• Oswald West State Park is the most scenic forest on the Oregon Coast
• The area consists of miles of hiking trails through the scenic rainforest
The picturesque 2,484-acre Oswald West State Park extends four miles along the coast from Arch Cape on the north through Cape Falcon to Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain on the south. Located 10 miles away from Cannon Beach, this state park allows visitors to enjoy everything the Oregon Coast has to offer - hiking, beachcombing, surfing, or simply enjoying the stunning vista of the mighty Pacific Ocean.
It took decades for Oswald West State Park to become what it is now. Parts of the parkland belonged to various private individuals and were eventually bought or gifted. Initially named Short Sand Beach Park, it became Oswald West State Park in 1958 to honor Oswald West, an Oregon Governor who served between 1911 and 1915. Mr. West was known for preserving public access to Oregon's beaches and recovering state land from illegal ownership.
The park has four parking lots along Highway 101, two picnic areas, miles of hiking trails, a few creeks flowing into the ocean, Blumenthal Falls, and the Short Sand Beach (a.k.a. "Shorty’s"), a beautiful pocket beach hidden in a cove between two prominent headlands.
Oswald West State Park is considered the most scenic and the best-preserved forest in Oregon. It features low-growing ferns, salal, salmonberry, mossy alder, old-growth western red cedar, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce trees standing 200 feet tall and having a trunk over 10 feet in diameter.
Fifteen miles of hiking trails lead visitors through the coastal rainforest. They also include a 13-mile stretch of the famous Oregon Coast Trail that passes right through.
The Necarney Creek Trail starts from the south trailhead at the Oswald West south parking area. This is an easy 0.3-mile well-maintained trail that branches into several routes. You can either continue along Necarney Creek or choose another course. If you head west, though, all routes will lead to the Short Sand Beach.
Short Sand Beach Trail begins from the Oswald West North parking area at milepost 39 on the east side of the highway. The north parking lot is also a good starting point if your goal is to enjoy a breathtaking view from the top of Cape Falcon (2.5 miles one way). However, If you wish to reach Arch Cape, keep on going north for the next 6.5 miles from the endpoint of the Cape Falcon Trail.
Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain Trails start at both the north and the south trailheads. The north trailhead is a gravel pullout at the west side of Highway 101 between mileposts 40 and 41. The south trailhead is a small parking lot 0.4 miles off the highway, which you can reach by turning east between mileposts 41 and 42 onto a gravel road. Look out for hiker signs.
Picnic tables and flush restrooms are available in the park. No camping is available. Pets are allowed but must be held on a leash. Please dispose of the pet waste properly.
Unfortunately, the high number of visitors tends to attract thieves – please do not leave your belongings unattended anywhere in the park, on the beach, or in your vehicle.
Oswald West State Park | General Description
Open: Year-round for day use
Managed by: Oregon State Park
Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables
Activities: Hiking, surfing, nature viewing
Day-use fees: None
Usage: Moderate to heavy
Accommodations: Lodging in Manzanita
Oswald West State Park is located:
- 4 miles north of Manzanita
- 90 miles west of Portland
- 100 miles northwest of Salem.
- Drive 4 miles north on Highway 101 to the south parking area on the left (west).
If the south parking area is overcrowded, drive 0.3 miles north to the north parking lot, which is larger.