There are no shortages of fun things to do along the Oregon coast, including fishing, crabbing, birding and hiking. One of the prettiest beaches in the state is Gleneden, just south of Lincoln City, and a loop hike there packs a variety of sights into two short miles.
Gleneden Beach, Oregon
Perhaps the most beautiful five-mile stretch of beach in Oregon, Gleneden is a rarely crowded expanse of golden sand. The unincorporated community of Gleneden Beach consists of a string of homes along the bluffs overlooking the beach and into the trees that border Highway 101, the route that parallels the Oregon coastline.
The small town of Lincoln City lies five miles to the north, and Newport, home to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, is a half-hour drive to the south. The Salishan Spa and Golf Resort sits at the north edge of Gleneden. First class fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout can be found in the nearby Siletz and Salmon rivers, and Dungeness crab are abundant in Newport’s Yaquina Bay. The coastal mountains offer fall mushrooming, and hikes to popular destinations such as the suspension bridge at Drift Creek Falls.
The sandy beach at Gleneden is a great place to relax and read, listen to the crashing surf, look for pelicans, whales and agates or fly a kite. For those under ten, digging large holes in the sand is the highest priority. It’s also a good place to jog or walk, and an easy two-mile loop is a good way to see a little bit of everything.
The Loop Walk at Gleneden Beach
Five miles south of Lincoln City on Highway 101, a traffic light and sign mark the Shops at Salishan on the right (west) side of the highway. The Gleneden Beach walk, being a loop, can be started at several places, but the shops area is probably the best place to begin. Park in the large parking lot at the south end of the shops (rest rooms are available in the mall), and continue walking south toward the golf cart area. This connects with the private gated drive into the Salishan residential area, but turn left toward the highway, rather than toward the gate. Turn right onto Gleneden Beach Loop Road, which parallels Highway 101, and walk a quarter-mile up the hill to Alderwood Street, just past the Crystal Wizard Gallery. Turn right, toward the ocean, and follow Alderwood until it ends at Salal. Walk left on Salal a few steps, then turn west on Sijota, which ends at Neptune, and a short trail down to the ocean, a half-mile from the starting point.
At the ocean, turn right (north) and follow the shoreline .8 miles. Look for the tell-tale spouts of resident gray whales, sea lions, Western Gulls and Brown Pelicans out past the surf line. The beach is a great place to discover agates and even ocean-smoothed chunks of petrified wood. There is no sign indicating where to leave the shore, but the bluff to the right dips down, and a visible path cuts through the bluff just before the last house at this lower level. This path crosses Driftwood Lane and the main street, Salishan Drive, to where a sign points left (north) to the “Nature Trail”. Follow this, which turns right across a small open area before beginning the signed nature trail. The golf course is on the right (south), and Siletz Bay is on the left.
The nature trail leads back to the Salishan shops, ending the loop walk at just over two miles. The shops area is a great place to browse the specialty stores, enjoy lunch at the deli or a Tillamook ice cream cone at the Coast Roast Coffee Company. The many boutique shops include The Dapper Frog, The Wooden Duck (toys), Allegory Books & Music, Toujours (women’s wear), Hot Pots (gourmet cookware), Scribbles (cards) and Wine & Romance. Lawrence Gallery features fine art, and the outdoor area offers a year-round gas fireplace, as well as colorful flower beds.
The Oregon Coast
Oregon’s Highway 101 follows 385 miles of spectacular coastline, with nearly 100 state parks and recreation areas along the way. This beautiful coastline has been open to the public since Oswald West, the governor, and the state legislature protected it in 1913. Countless recreational opportunities are found along this route, including beachcombing, hiking, mushrooming and fishing. The two-mile loop walk at Gleneden Beach is but one of many ways to sample what the coast offers.