Oregon's Ecola State Park in winter is a very different experience from visiting the state park in summer. Ecola State Park is open in winter, and you might even get a chance to see whales!
Ecola State Park is close to some of the best beaches in the Pacific Northwest. This includes Cannon Beach, Indian Beach, and Crescent Beach. It's a popular area for tidepooling, whale watching, swimming, and surfing. It's also close to some really cute towns, like the towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside.
Further south, you can explore Oswald West State Park, Hug Point State Recreation Site, Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, Arcadia Beach, Neahkahnie Beach, and Manzanita, where you'll find some really great camping options.
Some of the things to keep in mind when visiting Ecola State Park in winter are sneaker waves while exploring the beach. These are really large waves that appear out of nowhere and can surprise beachgoers. They are especially common in winter.
Can You Visit Ecola State Park in Winter?
Yes, absolutely! You can visit Ecola State Park in winter. It's a coastal park, so your experience is going to be very different from visiting in summer, but it's really gorgeous no matter the time of year.
Parking Pass for Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park requires an Oregon State Park pass. If you're visiting the park for a day, you can buy a $5.00-day pass at parking pass terminals around the park. You'll need one anywhere you park in the state park.
If you're staying in the park for longer, you might want to buy a $30-year parking pass that'll let you park in and visit as many different state parks as you want to.
Ecola State Park Parking Lots
If you're visiting Ecola State Park in winter or at any time throughout the year, you're probably going to want to plan ahead and pick out a parking spot. Here are the best parking areas for different sections and attractions in and near Ecola State Park:
Ecola Park Road Parking Lot for: Ecola Point, Indian Beach Trailhead, Crescent Beach, Sea Lion Rock.
Cannon Beach Trail Parking Lot for: Indian Beach access, Submarine Rock, Bald Point, Indian Point, Tillamook Head South Trailhead, Clatsop Loop Trailhead, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse viewpoint, Bird Point.
Directions to Ecola State Park
The park is just north of Cannon Beach and south of Tillamook Lighthouse. You can access the park by taking Highway 101 north from Arch Cape or south from Seaside.
Use the map below to get directions to Ecola State Park:
What to Do in Ecola State Park in Winter?
While Ecola State Park might not be the perfect place to go swimming or sunbathing in the winter, there are a few different things you might enjoy (beyond just enjoying the beautiful scenery!).
Whale watching is something you can do in winter at the park that can be more difficult in the summer. Ecola State Park is a great place to scan the water for whales.
In fact, there are designated whale-watching areas from the park to Cannon Beach and then up to Seaside.
Ecola State Park Winter Hikes
Don't worry; there are plenty of hikes in Ecola State Park to enjoy during the winter. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Clatsop Loop Trail
The Clatsop Loop Trail starts at the parking lot for Indian Beach. It's a 2.8-mile loop that should take you about 1.5 hours to complete.
1 hr 30 mins
The trail is usually really popular, with dozens of hikers on it throughout the summer. But, in winter, it's a different story. You might even find yourself totally alone among the breathtaking views of Ecola Beach State Park.
2. Indian Beach Trail via Ecola State Park
Indian Beach is a popular area of Ecola State Park where hikers can see the Pacific Ocean, old-growth forests, and even elk. Like most hikes in this area, the Indian Beach Trail can be muddy. This is even more true on the Indian Beach Trail in winter.
3. Crescent Beach Trail from Tillamook Rock
This is a very popular trail that is usable throughout the year. To reach the trailhead, you'll want to park at the Ecola Park Road parking lot and take the trail south along the shoreline. You'll eventually find yourself at Crescent Beach.
1 hr 15 mins
The trail gains just over 500 feet along its 2.3 miles, making it slightly more difficult than the other trail in the state park.
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