Six fun facts about the Oregon Coast Trail

oregon coast trail facts

1. Known as “The Father of the Oregon Coast Trail,” Samuel Newton Dicken, PhD., was a professor and former head of the University of Oregon’s geography department from 1947-1963. A Kentucky native who earned his doctorate at Cal-Berkeley, Dicken outlined his plan for the trail in the 1950s. Dicken, who also wrote the 1971 book “Pioneer Trails of the Oregon Coast,” was hired by the Oregon State Parks to craft an initial plan for the trail (“A Plan for the Oregon Coast Hiking Trail”).

2. Nearly 200 miles of the 350-mile trail are along Oregon beaches, which are designated public thanks to 1967 legislation known as the “Beach Bill.”

3. The Oregon Coast Trail begins at the Columbia River's south jetty in Fort Stevens State Park at the northern tip of Oregon and runs to the south end of the Crissey Field State Recreation Site, which borders the California state line.

4. At 1661 feet, the highest point of the Oregon Coast Trail is on mighty Neahkahnie Mountain in Oswald West State Park, between Arch Cape and Manzanita.

5. A 2011 Oregon Parks & Recreation Department report identified 30+ gaps (about 50 miles) in the Oregon Coast Trail, ranging from natural hazards to dangerous highway crossings and tunnels.

6. In 1988, over a 30-day period, former schoolteacher Al LePage became the first person to hike the entire length of the Oregon Coast Trail, deeming the trail “hikeable.” Six years later, LePage would found the National Coast Trail Association, serving as its director.