The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic CorridorPin

The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor

The rain pitter-pattered on our windshield as we glanced at each other with a defeated look. As our window to the outside world started to blur with the heavier rain, we pulled on our raincoats and secured our gear. After a few more moments, we each took a deep breath and stepped outside into the cold rain.

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets. Okay, it might not be that much of a secret on instagram, but because it’s located on the southwest corner of Oregon, not many people make it there. If you’re ever close by, we highly recommend giving yourself a couple of days to explore the area.

For our road trip down the entire Oregon Coast, we ended the trip at Samuel H. Boardman. It rained the entire time (just our luck because it’s supposed to be much sunnier than the rest of the Oregon coast), but we still did some short hikes and it was enough to fall in love with the park.

The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman State Park Brookings OR //

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Last Updated: May 31, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor

The corridor stretches 12 miles along the coast, and as the name suggests, is full of beautiful scenery. The area is full of huge Sitka spruce trees, rugged coastline, and small sandy beaches. You can also walk 27 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail within the corridor.

Places to See at Samuel H Boardman - Viewpoints

Although you can hike the park to see all the connected viewpoints, if you don’t have a lot of time and just want see as much as possible, you can stop by all of these spots. The parking lot usually takes you directly to the view or the viewpoint is just a short walk from the lot. Starred are the most popular spots.

  1. *Arch Rock (Mile 344.8) – they have bathrooms
  2. Spruce Island (Mile 345.0)
  3. *Thunder Rock Cove (Mile 345.8)
  4. *Natural Bridges (Mile 346.0)
  5. North Island (Mile 347.4)
  6. Thomas Creek Bridge (Mile 347.8)
  7. Indian Sands (Mile 348.6)
  8. Whaleshead Viewpoint (Mile 349.3)
  9. House Rock Viewpoint (Mile 351.2)
  10. Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint (Mile 351.9)
  11. Lone Ranch Picnic Area (Mile 352.6)
Natural Bridges Hike in Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor Brookings Oregon //
Natural Bridges Hike in Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor Brookings Oregon //
Arch Rock at Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor //

Recommended Hikes

If you have a bit more time, it’s worth hitting the trails! You can get better views of the coasts and find secret and secluded spots.

Arch Rock Point & Spruce Island Viewpoints Trail

Distance: 0.2 mile loop
Elevation Change: 29 ft
Difficulty: Easy

This is one of the more iconic spots in Samuel H. Boardman. The short loop trail takes you to a few overlooks and a small window amongst the trees to gaze upon Arch Rock below.

Arch Rock Point Hike + Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor Brookings Oregon //

Secret Beach

Distance: 0.2 mile
Elevation Change: 364 ft
Difficulty: Easy

This is definitely worth the stop! There is a way to get here via Thunder Rock Cove, but if you pull out .6 miles south of Arch Rock Picnic Area, there is a small area to park behind the guard rail and a trail that takes you straight the beach. It’s the third pullout going south after Arch Rock.

Secret Beach Hike + The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor Brookings Oregon //
Secret Beach, Samuel Boardman Park, Oregon Coast //
Secret Beach, Samuel H Boardman Park, Oregon Coast //
Secret Beach, Brookings, Oregon Coast //

Natural Bridges to North Island Viewpoint (China Beach) Trail

Distance: 0.5 mile
Elevation Change: 160 ft
Difficulty: Easy

A short walk from the parking lot will take you to one of the best viewpoints in the park as you gaze upon Natural Bridges. Continue on towards China Beach to find a sandy beach.

Natural Bridges + Samuel H Boardman State Park Brookings Oregon //
Natural Bridges, Samuel Boardman State Park, Oregon Coast //

Indian Sands Trail

Distance: .9 mile loop
Elevation Change: 3830 ft
Difficulty: Easy

Indian Sands is a unique phenomenon because the sand comes from the sandstone and not the ocean. If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can hike to China Beach from Indian Sands to make it a 7 mile roundtrip hike.

Thomas Creek Whaleshead Beach Trail

Distance: 2.9 mile loop
Elevation Change: 793 ft
Difficulty: Moderate

Hike from Thomas Creek to Whaleshead Beach to get some amazing views of the coast and a nice walk through the forest. If you’re looking for something shorter, you can also walk down to the beach from the Whaleshead Beach Picnic Area or Whaleshead Viewpoint.

Whaleshead Picnic Area + Samuel H Boardman State Park in Brookings Oregon //

Cape Forrelo Loop

Distance: 1 mile loop
Elevation Change: 298 ft
Difficulty: Easy

Climb this grassy slope to the top of the cape to get an amazing view of the coastline. It’s a great spot to watch sunset and whale watching in fall and spring.

Oregon Coast Trail

Distance: 382 miles
Difficulty: Difficult

The Oregon Coast Trail stretches the entire state, but you can hike 27 miles of it within Samuel H. Boardman. If you’re looking to continue, you’ll walk sandy beaches, see dramatic coastlines, and walk through magnificent forests. Most of the route is on the beach, but you’ll also walk through state parks, public lands, and some shortcuts through generous landowners.

Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon Coast //
Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon Coast //
Natural Bridges + Best Things to Do at Samuel H Boardman State Park Brookings Oregon //

Tips for First Time Visitors

  • Best Time to Visit – Late Spring to Fall. It’s supposed to be consistently drier and sunnier here than other parts of Oregon so it’s great to visit year round. Even if it rains, it gives it an amazing moody feel. Winter tends to bring more rain and lodges/restaurants will have more limited hours or be closed.
  • Park Pass You Need – None Needed! It’s all free.
  • Check the tides, many places cannot be accessed unless it’s low tide. Do not try to swim, the pacific ocean is crazy powerful. We got owned by it many times.
  • Bathrooms and Picnic Tables at Lone Ranch, Whaleshead Beach and Arch Rock
  • It’s always smart to be prepared with rain and waterproof gear. See our packing guide below to see what we use.

Best Places to Stay

  • We stayed at Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge and it was our favorite spot on the entire Oregon coast (Shh don’t tell the others!). It’s a 20-minute drive from Samuel H. Boardman and a nice place to retreat and relax.
  • More Hotel Deals in and near Brookings Oregon
  • If you’re looking for Camping Spots, Harris Beach State Park is close by and a great spot to camp year round. Find more details on their site.
  • If you’re in an RV, these are some great RV spots: Harris Beach State Park, Chetco River, and Brookings.
Tu Tu Tun Lodges Oregon Coast //
Tu Tu Tun Lodge, Gold Beach, Oregon Coast //
Tu Tu Tun Lodge, Gold Beach, Oregon Coast //
Tu Tu Tun Lodge, Gold Beach, Oregon Coast //
Tu Tu Tun Lodge, Gold Beach, Oregon Coast //

What to Pack

Natural Bridges Oregon - Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor //

What's Nearby

  • Harris Beach State Park (2 mi / 5 min away)
  • Brookings (4 mi / 6 min away)
  • Crissey Field State Recreation Site (10 mi / 15 min away)
  • Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint 14 mi / 18 min away)
  • Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor (19 mi / 21 min away)
  • Gold Beach 24 mi / 27 min away)

Have you been to Samuel H Boardman? Which hikes would you do?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this! I was wondering what the name of the hike is in the very first image that has “The Ultimate Guide to Samuel H Boardman” written on it. How can we access that viewpoint?

    1. It was actually an unmarked/unnamed trail that we stumbled across.

  2. how long did it take you to do the whole oregon coast? also, are there any other activities you can do here other than just hike? lastly, of the things close by, what was cool and worth it to see?

    1. We spent a week on the coast. There is plenty to do that doesn’t involve hiking. Our favorites are crabbing, exploring astoria, enjoying the beaches, and sandboarding. Hope that helps!

  3. Thanks for a great post! And for details on the trails. We are planning to visit this summer. Starting and ending our trip in Portland, we were planning to to spend a few days working our way down the coast to Samuel Boardman, but do you have any suggestions for an alternate return trip worth a couple more days on the way back to Portland? Or would you stick to the coast?

    1. I personally would stick to the coast and explore more in depth there if it’s only a few days, but if you want to venture into Central Oregon, I would definitely stop by Toketee Falls, Bend & Smith Rock State Park, and Trillium Lake.

  4. I’ve been hiking the Samuel H. Boardman trail for 5 years now .there are many side trails that take you to really beautiful spots. The traiil from House rock north or south is one of my favorites. I didn’t know the Coastal Trail was 425 miles long! So much to explore .

    1. Exactly! We want to go back to do some more hiking. I feel like there are tons of hidden spots there.

  5. Would you mind explaining how the 12 mile Boardman State Park trail and the 27 mile Oregon Coast trail intersect or connect?

    1. The park itself stretches 12 miles, but within that there is 27 miles of trails that is part of the larger 425 mile Oregon Coast Trail (which runs along the entire coast). Hope that helps!

  6. This is an awesome guide! Do you know if these trails are dog-friendly?

    1. Thanks Alex! I’m not 100% sure. Some of the trails are flat and some are a scramble. We didn’t see any dogs while we were out there, but it was also raining. This is what I found regarding pets “Pets must be confined by the owner or on a leash not more than six feet long, and kept under physical control at all times. You’re responsible to pick up after your pets and to keep them quiet during quiet hours (10 p.m.- 7 a.m.).”

  7. Hi! I really like your website. If I could make a suggestion, I think implementing it would make this information even more fabulous. Could you include some information as to how accessible viewpoints are to those who are just able to pull off to the side, but because of disability are wheelchair bound and unable to traverse the trails? That kind of information would be much appreciated for my wife who is disabled, and for me, who wants to travel with her, but often I don’t know what to expect once I get somewhere in the way of helping her see the sights. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Shane, and you make a very great point! We’ll definitely be taking that into consideration moving forward. Hopefully, we’ll make it back to these spots so that we can update these posts with better info for you and your wife too.

  8. How many days should I give myself at Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor and Harris Beach State Park? I like to take my time and engage in photography.

  9. I really like that you included the level of difficulty of the trails. I’m just a newbie hiker, and if I ever travel to any of those places, I’ll know exactly which trails to avoid!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    1. I’m glad you found them helpful! :) If you visit, I’d love to hear which trails you end up checking out.

  10. Thanks for sharing, these trails look so beautiful!!

    -Rachel @ Backcountry Petite

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rachel! :) I hope you get to check out some of them!

  11. Love that you included the distance and elevation changed! I recently realized that a one mile hike can seem like waaayyy more if it’s super steep! Awesome list.

    1. Thank you, Juliette! <3 haha yeah! I definitely prefer the slow and steady climb, but if the view is amazing.. guess the pain is worth it. haha

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