Hike the Crescent Beach Trail at Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon coast is just one of those places I can’t stop coming back to – with so many gorgeous spots, it feels like you could explore it forever and never run out! On a recent road trip down the Oregon coast, I found a new favorite pit stop – the Crescent Beach trail at Ecola State Park.

This one is definitely one of the best hikes on the Oregon coast, taking you through lush greenery until you reach the secluded Crescent Beach. Ecola State Park is a popular place to visit on the Oregon coast, but going for a hike is a great way to escape the crowds! You’ll likely see a few people along the trail, but once your reach Crescent Beach, it’s so big and open that it feels secluded and private

This guide to hiking the Crescent Beach trail at Ecola State Park includes information about the hike, what to pack, and everything you’ll need to know!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because these are all things I love and use, and sharing them helps me keep making free guides for you!

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About the Crescent Beach Trail

Before we get into the hike to Crescent Beach, here are some things to know!

Crescent Beach Trail: At a Glance

Length: 2.3 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 538 feet
Difficulty: moderate

The Best Time to Hike Crescent Beach Trail

Summer is the most popular time to hike on the Oregon coast, and that includes the Crescent Beach trail at Ecola State Park. This time of year is dry and typically sunny. 

The Oregon coast is notorious for rain, but hiking in the fall can have its advantages! In September and October, the trails are less crowded, and though there is often some drizzle, this means less people are out and about and you can have Crescent Beach to yourself! Just be prepared for mud on the trail. I hiked in October and had a great time!

Leave No Trace at Crescent Beach

I firmly believe that people getting to experience the wonder and beauty of the great outdoors is a good thing, and that everyone deserves access to these spots. However, it’s no secret that as places become more popular, they often get trashed.

Most of the time, people don’t show up with bad intentions, but we humans often just aren’t aware of how much of an impact we have on the outdoors. The best thing you can do to protect these outdoors spaces is to educate yourself, and others, about Leave No Trace (LNT)

Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply on the Crescent Beach Trail at Ecola State Park!

  • Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, check recent trail conditions, and be ready for the hike 
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces – Do not follow “social trails.” Social trails are unofficial shortcuts (you’ll often see these on switchbacks) created by people repeatedly taking the same route. These social trails lead to destruction of plant life. Follow the main trail, and don’t take shortcuts!
  • Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash of any kind behind. Pack it out! There are trash cans at the trailhead.
  • Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a rock or a cool leaf, but leave these things where they belong!
  • Minimize campfire impacts – fires are not allowed at Crescent Beach.
  • Respect wildlife – Occasionally, seals and sea lions can be found lounging on the Oregon coast, and on Crescent Beach, with their pups. Keep your distance – stay at least 150 feet away. This protects the animals, and protects you.
  • Be considerate of other visitors – the trail is narrow in spots. Yield to uphill hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music.

Things to Bring to Hike The Crescent Beach Trail

To help you pack for your hike to Crescent Beach, here are some things to bring with you!

Waterproof Hiking Shoes

After it rains, the trails on the Oregon coast get really muddy! So waterproof shoes are a must if you’re planning on hiking at the Crescent Beach trail. 

My favorite hiking boots are my Danner boots – they’re cute, comfortable, and waterproof! I also love hiking in my Chacos, but I would only recommend sandals in the summer on the Oregon coast – any other time of year is just too muddy! Rain boots are another great option for muddy trails, and are definitely the easiest to clean.

Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry.  Download Lolli here!

Rain Jacket or Windbreaker

The Oregon Coast is known for moody weather. It rains often, but even if rain isn’t in the forecast, I recommend bringing a windbreaker any time you’re going to be by the water. Even in the summer, the ocean “breeze” is more like a strong wind, and even on a sunny day you’ll get chilly fast!

The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a great lightweight, waterproof option for hiking in the rain. For windbreakers, the RVCA Meyer Packable Anorack Jacket is cute, and folds up nice and small! For added warmth and layering, add a a Patagonia fleece.

Backpack

You need somewhere to put your snacks! And your hiking gear, of course.

