Hike of the month

South Jetty Trail could be the perfect trail for everyone

When you’re on the seashore, a hike that takes in sand dunes, forest and shore probably has as much diversity as you can ask for in one package. At South Jetty Trail, the added benefit of miles of paved trail options, decks with interpretive features overlooking the ocean and ADA access make this one an obvious choice.

The best access to the trail system is through South Beach State Park, where restrooms are available. The turnoff to the park from Highway 101 is on the ocean side about a mile south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Old South Jetty Trail is a one-mile, unpaved jaunt through shore pines, wax myrtle, salal and huckleberry bushes. It’s a favorite for people wanting to get out and walk their dogs — on a leash — or to just get off the beaten path. A great place to watch for animals, the trail links Southwest Jetty Way with the parking area at the South Beach State Park. It is the woodsy option that runs roughly parallel to the paved South Jetty Trail, which offers a good surface for wheeled vehicles like bikes, tricycles and motorized wheelchairs.

Either trail, old or new, is a great way to wander through moss-draped forest and wetland and to just relax. At several points, hikers have the options to jog west on a spur trail and climb down the dunes to the ocean. But brisk northwest winds make it a nice option to hang back behind the shelter of the dunes and the forest, and this trail system offers just that.