High Point: 500'
DirectionsTo reach the southern trailhead at Paradise Point, drive north from Port Orford for one mile, turn left on Paradise Point Road, and follow this route for one mile to the parking lot overlooking the ocean. The northern trailhead can be reached by driving First Street through Bandon, and then Jetty Street to a parking area along the Coquille River. This trip is easily done one-way, since buses travel between Port Orford and Bandon. For a schedule, call Curry County Public Transit.
**This trail requires the crossing of several rivers, which during the summers should pose no serious problems. However, during the wetter spring months, some of these crossings can become dangerous.
From the southern trailhead, follow the short trail down to the beach, and start walking north--the beach is the trail through most of the trip. The southern section of the trip follows the cliff-lined beach for about two-and-a-half miles, until the New River flattens out the terrain. There are three main arteries of water which must me dealt with on this trip, this being the first. This river wasnt too bad to cross during our mid-March trip (the water came up to our waists), but during some winters and springs, the river could be quite a bit more difficult. As with all of the river crossings on this trip, check your tide table so that you can absorb as little water as possible.
Once past the New River, the cliffs once again build, eventually ending at at Cape Blanco, where the trail becomes a road which climbs steeply up the side of the hill. The view from Cape Blanco is great, and other than the strong winds, a nice place to eat lunch. Near the viewing area and parking lot, the trail descends back down to the beach on the north side of the cape. The beach is nice from here until the Sixes River, which is the next major obstacle of this hike.
We ended up hitting the Sixes River during high tide, which I would recommend avoiding. At our time of crossing, the river came up to our shoulders, but the seals swimming around us did add a new aspect to our hiking trip! If the river crossings are too hazardous to cross, there is a State Park near the south shore of the river, which provides access to Highway 101. There is also a road to the north of the river which can be used.
The next mile is a nice walk along the beach, allowing you to dry off from your dip in the river. Follow the beach as far as you can, and then scramble up the grassy slopes of Blacklock Point. There are several trails leading up the hill, and several places which are ideally suited to having lunch or taking a nap. Once on top of Blacklock point, hikers are greeted with a pretty nice trail--at least the first part. After a couple miles, the trail soon becomes hard to follow. If the tide is out, the beach walk is very nice and much easier to follow. Eventually, after a mile of beach walking or wandering around trying to find the right trail, you come to Floras Lake.
Past the lake, the beach remains nice, but soon becomes rather boring. There are no jagged or sculptural sea stacks to enjoy or any cool tidal pools, so we jumped over the sand bluff and followed the New River. Their are many birds and other types of wildlife along the river, and the packed dirt is much easier to walk on than trudging through the sand. After following the river for seven miles, the last river crossing is encountered...the New River. Once again, our timing was a little off, and we ended up crossing this river near high tide, and once again, we got really wet. This river came up to our chests, but it is actually probably pretty easy to cross once the tide drops.
The beach after the New River soon becomes State Park property, so expect the quietness that you experienced south of the river to end. Not to worry though, with the added people, the scenery gets increasingly interesting. Five miles past the crossing, the beach becomes littered with offshore rocks and crags, but unfortuneately the addition of houses overlooking the spectacular coastline becomes a constant presence. The spectacular coastline continues all the way to Bandon, where you can flag down a bus and for a few bucks, get shuttled back to your car at Paradise Point.