Siuslaw National Forest Overview
The Siuslaw National Forest is situated within the Oregon Coast Range, a mountain range that runs north to south from the Columbia River to north central California. The forest is bordered on the east by the Willamette Valley and the west by the Pacific Ocean and is one of only two national forests located in the lower 48 states to claim oceanfront property. Marys Peak, the highest peak in the Coast Range at elevation 4,097′, is a prominent view west of Corvallis. Highlights include: Mary’s Peak, Oregon Dunes, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, and Sand Lake Recreation Area. Most of the Siuslaw’s trails are relatively short 1- 3 miles and easy day hikes, a few are up to 7 miles in length or connect to make a longer loop. The best hikes in Siuslaw National Forest are located below.
|Nearest Metro Area||Corvallis, OR|
|Area Size||634,207 acres|
|Established||July 1, 1908|
|Hiking Trails||137 miles|
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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Siuslaw National Forest
(*** = best hikes in Siuslaw National Forest)
Cape Lookout Trail*** – 4.8 miles out and back
Just south of Tillamook, this awesome trail hikes through a lush old-growth forest along cliffs 400′ above the Pacific Ocean. The trail can be muddy at times but has little elevation gain so it is family-friendly. Try to plan your hike around any fog or rain that might hinder the amazing views! The trail is in Cape Lookout State Park, just west of Siuslaw National Forest.
Drift Creek Falls Trail #1378*** – 3.0 miles out and back
Family friendly hike through a coastal forest, a 75 foot waterfall, and a suspension bridge 100 feet above the canyon floor. On the optional 1-mile North Loop Trail you can also access old-growth trees, vine maples, huckleberry and salmonberry bushes, and a variety of shrubs and ferns.
God’s Thumb via the Knoll*** – 4.8 miles out and back
Somewhat of a hidden gem as the trail is not listed on Siuslaw National Forest’s website even though it is within its boundaries. This hike climbs up a ridge known as the Knoll to the Thumb, the southern remnant of a basalt dike formed ages ago. The views of the cove below from the Thumb are outstanding and one of the more beautiful sights you will see along the Oregon coastline.
Harts Cove Trail #1303 – 5.4 miles out and back
This scenic trail descends about 900 feet in elevation through a rainforest, crosses two seasonal creeks and ends at a prairie headland overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Chitwood Falls cascades off the backside cliff at Hart’s Cove. An unseen cove to the south resounds with the barking of sea lions. *Closed annually from Jan. 1 – July 15*
Kentucky Falls Trail #1376 – 4.4 miles out and back
This trail descends through old growth Douglas fir. Hikers will reach Upper Kentucky Falls after the first 0.8 miles. Descending another 1.4 miles, the trail ends at an observation deck overlooking Lower Kentucky Falls, an incredible 100 foot twin falls at the confluence of Kentucky Creek and Smith River. The hike back up to the trailhead gains 777 feet in 2.2 miles, making it a strenuous hike back out.
Nature Conservancy Trail to Cascade Head*** – 6.4 miles out and back
This beautiful hike climbs steeply through the forest until it reaches the top of the ridge. From here there are incredible views of the coast and Cascade Head. Mosquitos can be pretty bad so make sure you bring bug spray with you. *Most of the trail is closed annually from Jan. 1 – July 15*
Niagara Falls Trail #1379 – 2.0 miles out and back
Follow the stream through lush foliage, then cross over four wooden bridges with a beautiful view of two 100-foot waterfalls, Niagara Falls and Pheasant Creek Falls. Niagara Falls is a plunge-type fall at 107 feet. Pheasant Creek Falls is a segmented type fall at 112 feet.
Saint Perpetua National Recreation Trail #1306 – 2.8 miles out and back
From the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, this stunning National Recreation Trail leads to one of the best viewpoints on the Oregon Coast. Most people drive the road up to the viewpoint, but you can earn your views by hiking up this scenic footpath. The trail ascends and switchbacks through an old-growth forest lead you to an awe-inspiring overlook where on clear days views extend nearly 40 miles out to sea, and along 70 miles of coastline.
Sweet Creek Falls Trail #1319 – 5.4 miles out and back
In this Coast Range valley, the Sweet Creek Falls Trail follows the scenic cascading waters of Sweet Creek. Hikers will encounter 11 waterfalls in all, each framed by mossy rocks and ferns and under a canopy of Douglas-fir, Alder and Big leaf maple.
Featured Image: Thor’s Well, Photo by John Fowler
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