3 Easy Hikes Near Florence, Oregon Things To Do by JetSettingFools.com

3 Easy Hikes Near Florence, Oregon

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Hiking is one of the best things to do on the Oregon coast! Miles of trails stretch out along the coastline – and we discovered a few of the state’s top hikes near Florence, Oregon.

Both state and national parks abound in the area around Florence, providing abundant access to nature via trails and lookout points. Lace up your shoes and head out on our three recommended Oregon Coast hikes!

In addition to our featured Florence, Oregon hikes, we also offer recommendations for what gear you will need – and we also provide top tips for things to do and where to stay in Florence at the end of the post.

 

Best Hikes Near Florence, Oregon

Trekkers who go hiking near Florence, Oregon won’t be disappointed; the scenery is simply stunning. The area features massive sand dunes, mossy forests, babbling streams, sandy beaches and picture-perfect lighthouses – all of which are accessible via our recommended Florence, Oregon hiking trails. 

Visitors who want to see the varied landscapes can follow in our footsteps to three easy hikes near Florence, Oregon. Hikers will discover hidden beaches, dense forests, dramatic cliffs and flowing waterfalls. 

 

#1 Sweet Creek Falls Trail

Sweet Creek Falls is one of the best hikes near Florence, Oregon that is off the coast. Rather than following the coastline, this trail leads inland to some of the best waterfalls near Florence, Oregon.

About the Sweet Creek Waterfalls Hike in Oregon

Within moments of beginning the hike at the Homestead Trailhead, we could already hear the gurgling water of Sweet Creek rushing over rocks towards the Siuslaw River.

Under towering evergreens, we quickly met up with the creek – a series of small, tumbling waterfalls – and followed the water’s edge. The easy trail, a combination of dirt and raised walkways, stretches 2.2 miles and ends at the cascading Sweet Creek Falls.

Along the Sweet Creek Trail Oregon trek, side paths lead down to the water where hikers are welcome to cool their feet or take a swim.

How To Get To Sweet Creek Falls

MAP. The Homestead Trailhead is about a half-hour drive inland from Florence. From Florence, take Highway 126 to Mapleton; turn right to cross the bridge (staying on 126); take the first right onto Sweet Creek Road. Follow Sweet Creek Road 11 miles to the Homestead Trailhead. No fee to park; restrooms. The Sweet Creek Falls Trail is part of the Siuslaw National Forest.

Click here for a trail map. Click here for more information.

 

#2 Tahkenitch Creek Trail

The Tahkenitch Creek Trail features many unique aspects of the diverse Oregon coast – from wooded paths to sandy dunes. The diversity makes it one of the best hikes near Florence, Oregon.

The trail consists of two loops and a long stretching path that leads south to a wide, flat beach (where Snowy Plover birds nest during the summer months). There are options to detour onto other trails; the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail to the east over the top of the dunes or to the south to Threemile Lake.

About Tahkenitch Hikes on the Oregon Coast

We started the Tahkentich Creek hike without a specific route in mind – but the beach was our destination. As we headed south toward the beach, we stayed on the east side of the loops, but then took the western side of the loops on our return trip. The total distance of our hike was about 5 miles. 

Throughout the coastal hike, the path changed from shaded dirt trails through coastal forest to sandy paths that followed the edge of dunes. We found it somewhat challenging to hike through the soft sand (it would have been easier if we had hiking poles!), but the hike itself was fairly easy with little elevation change. 

How To Get To Tahkenitch Creek Trailhead

MAP. The Tahkenitch Creek Trailhead is about 13 miles south of Florence on the west side of the 101. The parking lot is well marked with signs – and a Recreation Pass is required. The Day Use permit costs $5 and can be purchased online.

Click here here for a trail map; or click here for more trail information (including pass info!). 

Note: There is no Fee Box at the Tahkenitch Creek Trailhead, but there is one just about a mile south at the Tahkenitch Campground and Tahkenitch Dunes Trailhead. (Just remember to bring a pen and $5 cash or check for payment to complete the form!) 

