Top 20 Oregon Trips

Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park

Visit a spectacular beach with a waterfall, on the Oregon Coast.

Stunning Oswald West State Park is located on the Oregon Coast, between the upscale towns of Manzanita and Cannon Beach.

There are three Day Use parking lots at Oswald West State Park, directly off the Oregon Coast's Highway 101.

The crown jewel of this park is magnificent Short Sand Beach inside Smuggler's Cove. It has a secluded location between two headlands, and can be reached by walking 20 minutes along a creek trail.

See a beach waterfall at Oswald West State Park.

The dramatic Blumenthal Falls is at the northern end of Short Sand Beach, cascading down ancient, basalt cliffs.

Short Sands Beach (at Smuggler's Cove) is hugely popular with surfers.

Surfers brave the chilly waters in one of the most popular surf beaches in Oregon, at Oswald West State Park, with an exposed surf break and consistently good waves.  This beach isn't suitable for swimming, and there are no lifeguards.

Cape Falcon headland juts out at the north end of Short Sand Beach (Smuggler's Cove).

More seasoned hikers looking for a challenge, can take a 4.5 mile (roundtrip) hike out to the Cape Falcon Overlook, with panoramic coastal views of Smuggler's Cove and Neahkahnie Mountain.  Most of the hike is through old growth forest with Sitka Spruce and Salal, and ends at the stunning ocean overlook.  The path can be a bit rough in sections, and there's a steady incline.

The southern end of the beach is hemmed in by Neahkahnie Mountain. 

Neahkahanie Mountain rises 1,680 feet, and is a prominent landmark on the Oregon Coast.  The coastal highway actually wraps around this mountain, descending south towards the township of Manzanita.  The views along this road are incredible!

Take a 20-minute trail out to Short Sand Beach.

You have a choice of two easy trails out to Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park. The North and South Trailheads are both 20 minutes long, and perfect for families. 

Study the trails on the map.

Can you see Short Sand Creek on the map?  The prettiest trail to the beach follows this creek.  The thick black line is Highway 101.

The trail starts beneath the highway bridge, and travels along Short Sand Creek.

The trail continues along Short Sand Creek for 20 minutes, before it ends at the ocean.

The trail is lined with Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees.

This gigantic, decaying nurse log hosts a variety of other plant life in the forest.

Look more closely at this photo.  This is actually a fallen log from a Sitka Spruce tree, that is now hosting other plant life.

The trail has a wooden footbridge across the creek.

This is the first glimpse of Short Sand Beach (Smuggler's Cove) at the end of the trail.  

The stunning Short Sand Beach is now fully visible at the end of the trail.

This is Short Sand Beach, with Neahkahnie Mountain in the background.

Trees cling precipitously to eroded cliffs at Oswald West State Park, battered by winter storms.

Visitors explore logs that have fallen on the sand, bleached by the salt water.

Three different creeks from the Coastal Ranges empty out into Short Sand Beach.

The beach is edged with sandstone cliffs, fringed with old growth forest.

Blumenthal Falls tumbles into the ocean.

Kids play at the base of a smaller beach waterfall.

The foreshore of Short Sand Beach is a mixture of rocks and logs, eventually giving way to smooth sand.

There's no camping at Oswald West State Park.

The Oswald West State Park campground has been closed since 2009, so consider staying at nearby Cannon Beach or Manzanita.

Other fun things to do in the area

Visit stunning Ecola State Park overlooking Cannon Beach, featured in movies like the Goonies. 

The charming seaport town of Astoria is also worth a visit, with waterfront restaurants like Buoy Beer, and fabulous attractions including a world-class Columbia River Maritime Museum, and the Astoria Column that you can climb to the top of. 

Some other popular parks in the area include Fort Clatsop where explorers Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-1806, and the shipwreck at Fort Stevens.

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