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Sunset Bay to Cape Arago

A beautiful 4 mile stretch of Oregon Coast with plenty of seals to see up close.
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 8.5 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  This hike is a beautiful coastal walk along a four-mile strip of Oregon coastline. This amazing hike starts in beautiful Sunset Bay, ... more »

Tips:  The GPS route that I took for this trip takes you through the woods for the most part on a nice trail through various vegetation with ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Sunset Bay State Park

Sunset bay is where you start your hike. Park your car in the free day-use parking lot on the right as you drive in. The trail you will take is behind the restrooms and is labeled "Oregon Coast Trail". This trail will take you through the woods and across a field to an ocean viewpoint.

2. Lighthouse Viewpoint

From this viewpoint you will have beautiful views of the Cape Arago lighthouse and the rugged Oregon coastline. The lighthouse was erected in 1866. It is located to the north in the distance.

3. Shore Acres State Park Entrance

When you pop out of the trail continue across the clearing towards the gardens entrance.

4. Shore Acres State Park Gardens

Shore Acres State Park is 5 acres in size and consists of several large gardens including a test rose garden and Japanese lilly pond (pictured here). If you come here from Thanksgiving to New Years the park is decorated with thousands of lights. Springtime and early summer are a great time to walk through the gardens.

5. Big Waves

If you happen to visit this area on a windy day or when the ocean has big swells you will be blown away by the waves crashing against the coastal cliffs. In the photo below these two people were actually trying to fish in these conditions!!

6. Sea Lions

From this roadside viewing area you will be able to see plenty of sea lions out on Simpsons reef or lounging on the beach below. A good zoom lens is helpful here. Continue on the trail as it enters back into the woods. On the way back you can take this trail again or simply walk along the road from Cape Arago back to the viewing platform.

When you get to Cape arago follow the short trail down to the waters edge to get a really cool up-close view of the barking sea lions. I just love how they stick their snouts up into the air. Funny creatures for sure. Take pictures! Walk down the road back towards the sea lion viewing platform to regain the trail.

8. Take the left trail

At this junction instead of going back through the gardens look for a trail to the left that will keep you hugging the coastline.

9. Rugged Coastline

By now you should be really enjoying the coastal route back towards Sunset Bay that closely follows the rugged shoreline. There are so many great places to stop and take photos.

10. Sedimentary Terraces

The geology in this area is really amazing. Erosion of the softer rock has left what appear as protrusions from the ground of the harder rock that you can actually climb on to. There are several terraces here of this kind of rock. Spend some time here as it really does look like the lanscape of another planet. There may even be some tidepools ... More

11. Final Viewpoint

After reaching the field you can head back across it and down a hillside to your vehicle or you can opt for a little longer hike out to a point of land with another great view. By now hopefully you have timed it perfectly and can return to Sunset Bay for a beautiful sunset on the beach. :)