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#3 Heceta Head Trails: Hobbit Beach Trail, Lighthouse Trails, Valley Trail and China Creek Loop

Heceta Head, home to the famous Heceta Lighthouse and Hobbit Beach, boast absolutely amazing trails. In fact, the area is home to multiple of our favorite hikes in Florence, Oregon, including Hobbit, Lighthouse, Valley and China Creek trails. 

Each trail can be completed as an out-and-back…or the incredible Florence hikes can be combined into one longer trail. The Oregon nature walks can be accessed by three parking lots. 

To best help you plan your route at Heceta Head, we detail each of the Florence, Oregon hiking trails below and provide tips on how to best combine the trails. We also include a helpful Oregon Coast hiking trail map of the Heceta Head hikes as well.

 

Hobbit Trail Oregon (Option A)

The Hobbit Trail is one of the easiest hiking trails near Florence, Oregon – and also one of the most popular. The trail begins along the Oregon Coastal Highway and winds through the forest down to Hobbit Beach Oregon. 

 
About the Hobbit Trail: Florence, Oregon

The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Hobbit Beach Trailhead is located on the west side of Highway 101. Once on the Oregon Coast Hobbit Trail, we were enveloped in a surreal enchanted-like forest. Following the path to the right, we were surrounded by the twisted, moss-covered trees that line the narrow path.

Sunlight filtered through the high canopy along the Oregon Hobbit Trail, illuminating the moss and making it seem as if we were looking through a green-tinted lens. The zigzagging .5-mile path descends steeply to a natural tunnel that opens onto the wide, secluded Hobbit Beach.

 
How To Get To Hobbit Trail Oregon

MAP. The Hobbit Trail in Oregon is about a half-hour drive north of Florence. From Florence, take Highway 101 past the Sea Lion Cave and Heceta Head Lighthouse to Mile Marker 177. After passing the Lighthouse, begin slowing down as the small parking area comes up quickly. When the road stops curving, you are almost to the parking lot where you will access the Hobbit Trail trailhead.

Pull into the easily missed, unmarked parking area on the east side of the highway. Use caution when crossing the highway and find the marked Hobbit trailhead slightly to the north. No fee to park; no restrooms. The Hobbit Trail is part of the Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park.

Click here for a trail map. Click here for more information (or scroll to bottom for our Hobbit Trail map).

 

Heceta Head Trail (Option B)

Starting at the same trailhead for Hobbit Beach, hikers can follow the trail to the left toward Heceta Head Lighthouse. Significantly more challenging than Hobbit Trail, we think it is well worth the effort and one of the best hikes in Oregon!

 
About the Heceta Head Trail

The 1.5-mile trail dips into a gorge then rises over two hills before descending to the famed Heceta Head Lighthouse. 

While hiking through the gorge, we had open views of the surrounding forest and the sound of the cars on the highway rapidly dissipated. As we crested the hill, the forest grew dark and dense, most of the sunlight blocked by the thick, wind-carved foliage.

Lookout points offer wonderful glimpses down the rugged landscapes, which is why it ranks as one of the best hikes on the Oregon Coast. We highly recommend making the short detours to look at the beach below. On the final approach to Heceta Head, the elevated path gives a extraordinary bird’s eye view of the lighthouse.

Volunteers give free lighthouse tours – at 11:00am and 3:00pm – and a brief history of the lighthouse, which allowed us time to rest before making the return trek to the car.

 
How To Get To Haceta Head Trailhead

The best way to access the Heceta Head hiking trail is to use the same parking lot as listed above for the Hobbit Trail near Florence, Oregon.

Alternatively, visitors can park at the lighthouse, which we provide a bit more information about in a minute.

Click here for a trail map (note: there is another trail labeled Heceta Lighthouse Trail on map and marked in red; the black dotted line from the lighthouse north to the parking symbol is the Heceta Head Trail). Click here for more information (scroll to bottom for map).

