DISTANCE: 111 miles with boat shuttle to Winchester Bay (100.1 miles with Coos Bay boat shuttle)*
ELEVATION GAIN: +2640 feet
HEADLAND SUMMITS: Coos Head (165 feet), Seven Devils (540 feet) Blacklock Point (184 feet), Cape Blanco (240 feet)
It requires long days for inn-to-inn hikers but offers a lot of dispersed camping options for backpackers and no highway shoulder walking once you return to the beach south of Florence. This section begins at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area—a vast area of wild and undeveloped sand dunes stretching south to Coos Bay. Immediately south of Coos Bay is a rugged coastline of sheer cliffs known as the Seven Devils that must be skirted on back roads. Then you hit the charming town of Bandon and the long, remote beach to the south, followed by wild Blacklock Point and Cape Blanco, the westernmost point on the Oregon Coast.
Be aware that you may encounter (or at least hear) OHVs on parts of the beach adjacent to Oregon Dunes, particularly north of the Siltcoos River and between Winchester Bay and your beach exit north of Coos Bay. They mostly stick to the sand dunes, however, and not the beach. You also need to be aware of regulations protecting snowy plovers: mainly, avoid camping in known plover nesting areas, which are typically well signed.
*Due to various 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 #1: Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, 2-4 days (or more)
The Oregon Dunes is the best stretch for backpacking and the only stretch with nearly unlimited dispersed camping (limited only by zones protecting snowy plover nest sites). You will need to pack in your drinking water (or detour to inland campgrounds to refill water bottles). Get a boat ferry across the Umpqua River. An inn-to-inn hike through the Oregon Dunes, overnighting in Winchester Bay, is possible but requires two very long days of hiking. Details, including daily mileage, in Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail.
DAY 1: South Jetty Beach (south of Florence) to camping in vicinity of Threemile Lake.
DAY 2: Threemile Lake to Winchester Bay: prearrange boat ferry or hitch a ride with a passing boater.
DAY 3: Winchester Bay to beach camping south of Tenmile Creek. Tenmile Creek can only be crossed at low tide.
DAY 4: End hike at Horsfall Beach Accessor Bluebill Campground.
SECTION HIKE SUGGESTION#2: Seven Devils to Port Orford, 4 days
This is an adventurous and ambitious hike. You'll need to watch the tide to wade three rivers and get around one headland, and the beach north of Floras Lake can be tedious due to the soft sand. There's also a short stretch of highway shoulder walking north of Bandon. But it's deliciously remote, and you can do just parts of it for a two- or three-day outing. I've described it for camping, followed by suggestions for a luxury inn-to-inn hike. Details, including daily mileage, in Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail.
DAY 1: Seven Devils State Recreation Site to Bullards Beach State Park. Start around low tide to get around Fivemile Point.
DAY 2: Bullard Beach to New River bivouac site north of Floras Lake. Time crossing of New River to low tide. Carry watery.
DAY 3: Bivouac camp to Cape Blanco State Park. Time crossing of Sixes River to low tide.
DAY 4: Cape Blanco to Port Orford. Timing crossing of Elk River to low- to mid-tide.
INN TO INN
DAY 1: Seven Devils to Bandon Dunes golf resort.
DAY 2: Bandon Dunes to lodging in vicinity of Face Rock, south of Bandon.
DAY 3: Face Rock to vacation rental at Floras Lake.
DAY 4: Floras Lake to Port Orford. This long day can be broken into two days with stay at a vacation rental near the mouth of the Sixes River.