Oswald West State Park is a hidden gem along the historic Oregon Coast on U.S. Highway 101. With suspension bridges, tunnels that lead to hikes, hidden coves, viewpoints and beaches, it is hard to beat the beautiful views this park has to offer.
The park is named after Oswald West, one of Oregon’s governors who was said to be intelligent, known for his humor and extremely charismatic. He is famously remembered for his open mind, support of women’s suffrage and his concern for the future of Oregon’s natural resources as an early conservationist around the year of 1913.
With over 2,484 acres along the Oregon Coast and countless miles of trails to explore, Oswald West is the perfect place for a lazy Sunday drive with a view — or a challenging 13 mile hike along the Oregon Coast Trail that weaves through the park.
Finding your hike
There are countless trails to choose from and all varying in levels and expertise. More information on a trail’s difficulty can be found on the Oregon State Park’s website.
However, most trails in this state park are not paved or biker friendly, so a good pair of hiking boots or sturdy tennis shoes are an absolute must. Especially in the wetter and rainy months.
With easy access from U.S. Highway 101, Short Sand Beach Trailhead is an absolute must hike.
The short ½ mile winding trail through lush green forest and muddy banks upon Short Sand Creek leads to Short Sand Beach. This beach is perfect for sand castle building, big wave surfing, tide pool exploring and the best secluded beach for kids and dogs to explore, run and play on during a pristine winter day.
The view from the picnic area and the beach makes the slightly muddy trek all worthwhile. With birds chirping in the distance, almost rhythmically to the sound of the waves as they splash on the rocks in the distance, it’s hard to believe that it is the middle of winter in the Pacific Northwest.
A diverse escape
But Oswald West State park has more to offer than dense temperate rainforest trails that are a signature staple to Oregon hiking. Gorgeous secluded beaches and beautifully crafted suspension and railroad-style bridges within the hikes are just some of what is in store on a typical hike in the state park. Oswald West also has arguably some of the best overlooking views and whale watching viewpoints in the Pacific Northwest.
Neahkahnie Mountain, also right off of Highway 101 in Oswald West State Park, is one of the highest points on the Oregon coast. At 1,661 feet, it overlooks Nehalem Bay. With the high vantage point it is ample for the perfect sunset shot, family photo, offers the best lighting for selfies by a mile and creates a fabulous overlook for whale watching.
Whether Oswald West is a stop to stretch your legs during a road trip or a 13 mile workout on the Oregon Coast Trail, the state park is the perfect place to take everything in.
From the salty fresh air mixed delicately with the muddy forest floor to the sound of the wind and waves in the distance that climbs up cliff or weaves through the trees, Oswald West State Park is one of the most gorgeous destinations on the Oregon Coast and is perfect for a day hike, family picnic, camping or just a quick stop to admire the view.