Where is Ecola State Park
Located on the picturesque western coast of Oregon, Ecola State Park is both a natural wonder and a pop culture icon. The US State Park protects a lush Sitka spruce forest that winds along the Oregon coastline and reveals photography worthy views of the Pacific Ocean. Ecola State Park also provided the setting for movies such as The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Point Break, and Twilight. The scenery of this pacific northwest state park first became popular in 1806, when the Corps of Discovery ventured across the region’s entanglement of terrain to inspect a beached whale that washed up on shore. The state park lies only a few minutes from the town of Cannon Beach and 70 miles or an hour and a half from Portland. Seattle, Oregon is further north and about 200 miles away or three and a half hours away.
How Big is Ecola State Park
Stretching between the coastal towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park consists of nine miles of coastline. In other terms, the state park is around 61,000 square feet in size. The park offers 16 miles of hiking trails split between an eight miles segment of the Oregon Coast Trail, the Clatsop Loop Trail, and the Tillamook Head Trail. The park allows visitors to access Crescent beach, Indian Beach, and Ecola Point. These three-day use areas span across the park and the Oregon coastline.
Ecola State Park Weather
Weather in the park and along the Oregon coast can be quite unpredictable. At times the weather is calm, sunny, and clear. Though, other times the coast is bombarded with sudden rain, wind, and thunderstorms. On average, the park experiences around 150 days of rain a year. The parks lowest annual temperature averages around 37 degrees and the park’s highest annual temperature averages around 67 degrees. The park’s temperatures peak in July, August, and September and trough in the months of December, January, and February.
When did Ecola become a State Park
Ecola State Park was originally developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park System between the years of 1934 and 1941. The original portion of land, which included 451 acres and much of today’s coastal area in the park, was acquired from several private owners and the federal government. The Tillamook Head Trail that extends from Cannon Beach to Seaside was dedicated in 1972. The trail honors the park’s Tillamook tribal heritage and the coastal route used by Captain Clark.
Things to do in Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park offers its visitors the ability to partake in a variety of outdoor activities. Our National Visitors Guide has listed below some of the most popular adventures the park offers.
Oregon Coast Trail
Also known as the OCT, the Oregon Coast Trail extends 425 miles up and down the Oregon Coast. Eight of these 425 miles lie within Ecola State Park.
Clatsop Loop Trail
Follow in the footsteps of the Corp of Discovery as you learn more about Ecola State Park’s expansive history. This 2.5-mile long historical, interpretive route features grand views and impressive scenery.
Tillamook Head Trail
This heritage trail can be started at either the Indian Beach Trailhead or the Tillamook Head Trailhead. The latter option is not within Ecola State Park. The trail takes hikers through the Sitka spruce and hemlock forest and elevates over 1,000 feet. Keep an eye out for views of Tillamook Rock Light and several World War II era bunkers left behind in and around the trail.
Picnic on the Oregon Coast
Take a midday picnic after your first hike, and soak in the park’s many views of the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Northwest region.
Visit Indian Beach
Indian beach is a secluded beach famous among surfers and wildlife observers. The beach offers visitors the ability to explore the park’s many tide pools.
Whale watching in the park is quite popular. Gray whales migrate up and down the Oregon coast throughout Winter and Spring. Bring binoculars to help you spot them.
Wildlife in Ecola State park includes more than just whales. The park also offers the opportunity to spot deer, elk, and bald eagles.
Explore the Tidepools
The many tide pools located on Indian Beach, and otherwise scattered along the coast, provide individuals of all ages the opportunity to get up close and personal with several aquatic species. Look for colorful sea stars hanging out in the pools.
When to go to Ecola State Park
A trip to Ecola State Park is the perfect option anytime of the year. Visitation to the park normally peaks throughout the summer months but is steady across the rest of the year. Visitors visiting the park in Winter will find an occasional snowfall and cooler temperatures. The park begins to warm up around March. Visitors hoping to spot whales from the park, will want to visit in the Winter or Spring. Other wildlife in the park is more prevalent in the Spring and Summer.
Things to Bring with You to Ecola State Park
Every trip outdoors requires some preparation, and a trip to Ecola State Park is no exception. Remember to bring these items List of Parks suggest below with you to ensure comfort and safety.
Whether you plan on venturing out for a hike on the park’s several trails or are just hoping to explore Indian Beach and its many tide pools, bringing water along with you is always a good idea. It is recommended that individuals bring one to two liters with them for every two miles they plan to hike.
The park offers nothing in the form of a restaurant or snack bar. Individuals looking to spend all day in the park should pack their lunch and several snacks with them. High energy snacks such as beef jerky, fruit, and trail mix will suit hikers best.
The Oregon coast and Ecola State Park is blanketed with rugged terrain. It is very easy to sprain or twist an ankle in the park. Due to this, a study pair of hiking boots is recommended for anyone looking to take on the park’s hiking trails.
Layers of Clothing
Temperatures in the park, due to weather conditions and strong gusts of wind, can vary from day to day. Visitors wearing a span of lightweight layers will experience added comfort as they remove and add layers throughout the day to their liking.
In the Pacific Northwest it rains often. These rainstorms don’t always last for too long, but they are enough to leave hikers soaked and cold. A lightweight rain jacket is recommended for every visitor of the park. Look to purchase a waterproof jacket and not one that just claims to be water resistant.
Binoculars are a must have for any visitor hoping to spot gray whales or any other wildlife throughout the park. A lightweight pair of binoculars is also the perfect addition to any hikers backpack.
While there are only a few trails located within the park, it is best if visitors locate a Ecola State Park trail map and orient themselves with the landscape. The park’s website offers printable trail maps and tide charts perfect for hikers and anyone wanting to explore the park’s tidepools.
Where to Stay Near Ecola State Park
There are no places to stay within Ecola State Park. Visitors looking to camp or reserve a hotel or other lodging should check the towns of Cannon Beach, Seaside, or Astoria. Visitors looking to travel a few hours can also stay in Portland. Visitors planning to stay in Cannon Beach, Seaside, or Astoria will want to book a place to stay well before their trip. Lodging is limited in these areas and can fill up fast in busy summer vacation months.
Food Nearby Ecola State Park
Hungry visitors, tired from a long day in the park, will want to stop in Cannon Beach or Seaside after their visit. In each town, there are several restaurants and dining choices to fill even the hungriest of hikers. Visitors looking for a regional treat can also check out the Tillamook creamery located in Tillamook. The creamery is open year round, except for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.
Airports Near Ecola State Park
The two closest, full-service airports to Ecola State Park are located in Portland and Seattle. The Portland International Airport is about 70 miles or an hour and a half drive from the park. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is about 200 miles or three and a half hours from Ecola State Park.