Beach Hiking differs from traditional hiking in that there is no defined trail. Rather, there is a general path between the water and the foredune. Trail heads are little more then locations where the beach can be accessed. Thus, the begining and ending of a hike is more vague and can be adjusted according to what one desires to complete. They can be done as out and back hikes or, with a shuttle, a through and through hike.
From Bandon, one can hike North or South along the beach. Most people do the route to the South.
Hiking North from Bandon it is first necessary to get passed the Coquille River. Most People drive to Bullards Beach State Park and begin their hike from there. Once at Bullards Beach SP access to the beach is as simple as climbing over the foredune. From this point one can hike, without obstacles, for several miles along open beaches. There are access points at Whiskey Run and Seven Devils if one wants to do a through and through with a shuttle. However, no shuttle services are provided for this area.
Hiking South from Bandon is a more popular direction to hike. The section of beach that is along the edge of town can have a fair number of people during high season. However, once a person has gotten South of town just a little distance there are very few people.
There are two major challenges South of Bandon for those hiking the beach. These are the Sixes River and the Elk River. Both are able to be crossed when conditions are right (usually best in the Fall). However, one should not attempt crossing them when levels are high or without experience. These obstacles are slightly over 20 miles south of town and can be avoided if one desires to shorten their hike.
Access to the beach can be had at numerous locations in Bandon. From North to South the first access is at the South Jetty along the Coquille River. There is also access at Coquille Point, Face Rock Wayside, Devils Kitchen and China Creek. A good day hike would be from the South Jetty to China Creek which would cover about 3 miles.
Beyond China Creek there are new regulations in place effective 2013. Between China Creek and Floras Lake the beach is restricted to walking on wet sand only. The dry sand areas are prohibited to entry from March 15 through September 15. For more information, contact Oregon State Parks.
Once a hiker leaves town, access becomes more spotty. There are points where one could leave the beach at New River (would require crossing New River but so would continuing), Floras Lake, Blacklock Point, and Cape Blanco (requires crossing the Sixes River). Thus it is possible to make this hike into a wide variety of lengths.
Shuttle service for the South Coast Beach Trail is provided by the Coastal Express, the local bus service. Call to arrange pickup. (800) 921-2871
This Southern portion of the Oregon Coast Trail provides for some fabulous scenery and solitude. Between the towns of Bandon and Port Orford, Highway 101 moves away from the beach and traverses inland. This provides seclusion not seen elsewhere along the coast. One section of the trail covers an area known as “Oregon’s Loneliest Beach.”
Solitude provides peace and quiet. It also, however, mean help is a long way off if you find yourself in trouble. Remember to not turn your back on the ocean and be careful during the river crossings. As with all hiking, it is a good idea to let someone know where you will be.
As an added bonus to our guests making this hike all the way to Port Orford, we will provide parking for your vehicle during your hike. You can park your car, hike South and catch the shuttle back to your car in 3 or 4 days. This option adds about 1/2 mile of through town walking before reaching the beach but provides a safe place to leave your vehicle. The shuttle bus will usually drop you off directly across the street from our motel.