 

Valley Trail and China Creek Loop (Option C)

The Valley trailhead is located on the south end of the parking lot for the Hobbit and Lighthouse trails. While most visitors are eager to embark on hikes to the beach or the lighthouse, the Valley Trail goes relatively unnoticed.

 
About Valley Trail and China Creek Loop Hiking Trails Florence, Oregon

We also were so enamored with the Lighthouse and Hobbit Trail that we put off hiking the Valley Trail and the connecting China Creek Loop for way too long. In hindsight, it is a shame, because these easy hikes are absolutely gorgeous – and, in our opinion, combine as some of the best hikes near Florence, Oregon.

The Valley Trail slowly descends into a forested valley passing by streams, ponds and meadows. After about 1 mile, the China Creek Loop breaks off to the right/east (it is well marked with a signpost). Hikers can complete the half-mile loop and then return to the parking lot via the Valley Trail. 

 
How To Get To Valley (and China Creek) Trailhead

To access these easy hikes in Oregon, use the same parking lot as listed above for the Hobbit Trail in Florence, Oregon.

Alternatively, hikers can use the Carl G. Washburne Memorial Park Day Use parking lot (north of the Hobbit Trail lot, on the west side of the 101 – MAP); then complete the hike in reverse from our notated instructions. 

Click here for a trail map (you will find it at the bottom of the document). 

 

Combine These Florence, Oregon Hiking Trails: Valley Trail + China Creek Loop + Valley Trail + Beach Trek + Hobbit Trail (Option D)

While each of the above hiking trails in Oregon are fabulous on their own, we think combining them is even better. Oregon hikers who want to embark on a longer trek can combine the three Oregon Coast hikes into one long hike.

 
About Combining Hiking Trails Oregon Coast

We think the best way to combine the hikes is by starting on the Valley Trail. Hikers can decide to include the China Creek Loop or bypass it (but we vote for including it!). Either way, complete the Valley Trail to the Carl G Washburne Campsite. There, cross Highway 101 (the road does get busy, so be patient and wait for a break in traffic) to the Carl G Washburne Day Use parking area.

Walk straight onto a path that leads into a twisted grove of trees. At the end of the short trail are free restrooms – and the trail next to them on the left leads down to the beach (marked on the beach by a large 92 sign). 

Walk south on the hard packed sand beach for about 1.5 miles toward Heceta Headland. Find the yellow 93 sign, which marks the trailhead for the Hobbit Trail. Make the inclined hike through the captivating nature and back to the 101 and the parking lot. 

This route – our favored way to make the trek – is about 4 miles. We recommend hikers complete the hike counterclockwise, especially if the northerly winds are high on the beach, because this way the wind will be at your back.

Hikers eager for more Oregon Coast exploring can continue their trek by completing the Heceta Head Trail to the Heceta Lighthouse from the end of the Hobbit Trail. This route will add another 3 miles to your hike. 

Pro Tip: Because this route includes walking on the beach, we recommend looking at the tide charts prior to beginning the hike. 

 

Alternate Hike: Heceta Lighthouse Trail + Heceta Head Trail + Valley Trail + China Creek Loop + Beach Trek + Hobbit Trail + Heceta Head Trail +Heceta Lighthouse Trail (Option E)

Rather than beginning at the Hobbit Beach Trailhead, trekkers will begin this hike along the Oregon Coast at the main entrance to the Heceta Lighthouse. (Parking information below.) This route is about 7.5 miles.  

 
About the Combined Trails for Hiking near Florence, Oregon

From the Heceta Lighthouse Trailhead, follow the wide, inclined path toward the lighthouse. Along this popular portion of the trail, there are phenomenal views of Cape Cove to the south. Just before arriving at the lighthouse, follow the ascending stairs into the forest; this marks the beginning of the Heceta Head Trail. 

