Post Summary: How To Get To Secret Beach in Oregon (Directions, Tips + Photos)
Secret Beach isn’t really a secret, but it sure does feel magical when you turn the corner and get that first glimpse of the stunning coast! This cove in Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor is popular for sea stacks, having a walkable beachfront, and its close proximity to other stunning Oregon photography locations.
In this post, we’re spilling all the details of how to get to Secret Beach in Oregon, including driving directions, hiking tips, and cool things to do nearby.
Hike To Secret Beach at Samuel H. Boardman
A Quick Note On Accessibility
Oregon is proud to share all of the coastal beaches for public enjoyment. This means that anyone and everyone can visit these shores!
As Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, we are proud to share our corner of the world with visitors and locals alike. We want to give everyone a chance to visit places safely and sustainably. We believe that the more people that visit these places and the better equipped they are, the more advocates are created for conservation, protection, and safe access for all.
Thank you for being a part of making the outdoors a more inclusive place for all!
What Makes Secret Beach So Special?
Secret Beach on the Oregon Coast has it all. The semi-hidden parking lot means fewer people reach the beach and it feels quiet and surreal. Uniquely shaped sea stacks command the shoreline, and you feel like you’ve dropped right into a fairy tale.
This trail leads you through lush green forest trails, gives you sweeping views of the cliffside near the ocean, and provides access to a quieter section of the Oregon Coast.
There are similar beaches to Secret Beach, but somehow it brings its own mystery and wonder – it’s hard to beat! Getting here isn’t super straightforward, so we’re showing you how to access this hidden beach in Oregon to experience it for yourself!
Best Time To Visit Secret Beach
Any time of year is a good time to visit Secret Beach in Oregon. It’s easy to reach and requires just a short hike, which makes it accessible year-round. However, weather and daylight hours can fluctuate throughout the year, so here are some general conditions you can expect at Secret Beach in each season:
Winter: Expect rainy and cloudy conditions. The coast can be stormy and the water levels can be higher. It isn’t safe to get in the water during this time of year, but you can capture really dramatic photos!
Spring: Spring brings cooler mornings and sunnier days. This is the best time of year to get up early because the sun rises around 7:00am. The surrounding forest growth is still emerging, so watch where you step as you explore around.
Summer: Summertime is the most popular time (and busiest) to visit Secret Beach in Oregon. The weather is warm, the days are long, and the beach feels nice!
Fall: Mornings and evenings will be cool. There is sunshine, but increasingly more days with clouds and rain. Expect surrounding plants to be on their way to dormancy, with lots of overgrowth and leaf litter around the beach.
All year long, expect the ocean conditions to be a gamble. One minute it might be foggy, and the next, perfectly clear! We’ve learned that we can’t control what weather we encounter, but we can embrace Secret Beach in all its forms. Foggy, dreamy, clear, sunrise, sunset…it’s all beautiful!
What To Bring To Secret Beach
Because Secret Beach in Oregon has ocean access, it’s important to bring waterproof gear to keep dry! These suggestions are relatively the same as our post on gear to bring to the Washington Coast, but we’ll list our top picks here, too.
Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots. There is a notably high chance of encountering mud on the trail to Secret Beach, especially in the wintertime and on Oregon Coast hiking trails. Come prepared with waterproof boots so you can feel comfortable and dry! Our current favorite waterproof hiking boots are the Vasque St Elias GTX Boot. They are made of leather that mold and shape to your feet the more you wear them!
Windbreaker Jacket. The wind on the coast can be unforgiving at times, so protect yourself with a rain jacket or windbreaker. This one by REI is affordable and ultra-light, meaning you can cram it in your bag without it taking up too much space.
A Reliable Camera. There is a good chance you will be taking photos at Secret Beach, so make sure to pack your favorite camera! You can read our travel photography gear list if you’re curious about what we bring. However, there’s no need for a fancy camera if you don’t have one – a smartphone or even this tiny Canon Powershot G7 X can do the trick just fine. Better yet, simply enjoy it with your eyes – you already own the best camera!
A Day Pack. Keep your hands free and carry your items in a lightweight day pack for this trail. We like the REI Flash Pack collection because they are ultralight and come in tons of fun colors. When not in use, they store down super small and take up very little space! Make sure to pack it with plenty of snacks, from an impromptu Oregon coast picnic at sunset!
Safety Tips For Secret Beach in Oregon (LNT)
While the Pacific Northwest region receives a high amount of rain, the Southern Oregon Coast actually is quite a bit sunnier than the rest of the coast. The most important sustainability practice here is to pack it in and pack it out, but here is the full list!
Below, we’re sharing the Leave No Trace Principles to follow, catered specifically to Secret Beach:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Make sure to prepare for wet conditions, and pack the 10 hiking essentials. To help guide your way, here are our favorite hiking apps to download!
- Travel on proper surfaces: If you choose to explore the beach, make sure to have a tide chart with you! (Samuel H. Boardman Tide Chart Here)
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out. Carry out all trash, and use the bathrooms located along Highway 101 trailheads (Arch Rock stop has bathrooms and trash cans)
- Leave Wildlife & Plants Undisturbed: Delicate plants scatter this Oregon beach, but so do poisonous ones! Stay on the trail, even if it’s muddy!
