My wife and I set out for my birthday from the Arch Cape trailhead to Oswald Campgrounds. We did an out-and-back in 2 days. A few things to note before you go:
• No road called "Arch Cape Mill" can be seen from 101. Instead look for "Shingle Mill". It is the last left turn going S. on 101 before hitting the tunnel; or (obviously) the first right after the tunnel going N.
• Before seeing any views of the ocean, you have to hike 3 miles, then climb 800 ft in 2 miles. While that may be nothing to avid hikers, we are pretty new at this, and it was tough (more so on day 2). Don't get me wrong, we had a blast, and the views were spectacular; but we did have to stop periodically to catch our breath. Worth the hard work for sure. We would definitely do it again. But be warned that it is quite a climb to Cape Falcon.
• Oswald Campground (as of July 2008) is closed due to old trees falling on campsites (no joke). According to the posted letter, no one has been injured, but trees have been falling. My wife and I set up camp thinking we were lucky to have the whole place to ourselves, only to discover the note at the registration area on day two (after we had spent the night). Having entered the campground from the coast (and not from the highway where the posted closure note was intended to be viewed) we missed the warnings. On the plus side, there was ample firewood because no one had stayed there for a year!
All and all, it is a beautiful trip. We had lunch on the tip of Cape Falcon and saw whale spray on the horizon. The forest floor just NE of the cape is equally beautiful. We saw only 2 other parties on the trail in all the time we were there.
Our feet and legs were sore at the end, but we were glad we had done it. Highly recommended with consideration of my bullet points.