The Neahkahnie Mountain Trail climbs one of the highest peaks along the Oregon Coast, and is the highest peak along the long distance Oregon Coast Trail. The entire hike is lined in lush understory, ferns, with a canopy of douglas firs and sitka spruce trees. This hike is a difficult 3.3-mile out-and-back trek located in Oswald West State Park near Nehalem, Oregon.
There are two ways to climb the mountain, via the northern trailhead or via the southern trailhead. The southern approach is not only shorter, but has less elevation gain.
The trail starts off with a series of switchbacks as it ascends the southern slope of Neahkahnie Mountain, before rounding around the southeastern slope of the mountain. The forest is mostly shady, with a few breaks on the switchback portions. Once it gains a ridge, a large clearing will be found, and an old jeep road following the ridgecrest. Continue across the clearing to keep following the trail.
The trail then skirts the mountain just below the summit ridge, along a steep slope. A few more short switchbacks take you to just below the top of the mountain. A short scramble path across roots and exposed rock takes you to the true summit. The summit is narrow and exposed, but lots of places to sit down and watch the view. When I was there, there was a large crowd of people at the top. Expect to find crowds here on most summer days, and certainly on summer weekends. Views of the community of Nehalem, the Nehalem Bay, and the Pacific Ocean are found at the summit. The view directly west and north towards the ocean is blocked by trees, though.
Dogs are allowed if leashed and their waste must be carried out by the hiker.
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