Thursday, June 11, 2009

The first time we came to Ecola State Park it just happened to be one of the hottest days of the summer and it seemed that the entire population of Portland was trying to get to the beach as fast as possible. We waited in our car for a parking spot for an hour or more. Despite this first experience we have returned to this scenic location several times and have always found it worth the drive. And we haven't had any more issues with having to wait in line.

Ecola State Park

Fees: $3 day use pass

The viewpoint provides a good first stop once inside the park. This area includes numerous picnic tables, grills, bathrooms and a short trail/boardwalk to the tip of the peninsula which provides a scenic sweeping viewpoint of the coastline. A couple trail heads are located here including the one to Crescent Beach. There is a separate road and parking area for Indian Beach, which is just a short walk down from the parking lot. This beach is protected and beautiful, with a few small tidal pools towards the end.

At the end of the viewpoint boardwalk.

Our favorite spot in this park, however, is Crescent Beach. Reaching this oasis requires a 1.5 mile hike down to the ocean but because of this slight inconvenience it is usually pretty deserted. Difficulty is moderate. There were a few washed out areas which could be tricky when muddy and the climb back up is of course a bit more demanding but, in our opinion, still worth the trouble. There are several spectacular views of the coastline along the trail, including a view of Haystack Rock - the 235 foot tall monolith that is the third tallest structure like this in the world. At low tide we've heard that this beach is connected to Cannon Beach but we've only been there at high tide. A spring empties out onto this beach providing a very scenic drinking hole for the dog.

Crescent Beach as seen from the viewpoint.

Beginning the 1.5 mile hike to Crescent Beach.

The Oregon coast in all its beauty. Need I say more?

Wildlife: Bring your binoculars! During migration gray whales can be seen off the coast. We caught a glimpse of a pod during our last trip in May. Starfish and mussels cling to the rocks along the tidal zone along with the occasional other critters that can be find in Oregon tidal pools. Crescent Beach is a good spot for finding sand dollars! And several of the large rocks off shore provide nesting habitat for seabirds including Tufted Puffins, Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots and Western Gulls.


Post a Comment