Cascade Head

Cascade Head is a mountainous jumble that projects into the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast, north of Lincoln City.  It contains a US Forest Service experimental forest and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve administered by the Nature Conservancy.  It is the habitat for rare and endangered species, including a few that are found only on Cascade Head and at Neakahnie Mountain, 60 miles to the north.  As a nature preserve, please respect the natural environment.  Dogs are not permitted, even on leash.

US 101 climbs the ridge behind Cascade Head, and a gravel access road leads west from the highway near milepost 101 into the coastal rain forest.  This access road (NFD 1861) is open only from July 16 through December each year, and offers access to several attractions.

  1. The upper trailhead for the Cascade Head Rain Forest Trail, which is 3.7 steep miles of trail from a lower trailhead where Three Rocks Road meets US 101 near milepost 104.
  2. About 2 miles in, a pair of road pull-outs with a viewpoint overlooking the coast to the south: the Salmon River estuary, God's Thumb and the knobby hills north of Lincoln City, Lincoln City with Devil's Lake, the beach, and Siletz Bay, and a longer view of the coast to the south as far as Cape Foulweather.
  3. About 3.3 miles in, the trailhead for Nature Conservancy Tr #1345, which leads through the rain forest to a wind-swept meadow with commanding views of the Salmon River valley, Coast Range to the south, and the coast stretching beyond Lincoln City to Cape Foulweather.  The trail continues down the sloping meadow, pushing out into the Pacific.  Views are epic!  The wind, rain, and mud can be also.
  4. About 4 miles in, the Hart's Cove trailhead (AllTrails); the often-muddy 3-mile trail drops 900 feet to Hart's Cove where the surf crashes against the feet of Cascade Head.

The other access to Cascade Head is open year-round.  You get there from Three Rocks Road near milepost 104 on US 101.

  1. Where Three Rocks Road meets the highway, there is a trailhead at the lower end of the Cascade Head Rain Forest Trail.
  2. 3 miles west on Three Rocks Road, park at Knight Park and follow signage to the lower Cascade Head trailhead.  This climbs for 3.4 miles and 1200 feet elevation gain to the upper trailhead.  The views are well worth the sweat.

Cascade Head is a jewel of the Oregon Coast.  It gets rainy, and the trails get muddy, but it's well worth the visit.

More at Alltrails, Nature Conservancy,,,, Outdoor Project,, Google Image Search.

Begun 2019.