Cascade Head Hike

Thinking of going to Cascade Head for a hike? It’s a perfect pit stop if you’re headed to Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, or Lincoln City. We spent an afternoon on the trail, which starts in–you guessed it–a green dream with massive trees and bearded branches. What?! In Oregon? Mhm. The trail reaches the daylight at a big clearing midway. You may even be so inclined to start singing the Sound of Music once you get to this point, but if not that, than hopefully something else that speaks to you. The dirt trail winds up, up and up to the top, with a steady incline that pulls on your ass (but in a good way).

Getting to the Cascade Head Trailhead

  • From Portland: 2 hours
  • From Salem: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • From Eugene: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • From Pacific City: 30 minutes

There is an upper (north) and lower (south) trailhead for this hike. The upper trailhead is closed January 1st – July 31st. We visited the area in March, so all of the information and directions below are based on the lower trailhead.

Google Maps displays the trailhead as “Cascade Head Trail – South Trailhead” (right next to Knight County Park), which is right off of “N 3 Rocks Road“. You will see a big green & yellow sign that says “Trailhead Parking”. This is where you park. It is a large paved lot and also has a restroom right next to it.

From the parking lot, you walk back up the road from which you came and take a left on Savage Road (just 100 feet or so away from the parking lot). The trail starts on the right shoulder of Savage Road. You will see a blue & tan sign here labeled “Cascade Head Trail”.

The trail parallels Savage Road and continues north as you wind up and across a couple roads, eventually leading you to a sign that says “Trailhead”, which is where your actual forest hike starts. Don’t worry, there is very good signage leading you from the parking lot to the forest trailhead.

The distance from the parking lot to the trailhead is 0.4 miles, about a 10-15 minute walk. This distance is included in the information below.

Hiking From the Trailhead to the Cascade Head Summit

This hike is rated moderate. There are no dangerous spots on the trail (in our opinion), but there are a couple steep sections as you get closer to the summit.

  • The hike is 2.1 miles from the parking lot to the summit (out-and-back trail, 4.2 miles round trip).
    • There are some websites that say this hike is 6.8 miles, this is because they considered the total distance to be from the south trailhead all the way to the north trailhead. All of the information in this post is considering a hike from the south trailhead to the summit (and not going to the north trailhead).
  • Dogs are not permitted on this hike.
  • Total elevation gain is about 1,200 feet.
  • The complete round trip hike took us 3 hours & 15 minutes (this includes an extra 30-40 minutes of resting at the lower viewpoint and stopping to take photos).

You will hike a little over a mile through the forest, where it eventually opens up to the headland meadow, where the cascade head lower viewpoint is. We recommend taking in the views and resting here before the last 0.6 miles to the summit!

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