The Hobbit Trail in Oregon winds through a dense, mossy forest before emerging at a beautiful and secluded sandy beach. Conveniently located between Florence and Yachats, the Hobbit Trail is a can’t miss stop on the Oregon coast. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the hike and hopefully, inspire you to add the Hobbit Trail to your Oregon Coast road trip.
Hobbit Trail on the Oregon Coast
- Distance | 1 mile
- Elevation gain | 225 feet
- Difficulty | Easy
- Total time | 1 hour (+ additional time at the beach)
- Epic-ness rating | 5.5
We love the Hobbit Trail because you get a little taste of two of Oregon’s most prominent landscapes: lush green forests and rocky shorelines! This 1-mile round trip hike winds downhill through an enchanted mossy forest before emerging at the secluded Hobbit Beach.
Tucked away on the northern side of Heceta Head, Hobbit Beach is the epitome of what makes the Oregon Coast so special: quiet sandy beaches, towering cliff sides, and vibrant forests. And while the ultimate destination is Hobbit Beach, the journey through the forest on the Hobbit Trail is equally as magical.
Conveniently located off Highway 101 on the Oregon coast, the Hobbit Trail is the perfect road trip stop to stretch your legs and experience a beautiful section of the coast. If you’re staying in the small towns of Florence or Yachats, Oregon, the Hobbit Trail trailhead is located within a 20-minute drive.
Other oregon Resources
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- Short and fairly easy hike.
- Beautiful lush green forest.
- Wide sandy beach with massive rocky cliffs.
- Frequent fog can obstruct ocean views.
- Fairly popular trail that can get crowded.
Where is the Oregon Hobbit Trail?
The Hobbit Trail is located in Washburne Memorial State Park on the central Oregon Coast. The closest town is Florence Oregon, located about 15 minutes away, followed by Yachats, Oregon, located about 20 minutes away.
The trailhead for the Hobbit Trail is just north of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse can also be accessed via an additional 1.5-mile hike on the Heceta Head Trail which connects with the Hobbit Trail.
It’s also possible to access the Hobbit Trail from the Washburne State Park Campground by walking along the beach or taking the Washburn Valley Trail.
Best time to hike Oregon’s Hobbit Trail
Because the weather stays fairly mild near Florence, Oregon, the Hobbit Trail can be hiked year round. You may experience slightly more pleasant temperatures during the summer (June through September), with average highs in the upper 60’s, especially if you wish to spend some time hanging out at Hobbit Beach.
In the winter (November through February), average high temperatures top out in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s making for chillier, but still typically pleasant, hiking conditions.
Rain & Fog
Florence, Oregon also receives heavy rainfall from about November through late April, averaging between 16 and 19 days of rainfall per month. In addition to rain, thick fog is not uncommon, which creates a mysterious aura while hiking through the mossy forest, but unfortunately means the coastal views are often impaired.
For the best chance of avoiding fog and/or rain all too common in Oregon, it’s best to hike the Hobbit Trail during the summer months.
In summary, for the warmest weather and the least chance of rain, target June through September to hike the Hobbit Trail. If you are visiting outside of the summer, you can definitely still do the hike, but be prepared for the high possibility of rain, fog, and chilly weather.
How difficult is the Hobbit Trail?
The Hobbit Trail is only 1-mile round trip, making it a fairly easy hike suitable for families, children and hikers of all skill levels. That being said, there is a bit of elevation gain returning from the beach to the Hobbit Trail trailhead.
While the trail is generally well maintained and easy to follow, it is covered in slick roots that can pose an additional challenge to maneuver around. The trail is almost always wet (particularly outside of the summer season) which makes for slippery conditions.
Hobbit Trail Hike Details
In the following sections, we’ll give you more details about each section of the Hobbit Trail hike, including how to extend your hike to the Heceta Head Lighthouse or via the China Creek Loop and Washburn Valley Trail.
Hobbit Trail Trailhead & Parking
Finding the Hobbit Trail trailhead can be a little tricky because it’s not marked on Google Maps.
The parking area is located on the east side of Highway 101. If you’re driving north from Florence, Oregon to the Hobbit Trail Trailhead, the parking area is located on the right-hand side of the road.
After passing signs for the Heceta Head Lighthouse, you’ll round a sharp curve at Heceta Head before the road turns gently left. Once the road straightens, keep an eye out for the parking area to the right.
The Hobbit Trail parking area is a small pull off on the side of Highway 101 with space for about 20 cars. If the parking lot is full, there is also limited parking available along the side of the road.
Tip | The exact coordinates for the Hobbit Trail Trailhead can be found here.
starting the hike
From the parking area, the trailhead for the Hobbit Trail is located across the street. Once you enter the forest, you’ll quickly come upon an intersection.
Here you’ll want to keep right, following signs for the Hobbit Trail. To the left, the Heceta Head Trail takes you to the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Hiking down to Hobbit Beach
The hike to Hobbit Beach is almost entirely downhill, winding through a majestic forest of moss-covered Sitka Spruces, huge trees commonly found on the Oregon Coast that can grow up to 70 meters tall!