- Minimize Campfire Impacts: There are NO fires allowed at Secret Beach.
- Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife. Don’t leave food out, and keep pets on a leash for this beach!
- Be considerate of others: Everyone visits for their own reasons. Respect other’s experiences too, by keeping the noise down, and yielding to trail passers.
Secret Beach Trail Details
- Trailhead Coordinates: 42.196868, -124.370537
- Trail Distance: <0.5 miles out and back
- Elevation Gain: ~300 feet
- Difficulty: Easy (but a little steep)
Secret Beach trail is located in Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, just north of the Natural Bridges stop. To reach the Secret Beach parking lot, keep a close eye out for an unmarked parking area tucked away on the ocean side (west side) of Highway 101. It’s very easy to miss! If you miss it, don’t fret and just park at the Spruce Island Viewpoint. The parking area is dirt and gravel, and uneven in places.
There are several trailheads to reach Secret Beach, including Arch Rock (Mile 344.8), Spruce Island Parking Lot (Mile 345.0), and Thunder Rock Cove (Mile 345.8). These alternate trailheads will be longer, but the trails are beautiful and scenic!
It’s important to note that there are no bathrooms at Secret Beach. If you need to go, there are some in the Arch Rock Parking Lot, or Whaleshead Beach.
The trail starts out under a cover of lush coastal woods. Nearly right away, you will decline in elevation. The trail from Secret Beach parking lot is wide, located on the left side of the parking lot. The trail is steep and is prone to be very slippery in wet weather. Watch your step!
Along the way, you’ll hear a waterfall and walk under a canopy of coastal trees, false lily of the valley, and Oregon iris. It won’t take long to reach the bottom, and the beautiful ocean views are nearly immediate!
Reaching Secret Beach
At the end of the trail, you’ll reach a landing where you can decide what direction you want to continue. Stay on this landing to take pictures of the beach from above (this is a popular place for photographers to set up tripods).
You can also head down to the beach – be prepared to climb down some rocks and keep your hands free for stability! Finally, you can take a trail up to a higher viewpoint – this trail connects with Spruce Island Viewpoint. The choice is yours!
Hiking Notes: The landing is unfortunately where you might see the most trash. This is a reminder that there are NO garbage cans at Secret Beach and it’s essential that you pack out your own trash!
Things To Do At Secret Beach, Oregon
Now that you’ve reached Secret Beach, it’s time to explore! Here are some things you can do, and places you can discover:
Northside of Secret Beach: Here, you can take a section of the Oregon Coast Trail that winds through the cliffside, with pockets of spectacular ocean views. It’s a fun way to explore this area if you find that the beach is a bit busy. Come with a plant identification book, because this stretch of trail is teeming with native Oregon Coast plants!
Walk the shores of Secret Beach: Some of the towering sea stacks are accessible during low tide. This is a fun place to bring kids and explore sea caves and rocks. There aren’t a lot of tide pools at Secret Beach, but there’s always a chance for the occasional treasure to drift ashore.
Secret Beach in Oregon is also a very popular place for wedding elopement photographers to take couples, so there is a high chance you’ll spot a beautiful pair dancing along the shoreline!
More Hiking Trails Near Secret Beach
Not ready to leave the Oregon Coast? Or maybe you’re just getting started on your explorations! Here are some of our favorite spots nearby Secret Beach on the Oregon Coast, to fill your days with more adventure.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor: While Secret Beach is IN Samuel H. Boardman, there are so many more stops to take on this coastal state park! Check our Arch Rock, Whaleshead Beach, and Indian Sands – these are some of our favorite and most scenic stops.
Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint: If sunsets and ocean sea stacks are your jam, you’ve got to check out this popular beach near Bandon, Oregon! Landscape photographers flock here to capture the sun setting behind the iconic “Face Rock” (she really does look like a face!) and artists famously draw circles in the sand.
Redwood National Park: Because Brookings, Oregon is so close to the California border, why not extend your Oregon coast road trip and add on a Northern California road trip too? There are so many things to do in Redwood National Park, and these beautiful hikes and stops are only about an hour away from Secret Beach.
Cape Kiwanda Natural Area in Pacific City: Cape Kiwanda is full of beautiful and scenic landscapes. Climb the sand dunes for a higher perspective of the beach, and to watch the paragliders fly through the air!
Where To Stay Nearby On The Oregon Coast
If you are planning a trip around the Pacific Northwest, we highly recommend booking accommodations around this area. There is so much to do here that you’ll want to spend at least a few days exploring! Here are some of our favorite recommendations of places to stay near Brookings, Oregon:
Hotels Near Brookings, Oregon:
- $ – Westward Inn (comfortable motel, basic amenities, close to food and gas)
- $$$ – Whaleshead Beach Resort (minutes from the beach, closest hotel to Samuel H. Boardman, and beachfront views)