Ecola State Park offers some of the most spectacular Oregon Coast hikes and beautiful views, especially along the Indian Beach Trail. This out and back trail runs from Indian Beach to Ecola Point, and features scenic overlooks of sea stacks jutting out of the Pacific Ocean. The Indian Beach Trail winds through 5 miles of lush coastal forest and makes for the perfect Oregon day hike.
This is one of my favorite hikes I’ve found so far along the Oregon coastline. There’s just so much to see around every bend in the trail, from vivid red mushrooms to towering Sitka spruce trees and clusters of prehistoric-looking ferns. I’m here to nerd out and tell you all about the Indian Beach Trail so that you’re ready for your own adventure!
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Indian Beach Trail via Ecola State Park
Indian Beach Trail at a glance:
- Distance: 5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 902 feet
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Diffculty: Moderate
- Season: Year-Round
- Fees: $5 Parking Fee
- Ecola State Park Map
What to wear & what to bring
Depending on the time of year you hike this trail, it can get pretty wet. I did this hike in the winter, and it was misting and lightly raining the whole time. It’s still a beautiful trail year round – just make sure you wear water resistant boots or sneakers, and bring your trustiest rain jacket. It’s cool in the forest and the sea breeze at Indian Beach and Ecola Point can be pretty lively, so it’s a good idea to layer up. I was fine in a t-shirt, flannel, rain jacket, leggings, wool socks, boots, and a rain jacket.
As with any hike, pack water so you can stay hydrated on the trail. It’s nice to bring snacks or pack a lunch, as well – you can soak in the ocean views at the halfway point while you refuel!
Getting to the trailhead
Alright, you’re dressed, packed, and ready to go – where? You can take highway 101 from points north or south, and follow signs for Ecola State Park. Once inside the park, follow directions for either Ecola State Park (which will bring you to Ecola Point) or Indian Beach. Since both Indian Beach and Ecola Point have parking lots and the trail runs between them, you can actually start this trail from either point.
Driving down to Indian Beach (my starting point of choice) is an adventure in itself. The road has lots of twists and turns, and you’re surrounded by gorgeous forest on all sides. Keep an eye out for oncoming traffic – it’s a narrow road and passing other cars can be tight.
If you’re at the Indian Beach parking lot facing the ocean, the trailhead will be to your left.
What’s the trail like?
The Indian Beach Trail is easy to follow, as it’s extremely well maintained. Be prepared for lots of mud, though, especially during the rainy season. It’s wide enough in most parts for two people to comfortably walk next to each other.
As far as elevation, the incline is pretty gradual. It’s mostly just slight dips throughout the trail. There is a section, coming back from Ecola Point, that had some small but steeper switchbacks. Once you get past those, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning overlook where you can see all the way out to Indian Point.
Sights to see along the trail
As a born and raised east coaster, the sheer size of the trees and forest out here never ceases to amaze me. Sitka spruce trees dominate the forest, stretching high up into the sky. Ferns and moss cover the earth, growing green and abundant. If there are any fungus fans out there, you’re in for a good time – there are so many different types of mushrooms peppering the ground and growing out of trees.
As far as wildlife, the forest is teeming with birds, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a Roosevelt elk. I rolled over a few small logs to check for salamanders, but no dice (I warned you I was nerding out). Did see a couple bugs with way too many legs, but that’s not my cup of tea.
Now for my favorite sights – Terrible Tilly and the sea stacks! From overlooks along the trail, you can see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (“Terrible Tilly”) sitting way out in the Pacific past Indian Point. Built in the late 1800s and taken out of service in 1957, the lighthouse is no longer used but remains an iconic monument on the Oregon Coast.
You can hear the ocean thundering against the shore as you hike the Indian Beach Trail, and when a break in the trees allows you to look out and see it, it’s an impressive sight. Sea stacks rise out of the Pacific, massive rock formations that stand strong against the force of powerful waves.
So that’s the scoop on the Indian Beach Trail! It’s a gorgeous trail, and I personally can’t wait to go back and do more hikes in Ecola State Park. If you have recommendations for other Oregon Coast hikes, feel free to drop them in the comments. See you on the trails!
Looking for more things to do on the Oregon Coast? Here are 33 unique things to do in Astoria, Oregon to get you started!
Indian Beach Trail Q&A:
The Ecola State Park day use fee is $5. This fee covers parking as well as use of the park for the day.
Ecola State Park is located on the northern Oregon coast, between Seaside and Cannon Beach. Ecola State Park is a 45 minute drive from Astoria, Oregon, and a 1.5 hour drive from Portland.
The Indian Beach Trail is a 5 mile long out and back trail in Ecola State Park. AllTrails lists the length of Indian Beach Trail as 3.8 miles, but other hikers including myself end up logging around 5 miles via GPS tracker on the hike.
Indian Beach is a public beach. Anyone can park in the lot, pay the $5 Ecola State Park day use fee, and head down to Indian Beach.
To get to Indian Beach at Ecola State Park from points north, such as Astoria, take 101 South and take the exit for City Ctr/Ecola State Pk. Stay on Ecola Park Road, which turns into Cannon Beach Trail, until you reach the Indian Beach parking lot.
From points south, take 101 North and follow the same roads described above.
From points east, take 25 West until you can hop onto 101 South, and follow the same route.