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Bayocean Peninsula County Park, Oregon, United States

Tillamook Spit

A hike on the levee road takes you past tidal mud flats, a freshwater pond, and maybe some elk on your way to the sea

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Length: 11.7 miles / 18.8 km
Duration: Full day
Overview: This long hike on Tillamook Spit can take you all day - but you'll see lots of different habitat while you're there.

Starting off at the turn onto Bayocean Dike Rd., you'll pass several miles of tidal mud flats. The bulrushes and other plants that grow here are incredibly productive, able to hold together a loose, sandy sediment with masses of roots. Look offshore in the bay for crab boats and other fishermen.

As you head out onto the end of the spit, the scenery changes from the tidal flats and inner Tillamook Bay to a sandy, wave scoured point. Indeed, the jetty at the end of the spit keeps the sand from closing off the shipping channel during large storms.

Heading back on the ocean side of the spit, you'll see the typical flat Pacific Northwest beach, able to take the huge waves of winter. Who knows what the waves will wash up on this part of the coast?

Finally, after cutting back across the dunes to the road, you'll come back on the high side of the dike and find a freshwater pond, Cape Meares Lake. The area surrounding this pond is frequented by elk coming down from the hills to feast on tidal flat grasses.

Points of Interest


Dike Road

This road leads all the way to the end of the spit

Tidal Mudflats

The mudflats here are home to crabs, clams, and dozens of other species of invertebrates. In addition, watch for seabirds and other predators that prey on them.

Parking Lot

An option for a shorter hike, this parking lot cuts off a couple miles.

Bulrush Tidal Flats

These flats are extremely productive, supporting a wide variety of life. Be careful if you choose to walk out on the flats, the mud is extremely soft and you can sink to your waist easily.


This jetty keeps winter storms from closing off the mouth of Tillamook Bay to boat travel.

Open Ocean Coastline

The open coast here is typical of the Pacific Northwest, a wide, dissipative beach created by large winter storm waves and smaller summer surf. Watch for all kinds of treasures washed up from the ocean, from shells to fishing floats to little bits of beach glass.

Dune Trail

This trail through the dunes leads you back to the parking lot and the dike road.

Cape Meares Lake

Cape Meares lake is surrounded by yellow Scotch Broom, an invasive plant.
Pictures in this guide taken by: jasonrkillian

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About the Author

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Former Michigander, transplanted to Oregon for grad school a decade ago. Can't pick a sport, so I...

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