Oregon Coast Trail

COVID-19 and the Oregon Coast Trail

July 14, 2020

Hike locally and help limit COVID-19's spread

Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail looks very different this year due to COVID-19. The pandemic has forced us to change all aspects of life, including outdoor recreation. Even though hiking the OCT seems safe — many sections are remote and uncrowded — an unplanned trip can put yourself and others at risk.

We are encouraging visitors to come and explore the OCT when services are back up and risk of COVID-19 exposure is lower.

Keep in mind that many of the parks along the trail are closed or have reduced services, and hiker/biker camps are closed this summer. The place you planned to refill your water, shower, or camp may not be available. Additionally, some of the towns along the OCT have vulnerable populations and are still very concerned about their capacity for healthcare. First responders are equally concerned about being put at risk.

Here’s how you can enjoy the OCT and help limit the spread of the virus.

  • Keep hikes short and local. There are many spectacular sections of the trail that can be hiked in a day or two. If you live far from the OCT, consider exploring the trails local to you.
  • Camping and water-fill stations may be closed. Make sure you know if your camp site will be available and open by checking the park status map. Same goes for water-fill stations, some may not be operating!
  • Choose less popular sections. Some sections of the OCT are popular day hikes, making physical distancing difficult.
  • Have a Plan B. If you get to the trailhead and it’s too crowded to maintain physical distance, head elsewhere. You may need to cancel your plans and consider returning during off-peak times.
  • Plan a self-supported hike. If you choose to hike outside of your community, it’s important that you bring what you need to avoid resupply stops.
  • Keep your risk low. Avoid crossing streams and hiking around rocky areas at high tide. Respect campfire restrictions. Accidents place unnecessary stress on first responders, search and rescue teams and hospital staff, and could put them at risk of exposure.

Resources

• For more information on physical distancing and planning for your hike, see our COVID-19 Day Use Guide
• Answers to frequently asked questions are on our COVID-19 Response page
• A list of closed state park facilities can be found on our status map

 


 

The majesty of Oregon's 362-mile coastline unfolds around every bend along the Oregon Coast Trail, also known as the OCT. Hikers cross sandy beaches, meander through forest-shaded corridors, traverse majestic headlands and pass through 28 coastal towns.

Oregon Coast Trail sign along forested trail

Most of the route is on the beach, although some segments wind through state parks or public lands. Generous landowners provide trail easements for portions of trail on private property. About 10 percent of the trail is on the shoulders of U.S. 101, county roads and city streets.

Maps

These maps, updated in summer 2020, are for informational purposes and may not reflect current ground conditions. The trail route may change due to safety issues, road closures or detours. Check Special Notices for closures and other alerts on sections of trail that pass through state parks.

Section 1: Columbia River to Oswald West 

Section 2: Oswald West to Cape Lookout

Section 3: Cape Lookout to Lincoln City

Section 4: Lincoln City to Waldport

Section 5: Waldport to Florence

Section 6: Florence to Reedsport

Section 7: Reedsport to Bandon

Section 8: Bandon to Port Orford

Section 9: Port Orford to Cape Sebastian

Section 10: Cape Sebastian to California

Be Prepared

Hiker/Biker campsites are at nearly every state park on the coast. The tent sites are first-come, first served and are near water, restrooms and showers. Visit Find a Park for locations and cost. Camping may also be available at parks managed by other agencies. NOTE: Hiker/Biker sites are closed in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. See our status map for details.

Beach camping is allowed in some areas, but please be aware of the tides and camp above the high tide line. Camping is prohibited within most major city limits and within or adjacent to state parks. Camping is also prohibited in western snowy plover habitat areas.

Beach fires are not allowed near driftwood piles or vegetation. Additional fire restrictions may be in place — watch for signs and check Special Notices during fire season for alerts.

Know the tides

Some areas of the trail are accessible only during certain seasons and/or only during low tide. Check the tides at tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov or pick up a free tide table at state park offices, information centers and many shops and motels. Visit our Safe Ways to Explore the Beach for more information.

Watch for nesting birds

Some Oregon beaches are protected nesting grounds for a small shorebird called the western snowy plover. During nesting season (March 15- Sept. 15), hikers on protected beaches must walk on wet sand. Also prohibited: dogs (even on a leash), camping and beach fires. Watch for signs. Visit oregon.gov/plovers for maps and more information.

Trail closures and gaps

Some sections — about 40 miles, or 10 percent of the entire route — are disconnected, inconvenient, unsafe or inaccessible during certain seasons. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Transportation, federal land managers, local governments and trail advocates are working together to close these gaps. Check back for updates. 

Some parks are open for day-use and camping, with reduced services. Check the Park Status Map and FAQ for details. Campfire restrictions may be in place.