DISTANCE: 87.8 miles*
ELEVATION GAIN: 5980 feet
HEADLAND SUMMITS: Otter Crest (480 feet), Yaquina Head (160 feet), Cape Perpetua (960 feet), Heceta Head (530 feet), Sea Lion Point (550 feet)
The route is close to US 101 most of the way, though the ocean’s roar tends to mask any traffic noise. On beach sections you’ll frequently be walking past oceanfront homes, and you’ll be ducking in and out of towns. Long stretches of rocky coastline move the OCT onto side roads and the US 101 shoulder in places. This section begins and ends at big bays, with two more along the way, but none require (or provide options for) a boat shuttle; instead you’ll be crossing the bays on bridges.
This is a good stretch for inn-to-inn hiking, with a lot of lodging options, though there are a couple of longer stretches (unless you can score vacation rentals to break them up). There are also a fair number of developed campgrounds, which is good: with all those towns, opportunities for legal beach camping are somewhat limited. But their spacing still requires some relatively long days, unless you opt for a night at a motel.
*Everyone counts mileage on the OCT a little differently. This is the number I came up with for my forthcoming Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail. It differs a little from the figure in Day Hiking: Oregon Coast.
OCT UPDATES TO DAY HIKING: OREGON COAST
As of March 2021
COASTAL STATE PARK HIKER-BIKER CAMPS: All four at central coast state parks should be open now (Beverly Beach, South Beach, Beachside and Carl Washburne).
I know of no trail closures in this section. Some trails at Cape Perpetua got hit by the September 2021 windstorm, but apparently it didn't affect Amanda's Trail, St. Perpetua Trail, or the rest of the OCT through this area.
YOU SHOULD KNOW ...
SILETZ BAY: I now realize I was exceptionally lucky to stumble on a boat ride across the mouth of the bay the first time I walked the OCT; the tide has to be just right (high/incoming) and there must be lots of recreational boaters in the bay. That's not usually the case, and most people will have to walk the highway shoulder 4.4 miles to beach access at Gleneden Beach (or take a very expensive cab, which I've also done).
GLENEDEN BEACH: An alert reader found a typo on page 124 of Day Hiking: Oregon Coast. The OCT stretch described here is from miles 121.8 (not 112.8) to 128.6.
MORE OPTIONS FOR OVERNIGHTING
NEWPORT:: There is no longer dorm lodging at Sylvia Beach Hotel. What used to be the dorm is now the Ken Kesey Room; with four twin beds, it may be ideal for a group of friends.
YACHATS: Check out the Drift Inn Hotel's $50-ish "pedal-out" rooms; they look cool. And the hotel's food is great.
CAPE PERPETUA: Cape Perpetua Campground and, a few miles to the south, Rock Creek Campground, both have informal hiker-biker sites, or so I'm told. I think it kind of depends on how obliging the campground host is. One hiker told me her hiker-biker site at Cape Perpetua was her favorite campsite on the whole OCT. I camped at Rock Creek a couple of years ago and never even saw a campground host so just took a regular campsite.
BAKER BEACH: There is a USFS campground a short distance from the beach at Beach Access 95A, but it's expensive and doesn't even have water (just a vault toilet). If you're roughing it, you're better off finding a remote spot in the dunes in this area (beach camping isn't allowed here due to snowy plover restrictions, but dispersed camping should be allowed in the dunes in Siuslaw National Forest land, roughly from Berry Creek south about 3 miles nearly to Beach Acccess 96).
FLORENCE: Port of Siuslaw RV Park & Marina has shut down its hiker-biker camp, unfortunately. They still have a couple of tent-camping sites; you usually don’t need a reservation (but no guarantee), it's rather expensive, and you're right in town and surrounded by RVs. But being walking distance to stores and restaurants makes it kind of great.