Cape Kiwanda - Hike near Pacific City, Oregon
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Pacific City, OR 97135, USA,Pacific City,Oregon
45.219065, -123.9753912
1.3 miles NW of Pacific City, Oregon
Address: Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Pacific City, OR 97135, USA
GPS: 45°13'8.6"N 123°58'31.4"W
Maps | Directions
State: Oregon
Trail Length: 2.20 miles
Trail Type: Out & Back
Hike Difficulty: Intermediate
Elevation Gain: 230 feet

Rocks Pet Friendly


Cape Kiwanda is a state natural area in Pacific City, Oregon. This is a fantastic place to spend an entire afternoon! You will see magnificent views of the basalt monolith officially called, Chief Kiawanda Rock. It is commonly misnamed as the "other haystack rock" and is 90-feet higher than Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. The basalt stack got its name from a leader for the Nestucca Indian tribe. You will also see some impressive dunes and remarkable sandstone. At low tide, you can explore the sandstone at the base of the cliffs and search for fossils. The sandstone still remains due to the protection that Chief Kiawanda rock provides against the immense waves of the ocean. The Cape Kiwanda hike begins at the Pacific Avenue trailhead which is about a mile down from the cape itself. Walking along the beach you will enjoy views of the incredible monolith and the beautiful scene of the cape ahead of you. You will probably see surfers in wetsuits and some occasional kayakers. Pacific City is one of the most popular places to surf on the Oregon Coast because of its consistency.

Once you get to the base of the dune, there are two routes you can go. The lower route, and the way up the Great Dune. If you decide to hike up the Great Dune first, you can make a loop hike out of it because you can circle around the Sitka spruce trees and make your way to the lower dune by a trail through the trees once you're at the top. The lower dune goes out to the edge of the cape and provides gorgeous views of the opposite side of Cape Kiwanda. To your right, you'll be able to see Nestucca Bay. There are fences and signs that discourage visitors from getting too close to the edge of the cape due to soft cliff edges crumbling or falling off. This can happen at any time, so it's important to be careful.

You can take the trail down the lower dune to the base of Cape Kiwanda, or you can turn back and run or slide down the Great Dune. It's a very popular sandboarding or "sand sledding" spot.

Climbing up the Great Dune is somewhat of a workout. You will definitely feel the burn in your legs halfway to the top. This climb can be done with children. but they may require some assistance due to the strenuous hiking. You won't make much progress just using your feet to walk up, so it's a bit faster and easier if you use your hands and crawl up the dune. It's difficult, but definitely worth it once you reach the top!

NOTE: One of the downsides of the Cape Kiwanda area and Pacific City is that it is typically very busy and crowded.

2.7K Written by katelocke

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  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors


From Pacific City, Oregon

  1. Head west on Pacific Ave toward River Ave (0.1 mi)
  2. Turn right onto Cape Kiwanda Dr (1.0 mi)
  3. Continue onto Kiwanda Dr (240 ft)
  4. Turn left (0.1 mi)
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Guest Review/Comments



7/14/17 11:49 am
Cape Kiwanda is an amazing place for a little adventure! Hiking up the Great Dune was killer on my legs, but so worth it once I saw the views at the top! You'll be sorry if you don't have a camera with you. (Keep a close eye on little ones if you bring them with you, as they can easily run under the safety fences to the edge of the cliffs.) If you're looking for a great place to surf, hike, take pictures, sandboard down the dunes, or a place to bring your family for a nice summer afternoon, Cape Kiwanda is the place to go! I definitely recommend you stop here if you are in the Pacific City area!
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