Stay on the path until it reaches the highway; cross the 101 and join the Valley Trail. Take the China Creek Loop and continue to the Carl G. Washburne camp grounds. Cross the 101 again toward the beach and walk south on the beach to the Hobbit Trail (marked 93). At the end of the Hobbit Trek, follow the trail back to the lighthouse. 

Before leaving, be sure to check out Cape Cove Beach. Visitors are free to climb over the rocks on the north end of the beach for spectacular views of the ocean. Peer into the narrow cove just below the lighthouse and look for Harbor Seals!

Top Tip: If your visit coincides with low tide, be sure to check the tidal pools for bright orange and purple starfish!

 

Shorter Oregon Coast Hiking Trails From Heceta Head Lighthouse (Option F)

If a 8-mile hike doesn’t interest you, consider combining three trails – Lighthouse, Heceta Head and Hobbit Trail – for a 5-mile out-and-back hike.

 
About the Combined Hikes on Oregon Coast

Start on the Lighthouse Trail, hook up with the Heceta Head Trail and merge onto the Hobbit Trail Oregon Coast path and complete the final half mile down to Hobbit Beach.

 
How To Get To Heceta Lighthouse Trailhead

MAP. From Florence, Oregon, follow the signs to the Heceta Lighthouse. When traveling north on the 101, Lighthouse visitors cross Cape Creek Bridge and make a right-hand turn onto Cape Creek Road, which curves back to the coast underneath the bridge. The parking lot, right on Cape Cove Beach, is a Day Use lot that requires a fee ($5 USD, paid via credit card at the machine). 

If driving south on the 101 (coming from north of Florence), there is a right turn to Heceta Lighthouse that is well marked.

 

Heceta Head Hikes Map

Our Heceta Head and Hobbit Trail Oregon Map provides a rough guideline to the intertwining Florence hiking trails.  

Florence Hikes at Heceta Head MAP


 

More Hiking In Oregon

We have highlighted the best hiking in Florence, Oregon – but there is abundant nature in the region. There are numerous beautiful hikes in Oregon – on the coast and inland – that are just a short drive from Florence!

 

Coastal Hikes North of Florence, Oregon

The coastline from Florence north to Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful stretches of nature in the United States. We highly recommend driving the route – and give specific details for things to see in our blog post, Driving the Oregon Coast. In addition to the stunning scenic landscapes, the region is also home to some of the best hiking trails in Oregon.

 

Cape Lookout

We think one of the best Oregon Coast hikes located north of Florence is at Cape Lookout State Park. More specifically, the Cape Lookout Trail ranks as one of the best places to hike in Oregon. Located near Tillamook, the earthy trail provides stunning views. Find details on the official site and a map here

 

Cape Perpetua

Other popular Oregon Coast trails north of Florence are on Cape Perpetua. In fact, the cape offers some of the top hikes in Oregon. A single trailhead is the starting point for several Cape Perpetua hikes, including numerous hikes along the Oregon Coast. Find more info about the Oregon walks here

 

Hikes on the Coast South of Florence, Oregon

Traveling south of Florence offers plenty of opportunities for hikes along Oregon Coast, too. Some of the best coastal hikes in Oregon can be found in nearby Reedsport and Coos Bay.

 

Reedsport Hikes

Traveling south on the 101 from Florence, near Reedsport, is Hall and Schuttpelz Lakes. The trek at Hall and Schuttpelz Lakes features lakeside dirt trails and sand dunes. The Siuslaw National Forest hiking trail is a great way to experience the diverse terrain of the region. 

The trail begins on Hall Lake which is bordered on the west by high sand dunes. Hikers can complete the circumference trail around Hall Lake and/or break off into the sand dunes to find Schuttpelz Lake. Use Wildwood Drive to find the trailhead. There is no fee to park; restrooms. Use this link for a Trail Map. 

 

Coos Bay Hikes

Coos Bay, a major southern Oregon coastal destination, lies about an hour drive south of Florence. If you want to go hiking on the Oregon Coast, Coos Bay is a fabulous place to do it. 

