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.
*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 are nearly all closed at this time but are expected to reopen in the coming months, perhaps by Memorial Day.
TRAIL CLOSURES: I know of none.
YOU SHOULD KNOW ...
CROSSING THE UMPQUA RIVER: Definitely call ahead to get a ride from Winchester Bay Charters (or take your chances flagging down a passing boater). The alternative is to leave the beach at Beach Access 116 for a 12.3-mile slog on gravel Sparrow Park Road and the shoulder of US 101. Not fun.
CROSSING COOS BAY: I know of no outfitter regularly offering boat shuttle from the North Spit Boat Ramp to Charleston. But Winchester Bay Charters says they are willing to work with hikers to find an outfitter to take them across Coos Bay; their info is in the book. Definitely worth a try, especially if you can hook up with other hikers (the 4-mile crossing will be more expensive than most boat ferries on the OCT).
SOUTH OF CHARLESTON: If you decide to walk through industrial timberland south from Sunset Bay State Park over the Seven Devils (rather than the official route following Seven Devils Road), Here is an important clarification. After walking up the Pack Trail and then the unmaintained trail to the gravel clearing, follow the little trail ahead and to your right heading southwest out of the clearing. If youpicked the correct trail, it quickly becomes a wide gravel road. Follow this main route as it winds south/southeast to meet Seven Devils Road.
NEW RIVER: Plan to reach New River, south of Bandon, prior to low tide. That way, if the river has developed a second outlet to the south (which sometimes happens) you ought to be able to cross both without trouble.
MORE OPTIONS FOR OVERNIGHTING
OREGON DUNES NATIONAL RECREATION AREA: You can camp nearly anywhere in the dunes, but beach camping is limited in places due to snowy plover protection. They should be well marked with fencing and signage. There will be more details in my new book, but meanwhile I suggest you visit this site and download maps so you don't get caught having to walk miles father than you'd planned to a campsite.
In the book I mention the knoll just north of Threemile Lake as a good campsite, and it is. But there is also great camping right at the lakeshore.
Bluebill Campground is just 0.75 mile off the trail at Horsfall Beach (which you want to avoid; just a parking lot, toilet but no water, not always friendly to hikers). Bluebill has toilets and water (no showers) and minimal OHV noise; no hiker-biker camp, so a little expensive.
CHARLESTON: In addition to nearby Sunset Bay State Park, Bastendorff Beach County Park has a hiker-biker area that got great reviews from a hiker I heard from.