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Neahkahnie Mountain Loop Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Looking south from the Neahkahnie Viewpoint (Steve Hart)
Looking north from early in the hike (Steve Hart)
Coast Fawn Lily (Steve Hart)
Looking south from Highway 101 (Steve Hart)

Contents

Hike Description

The Oregon Coast Trail crosses Neahkahnie Mountain and the summit is reachable from either side. This hike uses the entire trail. The positive side is a loop without retracing any steps. The downside is a mile of highway shoulder walking, but there are scenic views and waysides to soften the blow.

From the North Neahkahnie Mountain Trailhead, cross the road and start up the Oregon Coast Trail. The first section of the trail is cut through an otherwise impenetrable thicket of Salal. A wide variety of flowers bloom here each spring including Columbia Windflower, Trailing Blackberry, very pink specimens of Candy Flower, rare Coast Fawn Lilies and of course, the ever present Salal. As the trail climbs higher through switchbacks, there are views of the ocean, including a look north to stunning coastal cliffs.

The trail enters the forest near the top of the meadow. You'll soon cross a small creek of iron colored water and then the trail slabs across the north face of the mountain through carpets of sorrel and trilliums in season. The trail continues to switch higher. The north, higher summit of Neahkahnie Mountain is heavily timbered and not accessible by trail. The trail slabs around the south side of the northern summit into a neat section of moss covered spruce. Next, it ducks under a low log and enters a section of very dense, dark forest, completely devoid of undergrowth. You'll drop into a bit of a saddle, then begin climbing to the south summit. There's a small switchback and finally you'll come to a rare, open rocky area. There's a very steep and potentially dangerous use path up to a peak, but the view to the south is really good from here. You'll see Neahkahnie Beach, Manzanita and the beach all the way to the mouth of the Nehalem River.

Continue forward on the main trail. You'll work down the north side of the ridge for a bit and you'll pass a bench placed in a seemingly random place. A bit farther, you'll cross an access road. If you're up for a side trip, head up the hill to a radio tower. If not, continue straight ahead down the hill. The trail switchbacks a few times in the woods then emerges into a salal thicket. There are a few views to the south here as the trail continues down. Suddenly, you'll emerge from the thicket at the South Neahkahnie Mountain Trailhead. Turn right and walk down the road about 4/10 of a mile to Highway 101.

Turn right on Highway 101 and head north. The first section is just a normal walk on a highway shoulder. Soon enough, though you'll come to beautiful 1930s era rockwork as the highway works its way around Neahkahnie Mountain. The traffic noise is still ugly, but the effect is softened by the views of the ocean and cliffs. Check out the informational signs as you head north. You'll reach you car after about a mile on 101, back where you started.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Trailhead closed 10PM-6AM, No overnight parking

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Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.