One of the best hikes near Coos Bay is an 8.5-mile shoreline trail that connects three state parks – Sunset Bay, Shore Acres and Cape Arago. Use this map for the trailhead.

The Coos Bay hiking trail climbs over bluffs with ocean and lighthouse views and descends to nearly secluded beaches. Completing the entire hike in an out-and-back fashion is a little ambitious – simply due to the length. We recommend breaking this easy Oregon Coast hikes into different sections. For example, we parked at the Lighthouse Viewpoint and hiked north to Sunset Beach. Another popular section is from Arago Beach to the Simpson Reef Viewpoint. 

 

Waterfall Hikes Near Florence, Oregon

Sweet Creek Trail is the only Florence waterfall hike we have completed, but there are others that can be reached within a couple of hours. 

 

Kentucky Falls Hike near Mapleton

The Kentucky Falls Trail features two beautifully streaming waterfalls. The trail itself gets rave reviews, but we have been hesitant to attempt it as fellow trekkers have said the road to the trailhead can be a bit challenging. Map.

 

Silver Falls State Park

One of the best places in Oregon to hike to waterfalls is the Silver Falls State Park near Salem. It is a 2.5 hour drive to the park from Florence, but it is worth it for the 9-mile trail that passes by 10 waterfalls. Map

 

Tamolitch Waterfalls Hike

For another easy in-and-out Oregon hike that is a 2.5 hour drive inland from Florence (or perhaps on your way to Bend, Oregon) is the incredible Tamolitch Blue Pool Hike

The Best Hikes in Florence and Oregon Coast by JetSettingFools.com


 

What You Will Need For Oregon Hikes

Before you hit the trails, make sure you are prepared for hiking in Oregon by packing these necessities! 

 

Hiking Shoes for the Best Trails in Oregon

While hiking boots are not necessary for our recommended easy hikes near Florence, Oregon, comfortable travel shoes are required.

I have hiked the trails in Oregon in shoes by Columbia and Skechers (and I even hiked the Hobbit Beach trail in my Reef flip flops once…but I don’t recommend it!). Kris prefers wearing these all-terrain shoes by Merrell when hiking in Oregon.

 

Travel Camera for the Most Beautiful Hikes in Oregon

We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos – the coastline is so beautiful! Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos.

We travel with a Canon Rebel and use an everyday 18-135mm lens. However, for even better photos on the Oregon Coast hiking trails, we recommend using a zoom lens. 

If you are looking for a budget camera for your hikes near Florence, we recommend using a Canon PowerShot ELPH. The affordable camera takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – which is ideal for Oregon hikers.

 

Hiking Poles for Coast Hikes Oregon

We don’t use hiking poles, but we saw many hikers with them (and, we have to admit, we were a little bit jealous!). Oregon Coast hiking trails can range from steep climbs to sandy paths – and hiking poles will help! These lightweight hiking poles are highly recommended by fellow hikers. 

 

Water Bottle for Hiking near Florence 

There are no clean, fresh water sources on any of the Oregon hikes that we recommend – so you need to bring plenty with you on your hikes near Florence! For travelers, these collapsible water bottles are ideal!

 

Sunscreen, Hat and Day Bag for Oregon Coast Hikes

The sun is strong on the coast! Make sure to protect your skin during your Oregon hikes. We recommend slathering on the sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed travel hat. And, if the weather is rainy (which it often is on the coast!), be sure to bring a lightweight rain coat

And whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you will want your favorite day pack to organize all your essential items for your hikes in Oregon!

 

Travel Insurance for Hiking in Florence

If you are traveling to Oregon from abroad, be sure to invest in travel insurance before your trip. It is especially important when doing activities, like hiking. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.


 

Weather In Florence, Oregon

Before setting off on the best Florence, Oregon hikes, make sure to check the current weather conditions. 

