Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park ($3 day-use fee) is just north of the Cannon Beach town site. Thick conifer forests line the access road to Ecola Point. This forested cliff has many trails leading down to the water. The view south takes in Haystack Rock and the overlapping peaks of the Coast Range extending to Neahkahnie Mountain. This is one of the most photographed views on the Oregon coast.
Out to sea, the sight of sea lions basking on surf-drenched rocks (mid-Apr.–July) or migrating gray whales (Dec. and Mar.) and orcas (May) are seasonal highlights.
From Ecola Point, trails lead north to horseshoe-shaped Indian Beach, a favorite with surfers. Some prefer to drive the steep narrow road down to Indian Beach as a prelude to hiking up Tillamook Head, considered by Lewis and Clark the region’s most beautiful viewpoint. The 2.5-mile Clatsop Loop trail begins and ends at Indian Beach and climbs through Sitka spruce to a viewpoint. Ambitious hikers can do the first half of the loop, then continue another four miles north to Seaside.
The name Ecola means “whale” in Chinook and was first used as a place-name by William Clark, referring to a creek in the area. Lewis and Clark journals note a 105-foot beached whale found somewhere within present-day Ecola Park’s southern border, Crescent Beach. This area represents the southernmost extent of Lewis and Clark’s coastal Oregon travels.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel