Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation gain: 1,300 ft.
Location: North Oregon Coast
The views from Neahkahnie Mountain (1,680 ft.) are some of the best in the north Oregon coast. Jutting up directly next to the ocean and Highway 101, Neahhaknie Mountain is part of Oswald West State Park, located north of Manzanita, Oregon and Nehalem Bay. With two trailheads, it is possible to do this as a one-way hike, but it would require either a car shuttle or a 1.5 mile walk along busy 101 highway. To hike from the more scenic north trailhead, park at a small pullout on the highway on the north side of the mountain and cross the highway.
The beginning section of the trail switchbacks up the slope of the mountain through a tunnel-like path of salal, ferns and berry shrubs, with occasional views of the ocean, Cape Falcon and Smuggler’s Cove. After a short distance, the trail then enters the forest and continues up the north side of the mountain through varying types of forest, mostly with an undergrowth of ferns and salal, but a couple of sections are much darker, drier and completely devoid of undergrowth. Coming around the west side of the mountain, the trail drops to a small saddle, then begins climbing to the south summit area.
The views to the south suddenly open in a rocky area of the trail, and there is a steep scramble up the rock to the summit, but it’s much easier to reach the top if you continue a short distance until a sharp turn in the trail leads to a hillside of tree roots that provide steps up the slope and lead to a small rocky spine to the top. At the rocky summit, take in the views looking directly down at Manzanita and Nehalem Bay, and on a clear day, look out all the way to Cape Lookout. Return the same way.