The Hobbit Trail is one of those hikes where the journey is perhaps just as magnificent as the final destination. Dense moss hangs from the branches of massive pine trees, thick ferns and flowering rhododendrons cover the forest floor, and a layer of fog often blankets the tree branches.
In the springtime, you may see skunk cabbage, a large leafy plant with petal-less flowers surrounded by a yellow leaflike bulb. These unique plants are one of the first flowers to emerge in the spring. They look like they belong in a rainforest!
Although this is a fairly popular hike, it’s certainly possible to find some peace and quiet (aside from birds chirping and streams babbling) among the towering spruce trees.
As the forest meets the beach, the Hobbit Trail cuts through a thick tunnel of trees before emerging at Hobbit Beach. The rocky cliffside blanketed in tall pine trees adjacent the flat sandy beach makes Hobbit Beach particularly scenic. It’s a picture perfect snapshot of the Oregon coast’s natural beauty.
From the Hobbit Trail, you’ll emerge at Hobbit Beach at marker 93. Remember this to find your way back if you plan to walk a little way along the beach. From there you can walk south for about a quarter mile until the beach is intersected by the cliffs of Heceta Head.
For a longer walk, head north along the beach. Note that the beach becomes narrower in some spots to the north. It’s always a good idea to check tide conditions before you set out.
Hobbit Beach is a wide sandy beach, making it a great spot to pack a towel and picnic and hang out for a while, soaking in the beautiful scenery.
If you’re visiting during the off season or earlier in the morning, you’re likely to have the entire beach to yourself. When we visited in April, we arrived at 9am and we’re the only ones there to begin with!
To get back to the trailhead from Hobbit Beach, retrace your steps up the Hobbit Trail until you return to Highway 101.
This will be the hardest part of the hike. It’s all uphill back to the car with about 225 feet of elevation gain. Although it’s entirely uphill, the elevation gain is fairly mild and manageable.
Extend the Hobbit Trail hike
If you want a longer hike, you’ve got two options to extend the Hobbit Trail, which tell you all about below.
Heceta Head Trail & Lighthouse
- Distance | Adds 3 miles roundtrip
- Elevation gain | Adds 700 feet roundtrip
Find this hike on AllTrails | Heceta Head Lighthouse to Hobbit Beach
After hiking back up the Hobbit Trail from Hobbit Beach, you will once again come upon the trail intersection near Highway 101. To hike to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, you can turn right here, following signs for the Heceta Head Trail.
This trail is significantly more challenging than the Hobbit Trail, covering about 700 feet of elevation gain with a few steep sections of switchbacks. In addition, the trail is often very muddy, especially outside of the summer season. If you plan to hike this section, make sure to wear shoes with good traction and be prepared to get a little muddy!
About a mile and a half from the Hobbit Trail intersection, the Heceta Head Trail spits out above the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The trail offers a spectacular view overlooking the 1000-foot-tall Heceta Head Lighthouse and the rocky coastline behind it.
You can also continue all the way down to the lighthouse where you also have the option to go inside.
China Creek Loop & Valley Trail
- Distance | Adds 3 miles roundtrip
- Elevation gain | Adds ~100 feet roundtrip
Find this hike on AllTrails | Hobbit Trail & China Creek Loop
For an easier way to extend the Hobbit Trail hike, the China Creek Loop and Valley Trail is a nice option for an additional 3 miles roundtrip with minimal additional elevation gain.
To access the Valley Trail, walk north along the shore from Hobbit Beach. Continue for about a mile along the beach before taking a trail that connects to the Washburne State Park Day Use parking area.
Cut across the parking area and continue along the trail until it intersects with Highway 101. Here you will cross the highway again and continue on the Valley Trail past Washburne Campground.
Less than half a mile from the highway, the trail reaches another intersection. Turn left to take the China Creek Loop. Otherwise, stay to the right to skip the China Creek Loop and continue on the Valley Trail. If you decide to skip the loop, you’ll cut out about three-quarters of a mile.
After completing or bypassing the China Creek Loop, it’s a gentle one-mile hike back to the Hobbit Trail parking area. Similar to the Hobbit Trail, the Valley Trail meanders through a dense, lush green forest.
The Washburn Valley/China Creek Loop is a great extension to the Hobbit Trail because it allows you to see more of the beach and explore a less busy section of the forest.
Other Oregon Resources
Looking for more incredible hikes and things to do in Oregon? You may also be interested in the following:
- How to Hike God’s Thumb: the Best Trail on the Oregon Coast
- Guide to Visiting the Spouting Horn in Cook’s Chasm
- 24 Can’t Miss Things to do in Bandon, Oregon
- Why Oceanside is Worth a Visit: Hidden Gem on the Oregon Coast
- 21 Amazing Things to Do in Coos Bay, Oregon
- How to Visit Thor’s Well: A Mysterious Ocean Cauldron
- How to Visit Secret Beach: An Off-the-Beaten Path Hike in Oregon
Questions about hiking the Hobbit Trail near Florence, Oregon, or how to extend the hike to the Heceta Head Lighthouse or China Creek Loop? Let us know in the comments section below!