Post by Hallmark Guest Sierra Benner
In some parts of the country, hiking in the middle of the winter is out of the question. Lucky for us, the Oregon coast is a safe haven where we can experience the outdoors even in the middle of winter!
On Christmas day, skiing was replaced with hiking as our family headed to Ecola State Park for an adventure. Once we drove past Cannon Beach, we wound through the Sitka spruce and densely green forests, emerged from the trees, and entered the park, just a 12 minute drive from Hallmark Resort & Spa Cannon Beach. The parking lot was near a grassy bluff where we could see Tillamook Lighthouse in the distance.
We decided to hike 1.25 miles to Crescent Beach. The easy-to-spot trailhead was marked by a huge sign by the restrooms. The journey started with a short ascent up some stairs. After skimming the road we had previously driven, we walked a couple of hundred feet and dove right back into the forest.
The trail wound throughout the trees and would occasionally skim a ridge overlooking the ocean, which provided us with amazing sights of the forest and coastline. There were also designated coastal lookout spots with amazing photo-ops.
The trail was extremely muddy so keep that in mind when you are preparing to hike. We advise bringing older shoes or hiking boots that you won’t mind getting dirty. Pro-tip: If you are bringing your dog along, pack an old towel that you can lay down in your car to avoid a muddy paw print mess on the seats (we learned this the hard way). There were also steep slippery spots where hiking poles would have been appreciated.
After meandering through the forest, jumping over tree roots, and avoiding the mud as best as we could, we could catch a glimpse of Crescent Beach and the rolling waves. The trees were contrasted against the bright sky.
We reached a couple of sets of stairs and were led down to the sandy shore. The beach was large enough for the few groups of families and friends to spread out, but small enough to walk to the end and back within 20 minutes. Once we had arrived, we shed our shoes and socks, rolled up our pants, and ran out to meet the gently crashing waves.
The beach was picturesque and had many aspects to explore. There was a waterfall to the left of the trailhead, cool rock formations up close and in the distance, and caves and tide pools that were accessible in low tides.
After we had wandered from one end of the beach to the other, we said our goodbyes to the sandy shore and started hiking back to the parking lot. That’s when the sun came out and brightened up the trail as light trickled in through the greenery. As the sky transitioned from cloudy to clear, we could see the famous Haystack rock and the town of Cannon Beach in the distance. We loaded up the car for the quick trip back to Hallmark Resort & Spa.
Once we were back in our room, the fireplace was a welcome sight as we took off our boots and warmed our feet by the fire. The Oregon Coast is a magical place year-round, and if you’re looking for great hikes while staying at Hallmark Resort, Crescent Beach makes for a great day with the family.