Overall, Florence, Oregon weather is temperate, with sunny and cool summers and cloudy and wet winters. The best time to visit Florence, OR is in the summer and autumn – especially if hiking!

Be cautious when hiking Florence, Oregon after it rains, as the trails (especially the Heceta Head Trail) can be very muddy and slippery. 

Checking tide charts for Florence is also imperative if your hiking includes any of the beaches. 

Check Weather.com for the current forecast and check Florence, Oregon tides here

 

Hikes In Florence, Oregon Map

Use this link to Google Maps for an online version of the Florence, OR hiking map.

Hikes Near Florence Oregon Map by JetSettingFools.com

So, where is Florence, Oregon? Use this link to Google Maps to get directions to Florence, Oregon from your location! Want a good paper map? Buy this good city map prior to your trip.  


 

More Things To Do In Florence, Oregon

While hiking in Florence, Oregon is one of our favorite things to do, it isn’t the only activity! While in town, make sure to check out other fun Florence, Oregon things to do.

Some of the top activities are strolling through the picturesque Florence Old Town, going to the beach, visiting the Sea Lions Cave and dining on delicious seafood. 

Use our guide to the absolute Best Things to do in Florence, Oregon!


 

Lodging In Florence, Oregon

Travelers wondering where to stay in Florence, Oregon have quite a few choices – from hotels to Airbnb Apartments to campgrounds. 

Hotels In Florence, Oregon

Many of the hotels and motels in Florence, Oregon are located along Highway 101. However, most of the hotels get below-average reviews. We recommend staying in the Old Town at The River House Inn. For a beachfront hotel, we think Driftwood Shores Resort offers nice rooms-with-a-view. 

Use our tips for booking hotels and start your search for top-rated hotels for your upcoming trip on Booking.com – like we do!

 

Florence, Oregon Camping

Surrounded by lush nature, there are many Florence, Oregon campgrounds for visitors who would rather camp than stay in a hotel. Alder Dune Campground, which is within the Siuslaw National Forest, is highly rated by fellow travelers for camping near Florence, OR. 

 

Start planning your trip to the Oregon Coast! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

More Great Hikes In The USA

Not only do we love seeking out the best places to hike in Oregon, but around the country! We have rounded up our tips for our favorite hikes in the USA.

Our detailed guides will get you outside Hiking Glacier National Park, on the Trails Near Columbus, Ohio and up the Best Peaks In Phoenix, AZ!

 

USA Road Trips

Road trips around the US is a great way to get out of the city and into nature! We highlight some of our favorite US road trips in our guides for Montana, the California Coast and the Oregon Coastline!

 

Pacific Coast Destinations

We have heaps of recommendations for destinations in the Pacific Northwest! Use our guides for sightseeing in Bend, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver WA, and Spokane.

 

Visiting More Top Attractions in the USA?

Read our detailed guides to NOLA, Austin, DC, Philly, New York City, Flagstaff AZ, a Weekend In San Diego or Denver CO and the best sights of San Francisco!

 

We want to know: What are your favorite hikes near Florence, Oregon? Tell us in the comments!

 

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3 Easy Hikes and Things To Do in Florence, Oregon by JetSettingFools.com

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18 thoughts on “3 Easy Hikes Near Florence, Oregon

  1. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!! Wow. I’ve never been to aquario or many of these places in USA – only in LA, and San Fran. Definitely adding these to my must visit list!!

  2. Oh beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go to Oregon and hike through there. It looks so beautiful and reminds me a lot of Denver/Colorado Mountains 🙂

    • It’s about a 4 hour drive from Portland to FLorence. There are several nice hikes north along the coast – one of our favs is Cape Lookout State Park (so not as far as Florence…or something to see along the way). 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  3. oregon follower

    Thanks for the “nod”.

    Thanks for the “nod”. Florence is a great place to live…never too hot or too cold. In addition to walking the various trails, it’s great walking on the beach.

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