When I’m bringing my camera gear, my favorite backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. It’s definitely the best camera bag out there for hiking with photo gear. If you don’t need storage for camera stuff, I recommend an Osprey Hikelite. For day trips or short hikes when I don’t need to pack too much, I love my Topo Designs Y-Pack!

Hydration!

Especially when you’re hiking or exploring outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated! Single use water bottles are, of course, terrible for the environment, so avoid that and bring a reusable one!

For hiking, the CamelBak water reservoirs are convenient and easy – they can fit in your hiking backpack for water on the go. Nalgene water bottles are great for day to day, and if you want an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold and refreshing, Hydro Flasks are the best!

Where to Stay When You Hike the Crescent Beach Trail

If the Crescent Beach trail is a stop on your road trip, or you want to turn this into a fun getaway, there are plenty of places to stay nearby! Ecola State Park is just a few minutes north of Cannon Beach – a town with plenty of cute accomodations. Here are some of the best places to stay close to the Crescent Beach hike.

Cabins near Ecola State Park

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins, glamping sites, and more.  There are several cute cabins to stay in near Ecola State Park, adding a fun experience to your trip, and a great place to relax after a hike!

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans.

Whether you car camp, tent camp, or rent a tiny home on wheels, The Dyrt is the best way to find campsites!

A Beachfront Inn

Close to the Crescent Beach trail at Ecola State Park, you’ll find the town of Cannon Beach – with incredible getaways and places to stay for a relaxing trip! Here are a few of the best places to stay.

Tolovana Inn – a beachfront inn with an indoor saltwater pool, hot tub, and sauna!

Webb’s Scenic Surf – just steps from the beach and the iconic Haystack Rock

Puffin Place Cabana – a fully outfitted vacation home for a private stay right on the water

 

On this map, the little hiker icon will show you the exact location of the Crescent Beach trailhead, the red star is the beach, and the orange bed icons are places to stay!

Getting to the Crescent Beach Trailhead

The Crescent Beach trail is located in Ecola State Park, which is just north of Cannon Beach.

The trailhead coordinates are 45.9194338, -123.974288.

You’ll park in the main parking lot of Ecola State Park. It’s easy to find! Pay the $5 day use fee, and start your hike. The trailhead is well marked, with a big sign. It’s also right next to the bathroom, so you’ll know you’re in the right spot!

Hiking the Crescent Beach Trail

The hike begins with a somewhat steep climb through the woods. The lush greenery of the sitka spruce, alder trees, and sword fern makes for a peaceful, forested trek.

As you continue, you’ll come to a service road – once you cross, you’ll walk the trail alongside the main road for a little bit before descending down on the Crescent Beach trail. Here, you’ll get the first glimpse of the ocean, but soon, you’ll come to a gorgeous viewpoint at the clifftop, where you can see the entire beach down below. 

A viewpoint from the Crescent Beach trail in Ecola State Park, Oregon.

Keep going, and you’ll enter back into the deep woods. You’ll cross a creek before descending up, and soon, you’ll come to a junction where several trails meet. The sign will tell you where to go – follow the arrow for Crescent Beach and now, you’re getting close!

The steep switchbacks begin – you’ll go downhill first, which is easier on the lungs but can be rough on the knees, so hiking poles can help here.

The vistas of Crescent Beach will open up, and you’ll climb down a set of wooden stairs to the bottom. 

Sitka spruce trails over the hiking trail of Crescent Beach at Ecola State Park on the Oregon coast.

At the end of the Crescent Beach trail, you’ll be greeted with a vast view of the ocean – and even if there are other hikers around, the beach is so big it’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself! Explore the driftwood lined shores, marvel at the distant sea stacks, and if the tide is low, climb on some of the rocks for a different view. It’s a great place to relax with some snacks, before beginning the uphill trek back!

Sea stacks and rock formations at Crescent beach in Ecola State Park in Oregon.
Sea stacks and rock formations at Crescent beach in Ecola State Park in Oregon.
A girl is walking on the san at Crescent Beach in Ecola State Park, Oregon.

More Hikes Near the Crescent Beach Trail

Have you hiked the Crescent Beach Trail at Ecola State Park, or any of these other hikes on the Oregon Coast? Let me know in the comments below! 

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