Things to do in Manzanita on Oregon Coast

About the park

Oswald West State Park is located about 10 miles south of the city of Cannon Beach, it covers 2,484 acres of land between Arch Cape all the way down to the town of Manzanita. Only 2 hours drive from Portland, this natural treasure is popular with hikers, surfers and beachgoers. The park stretches across 4 miles along the Oregon coastline and hides heaps of natural beauty, many miles of trails and stunning views of the Pacific ocean.

Once known only as Short Sand Beach State Park, the park now owes its name to a former Oregon Governor Oswald West, whose efforts helped set 400 miles of Oregon's beaches for public use. The park is yet another monument to the relentless land acquisition by park's superintendent Sam Boardman, who also believed that coastal lands should be in public ownership. He helped acquire the principal lands between 1931 and 1950.

The park prides itself in having one of the best-preserved coastal rainforests in Oregon and an ecosystem that can only be found in the Northwest. You will find yourself walking amongst low-growing ferns, salal and salmonberry all the while being surrounded by massive western red cedar, western hemlock and Sitka spruce trees. While hiking in the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain in the springtime, look out for the wildflowers of Oregon iris, harsh paintbrush or the nodding onion. The coastline is made up of volcanic basalt, a grey-black rock, and layered sandstone of pink and beige, reminiscent of the canyons in the Southwest.

Activities and Trails

The park is both well planned and designed for people of all ages. It includes a picnic area, public restrooms and parking, however, no camping is available. You can explore miles of trails throughout the park: go on a search of its secluded sandy beach all the while enjoying a variety of outdoor recreation including fishing, surfing, kayaking, picnicking and bird watching.

You will find four parking lots along Highway 101 from which you can peruse the park following 14 different trails of varying lengths.
 The Short Sand Beach Trail will lead you to the beautiful beach in Smuggler's Cove nicknamed Sandy's by the locals.

If you would like to visit one of the prominent headlands, Cape Falcon, a 2.5-mile trail of the same name begins at the northwest parking lot and includes a hike to the Kramer Memorial where you continue to the Cape through the high-growing salal.

The second headland is the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain and you can reach it from 2 directions, following the South or the North Neah-Kah-Nie Trails leading the way through beautiful old-growth forests to the top of the summit which can be combined into an 8-mile long loop.

The longest of the trails is the 13-mile Oregon Coast Trail which takes you through the entire park. Starting at the community of Arch Cape, the trail includes a suspension bridge crossing the Necarney Creek and continues to Cape Falcon and the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain along the way with an abundance of breathtaking views of the ocean and its shores.


About 2 hours drive from Portland, access the Oswald West State Park from the north, taking Route 26 until Highway 101 near the coast. Continue south on Highway 101 past Cannon Beach until you reach the park.

To get to the park from the south, take Route 6 from Portland until you reach Tillamook and continue north on Highway 101 for about 40 miles until you reach the park. Highway 101 runs all the way through the park.


Cape Falcon Hike--Breathtaking

As a group of hikers in our upper 60's, we found Cape Falcon a true gem. The trail is well maintained, and you hike mostly in the shade of wonderful pine trees. The trail does have many large roots that are a bit tedious to navigate at times. The elevation gain is only 640' and the 4.6 miles out & back distance was just right.

We had a blue sky day with some fog clinging to the windward side of the cape. The wind was blowing 20 knots at the tip. The views were amazing...take the left, or southern trail for the better views, and don't get too close to the edge of the cliff.
We did run into some Nehalem Bay rescue personnel that were headed out to get someone who ventured too close and was stuck clinging to the cliff.

I've visited Oswald Park several times over the last 30 yrs, but this was my first venture to Cape Falcon...I'll be going back...it's spectacular.

-Wsurf3, TripAdvisor

Great beach and coastal hike!

Got there before 9:30 am and the parking lot was less than half full. Fully packed when we left around noon. Only a handful of surfers on the beach. Compared to other parks in the area this one is probably less crowded, but there were a lot of people and dogs later in the morning.

I took the trail out to Cape Falcon. Not too difficult, but I've done lots of hikes around Washington. Some muddy spots and narrow parts, but managed about an hour each way (2.3 miles). But the view from Cape Falcon is amazing! Watched seals playing at the pools below with pelicans and other sea birds flying around. Must-see spot if it's your first time on the Oregon Coast like me!

-MstrViolinist, TripAdvisor

Absolutely Gorgeous

From the beautiful walk through old growth forest over to the cove/shore, just a beautiful experience. Well-maintained footpaths. A stunning view from multiple vantages in the cove where one large creek and several smaller ones empty into the cove. Great for small children to play in the creek and surf without being pounded by waves. Even a waterfall. Probably the favorite park we visited and we did several. You won't be disappointed.

-Karen W, TripAdvisor

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