Post Summary: Things To Do In Ecola State Park
Looking for a unique adventure on the Oregon Coast?
Ecola State Park is just a quick drive away from the popular town of Cannon Beach, which makes it an excellent day trip for exploring Oregon’s stunning and rugged coastal scenery.
It’s also been the location of many popular movies based in the Pacific Northwest, like Twilight and The Goonies!
If you’re looking for activities to do in Ecola State Park in Oregon, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been here countless times!
In this post, we’re sharing everything from the most popular places in Ecola State Park (helloo photo opportunities!), camping options nearby, Ecola State Park maps, and the best hiking trails.
Keep reading to discover more of this amazing park right on the Pacific Ocean!
All The Best Things To Do In Ecola State Park, Oregon
Where is Ecola State Park?
Ecola State Park is located on the Oregon Coast, just north of the town of Cannon Beach.
It’s known for its incredibly lush Sitka Spruce tree forest, stunning views of the coast, and incredible hiking trails.
The park boasts 1,023 beautiful acres and includes an 8-mile section of the Oregon Coast Trail, which connects with the 362-mile trail that spans the entire coastline of Oregon!
There are two main areas in Ecola State Park: Ecola Point and Indian Beach.
The weather here generally consists of overcast days but if you stay long enough you’ll likely catch the sun breaking for a short while between the clouds.
Important: To enter the park, you’ll have to pay the day-use fee, which is $5.00 cash.
> Alternatively, you can purchase an annual Oregon State Parks Pass ($30-50), which gives you access to select parks.
> Even further, you can display an Oregon Pacific Coast Passport to enter the park and can be purchased from all principal state park offices.
Helpful Tips When Visiting Ecola State Park
Park Access and Hours: To visit, an Oregon State Park Pass is required: buy a day pass for $5 cash at the kiosk on site or buy an annual pass ($30-50) for the year. The park is open from 6AM-10PM and there is NO overnight parking here.
Road Conditions: An important driving tip when driving to Ecola State Park is to check the road conditions before driving.
Ecola Park Road (the entrance to the park) is notorious for landslides. It closes often, especially in the rainier months.
Check the state park website about closures before heading out! Because of the tight roads and turns along the Ecola Park Road, motorhomes and trucks pulling trailers are not recommended.
Trail Conditions: This can also be a very muddy place. You’ll want waterproof hiking boots or shoes you won’t mind getting dirty.
Pets: Dogs are allowed in Ecola State Park, but they must be on-leash. You are responsible for picking up after your pets!
Activities: One of the coolest things about the park is that it’s the scene of many famous Pacific Northwest movies. Don’t forget to find the locations of your favorite ones!
Some popular movies filmed in Ecola State Park include The Goonies, Twilight, and Free Willy.
Places to Stay Near Ecola State Park
One of the best things about the Oregon coast is that much of it is close together and there’s so much to see wherever you are! This also makes it easy to find camping, romantic Oregon getaways, or hotels.
The town of Cannon Beach is 10 minutes away and has lots of great accommodations.
One of the best lodging options in Cannon Beach is the Ecola Creek Lodge. It’s a lovely getaway that’s perfect for families, couples, and individuals (rates start at $98 per night).
Another great option for where to stay near Ecola State Park is the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach (rates start at $161 per night).
Camping Around Ecola State Park
While there are no Ecola State Park campgrounds for tents, campers, and RVs, there ARE lots of camping options nearby.
If you’re backpacking along the Oregon Coast Trail, you can stay at the Hiker’s Camp.
10 Amazing Things To Do At Ecola State Park
So what are the kinds of things to do in Ecola State Park?
Hiking, photography opportunities, beach exploring, and backpacking are the most popular activities to do at Ecola State Park.
We’re covering some of our favorites in this post, to give you a little bit of inspiration for your next weekend trip to Oregon’s North Coast!
1. Snap Photos at Ecola Point
One of the most iconic views of the Oregon Coast can be found here at the Ecola State Park Lookout.
Park at this parking lot, and walk on the short trail just south of the lot to find the best views of the coast. This view includes the town of Cannon Beach and its offshore sea stacks, including the iconic Haystack Rock!
Read More: Epic Things To Do In Cannon Beach, Oregon
2. View Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
Oregon is known for its lighthouses, and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is among some of the most notorious.
Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly,” the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse has won a reputation for being both difficult to operate (due to dramatic storms) and haunted, as 30 urns are now stored in the lighthouse under the unlicensed Eternity at Sea Columbarium.
Where to find it: Perched 1.2 miles offshore upon Tillamook Rock, you can see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse from the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint.
3. Explore Beaches in Ecola State Park
Crescent Beach and Indian Beach are the two most popular Oregon beaches in Ecola State Park.
One of our favorite ways to explore the park is on the Crescent Beach Trail. It’s a 2.3-mile hike with 538’ elevation gain!
While it’s one of the most popular hiking trails on the Oregon coast, it’s also a fairly secluded hike that will often give you lots of privacy from the crowds. This is especially true if you go in the morning or evening.
Indian Beach is another popular beach in Oregon that you’ll want to visit. You can reach Indian Beach from the main entrance into Ecola State Park. After entering the park, you’ll drive about 2 miles north, directly to the beautiful beach!
If you’re up for it, you can hike to Indian Beach from Ecola Point on the Indian Beach Trail, which is a moderate 3.8 miles with 843’ elevation gain.
If you hike this trail during the wetter months, you’ll want to bring some sturdy hiking boots that you don’t mind getting dirty, because this trail can get pretty muddy.
At Indian Beach, you’ll get relaxing views and lots of places to go tidepooling.
NOTE: Parking at Indian Beach is often limited during the peak summer season, so you’ll want to get there early to beat the crowds!
