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.
*Due to slight variations in the route, everyone counts mileage on the OCT a little differently. This is the number I came up with for my guidebook Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail. It may differ a little from figures you find elsewhere.
SECTION HIKE SUGGESTION: Gleneden Beach to Cape Perpetua, 4 to 6 days
This scenic hike takes you past Newport, Waldport and Yachats and ends after an ascent of Cape Perpetua. Camp or go inn to inn (I've described it for campers). There are some long days on this hike; campers can shorten the days with a motel night or two. Details, including daily mileage, in Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail.
DAY 1: Gleneden Beach to Beverly Beach State Park. Break up this stretch with a night at a motel in Depoe Bay.
DAY 2: Beverly Beach to South Beach State Park south of Newport.
DAY 3: South Beach to Beachside State Park. Break up this stretch with a vacation rental along the route or a motel night in Waldport.
DAY 4: Beachside to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area visitors center. Break up this day with a motel in Yachats, or just end in Yachats.