.
Cape Lookout Trail
The next morning we drove to nearby Cape Lookout Trail. The drive took us along the coast where we saw people crabbing in the bay.
Cape Lookout Trail was my favorite run of the trip. We were able to trail run the full 5 miles and saw amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The out and back had some elevation changes but nothing that was unmanageable for a reasonably able runner.
While the trail was busy, it didn’t feel too crowded. We hit the trail at about 9am and finished by 10:30 after including some time to rest and catch the views along the trail.
With time winding down we had the chance for just one more run and headed to back to Portland.
Dogwood Wild Cherry Loop Trail
Back in Portland we hit the popular Dogwood trail. This was only a 2 and half mile loop. To be honest, we mostly walked. The trail was steep in parts and we were exhausted by this point!
The trail was well worn from use and not far from downtown Portland. In fact, we got stuck in some serious traffic shortly after the hike.
Portland to Cannon Beach to Netarts – Our Whirlwind Trip
We packed as much adventure as we could into the couple short days we had in Oregon. It was well worth it. The views were incredible the trails were as lush as I had imagined. Safe to say, we want to go back again already.
Oregon Trip Tips
Make sure to good shoes and bring plenty of water on the trails. I used All Trails to navigate but we did end up in some places without cell phone service. Bring trail maps and road maps as a precaution in case you don’t have service. Also, be aware that there are long stretches of highway along the coast without gas stations for miles. Make sure you fuel up or know where to find a gas station, especially if you plan to take a lot of back roads without cell service!
P.S. We’re also both vegetarians and we loved New Seasons Grocery store. Highly recommended you check it out too while in Portland!
Like this blog? Check out more of our beach going adventures.