4. View Wildlife at Ecola State Park
Being on the Oregon coast, there are tons of wildlife for visitors to enjoy. The best of which being whales! The best time to go whale watching at Ecola State Park is May-October, or at the end of December or March when the whales migrate.
Elk, seals, sea lions, and birds are other common creatures found on the Northern Oregon Coast and can often be seen on hikes or wildlife tours in the area.
One of the best places to see a wide variety of birds is on the Indian Beach Trail, which offers visitors great views of oceanside cliffs where tons of birds reside.
You can also see all kinds of cool critters in Oregon coast tide pools!
5. Visit the Tide pools
There are so many beaches in Oregon with epic tide pools, and Ecola State Park is no exception. A big perk of this activity is that it’s perfect for people of all ages, from little toddlers to seniors!
Indian Beach on the northside of Cannon Beach is another great tidepooling hot spot in this area of Oregon, as there are tons of boulders on the beach to explore.
In Oregon’s tide pools, you’ll see tons of sea stars, anemones, crabs, sea urchins, snails, mussels, chiton, sea slaters, limpets, Dungeness crab, sand dollar, sculpin, and MORE!
6. Camping Near Ecola State Park
We LOVE camping on the Oregon coast. So much so that we return again and again!
Among all the best Oregon coast campgrounds, Wright’s for Camping and Circle Creek RV Park and Campground nearby are some of our favorites. This is because of their unique locations and no-fuss campsites.
Though it’s a bit further from Ecola State Park (~22 miles), Saddle Mountain State Natural Area has 10 primitive tent sites and offers visitors a unique Oregon coast experience. You’ll feel like you’re truly in the woods at this Oregon coast campground! This campground is perfect for those looking to hike the Saddle Mountain Trail.
To prepare for your trip, check out our complete camping packing list that has all the essentials for PNW camping trips!
7. Backpacking at Tillamook Head National Recreation Area
For all the backpackers out there, add the Oregon Coast Trail to your backpacking bucket list! The 425-mile trek is one of the coolest hikes in the PNW, because of its stunning views of the Oregon coast and passage through 28 coastal towns.
The Oregon Coast Trail passes through Ecola State Park, where you can stay overnight at the Hiker’s Camp. Here, you’ll find primitive accommodations, including fire rings, pit toilets, a picnic table, and three cabins with four beds each.
Note: You do not need a permit to camp at the Hiker’s Camp, but it’s only for backpackers, so no cars may park overnight in the park and stay at the campsite. The Hiker’s Camp is first-come-first served!
8. Plan an Ecola State Park Day Trip to Indian Point / Indian Beach
One of the best activities for families is spending a day at Indian Beach, because of its excellent tide pools, cool hiking in the area (check out the Indian Beach Trail!), and lots of unique wildlife.
You can reach Indian Beach from the Indian Beach Trail or by car. Drive through the main entrance and head north for about 2 miles, where you’ll find a small parking area for the beach!
Up for a challenge? Hike the difficult, 7.9-mile Indian Point via Herman Creek, Nick Eaton and Gorton Creek Loop trail for a full day of fun and epic views!
This will take you through the beautiful Indian Point and give you a good workout.
9. Enjoy the Nearby Towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside
While at the Oregon coast, you must visit all of the adorable Oregon coast beach towns!
One of the best things about visiting multiple towns along the Oregon coast is that there are tons of things to do and cool places to see between each destination! The best way to see them all is through a Highway 101/Pacific Coast Highway road trip or driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop.
Each Oregon coast beach town has its own unique vibe and draw to it–you’ve got to see them all!
10. Ecola State Park Hiking Trails
One of our favorite hikes in Ecola State Park is the Crescent Beach Trail. This 2-mile, out and back trail is rated moderate. It’s one of the most popular trails in Ecola State Park for its beach access, examples of lush Pacific Coast foliage, and incredible vista views of Cannon Beach in the distance.
Read all about Crescent Beach trail here, and discover exactly how to prepare for this amazing Oregon coast hike!
Note for hiking on the coast: Most months of the year in Oregon, you can expect rain and muddy trail conditions. It’s always a good idea to pack a light rain jacket, waterproof boots, and a water-resistant day pack to keep your items dry!
FAQ’s About Ecola State Park
What’s the best time to visit Ecola State Park?
One of the best things about Ecola State Park is that it’s open year-round!
Regardless, you’ll get some of the best weather in the late spring, summer, and early fall in this area of the Oregon coast. The Oregon coast is often overcast, but you should get some lovely weather (and maybe some sun!) during the warmer seasons.
What’s the history of Ecola State Park?
The land of was given to Oregon in 1932 and was established after Samual H. Boardman coordinated with the National Park Service and Civilian Conservation Corps crews developed public trails, picnic facilities, and other public amenities.
Since then, the park has been one of the most popular parks along the Oregon coast!
One important part of Ecola State Park’s natural history is that landslides have been very common here and have been a regular occurrence and nuisance.
Because conditions are always changing and landslides can easily occur, it’s important that you check the state park website for notifications on road closures and safety tips!
Is Ecola State Park open?
The best way to check is by going to the state park website!
The park is open year-round, though you should always check the website prior to visiting. There can be road closures during the rainy seasons due to landslides, which may make entrances to the park inaccessible!
Is Ecola State Park worth visiting?
YES! Ecola State Park is definitely worth visiting. Not only is there lots to do, but it’s also a great place to get some much needed R&R. There’s so many things to do that are perfect for visitors of all ages!
Other State Parks Near Ecola State Park + Nearby Things To Do
Oswald West State Park: PNW surfing, anyone? This is the perfect place for all outdoor adventurers.
Hug Point State Recreation Site: This destination is near Seaside, OR and is a great place for a picnic!
Have you ever visited Ecola State Park? What was your experience like? Tell us all about it in the comments below!