Harts Cove Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This forest trail travels through a western hemlock and old-growth Sitka spruce forest to a dramatic cliff-top viewpoint overlooking Harts Cove. From this high perch you can see sea lions offshore and watch magnificent waves crashing into offshore rocks. Trail surface: Well-maintained forest path with wooden bridges.This forest trail begins by descending on a series of switchbacks through a monochrome stand of 40-year-old western hemlock. After 0.7 mile you’ll cross a wood footbridge over picturesque Cliff Creek.The soothing sounds of this bubbling creek mixed in with the far-off sound of sea lions and ocean wind blowing through the trees gives you a sense of anticipation as you continue your descent toward Harts Cove."
--Lizann Dunegan, Hiking the Oregon Coast (Falcon Guides).
"This forest trail travels through a western hemlock and old-growth Sitka spruce forest to a dramatic cliff-top viewpoint overlooking Harts Cove. From this high perch you can view sea lions offshore and watch magnificent waves crashing into offshore rocks. This forest trail begins by descending on a series of switchbacks through a monochrome stand of forty-year-old western hemlock. After 0.7 mile you’ll cross a woodfootbridge over picturesque Cliff Creek. The soothing sounds of this bubbling creek mixed with the far off sounds of sea lions and ocean wind blowing through the trees give you a sense of anticipation as you continue your descent toward Harts Cove. After this creek crossing the forest opens up and comes alive with giant 250-year-old Sitka spruce trees at center stage.These rare gentle giants thrive in coastal areas and feature stout trunks with dozens of limbs that shoot outward from the base of the tree."
--Lizann Dunegan, Hiking Oregon (State Hiking Guides Series) (Falcon Guides).
"A long day hike in the Siuslaw National Forest. This is an excellent hike, although you should be warned about the first 0.5 mile—it’s a very steep descent, about 20 to 30 percent. Afterward, though, the trail descends at a mostly easy grade to a meadow overlooking the Pacific and Harts Cove. You will enjoy looking for whales and love watching sea lions, listening to their incessant barking. You’ll drive through the Cascade Head Research Area where interpretative signs inform you of the processes that formed this area. After a fire, bare soil predominates. As time passes, red alder takes hold, only to be bumped out by spruce and later western hemlock. It’s no surprise that with over 100 inches of rain annually and a nine-month growing season, vegetation grows quite rapidly. Special attractions: Excellent view of Harts Cove and the mighty Pacific; animal life, including migrating gray whales and sea lions."
--Donna Lynn Ikenberry, Hiking Oregon (Ikenberry) (Falcon Guides).
"While the chance to see a waterfall that cascades into the ocean is bait enough to get you to Harts Cove, the hike itself is a real winner. Between the waterfall, the oldgrowth Sitkas, and the sweeping ocean views, you might be hard-pressed to sequence this hike’s best attributes. Note that the gated road to the trailhead is closed January 1 through July 15.The hike to Harts Cove begins with something almost no hiker wants to encounter at the beginning of a trek: lots of descent. As a matter of fact, you’ll be losing close to 600 feet of elevation in the first 0.75 mile, which of course means you’ll have your work cut out for you at the end of the hike. But for now, down you go."
--Adam Sawyer, Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon (Falcon Guides).
"This forest trail travels through a western hemlock and old-growth Sitka spruce forest to a dramatic clifftop viewpoint overlooking Harts Cove.From this high perch you can view sea lions offshore and watch magnificent waves crashing into offshore rocks."
"Forest Service Road 1861 is closed from New Year’s to midsummer, to avoid disturbing certain easily ruffled residents, which means Harts Cove is hikeable only late summer through early winter. So you miss the spring wildflower bloom; you can still catch the noisy hordes of California sea lions riding the waves and lounging on offshore rocks at Harts Cove beginning in October. The trail winds through deep forest—some ancient, some younger— with occasional glimpses of ocean and, in season, a chorus of sea lion barks echoing through the trees."
--Bonnie Henderson, Day Hiking: Oregon Coast (The Mountaineers Books).
This trail has a little of everything between the old growth stands, creek crossings, climbing over and under fallen trees, open meadows, ocean views, and a great final view of Harts Cove with Sea Lions barking below. Well worth it, even if it's a little sweaty and dirty.
Lower trail is in fine shape the upper 2/3 to 3/4 has problems.The big washouts from last fall's storms have been fixed with new, freshly cut and installed bridges, and some trail re-routes. The very upper part of the mountain's trails are washed out with some steep angles and lots of marble to golf ball size rocks, making the footing dicey but passible. A little scary for novice hikers or those not sure of foot. Personally I loved it but my wife was terrified going down, Crews have been in working on the trail this spring and early summer. Needs a lot of TLC.
This trail is very clearly marked. There are some pretty steep inclines but nothing too drastic. I am not in the best of shape and I made it up them just fine. There is some loose rocks but even if you did fall, you would not be in danger. It is windy at the top and the temp is much cooler. There may be some low clouds so you may not be able to see the ocean, but the view is still awesome. Defintely will be doing this one again!
Posted signs say the trail is closed due to washouts, but we went anyway, just to see how far we could go. Made it all the way to the top, but there were a few uphill scrambles, and the trail is rough in spots. I brought a rope, and without it, my 15-year-old daughter would not have made it up. If you take your dog, be sure to bring a leash, as the cliffs are steep and unguarded. Go early; twice I have been there near to dusk, and both times a cloud cover blew in, drastically restricting the view.
The views from the top are fabulous and worth the scrambling it takes to get there. We were able to see Rainier, Helens, Adams, Hood and Bachelor. Currently the trail is "closed" due to wash out and downed trees, but we ran into about 8 other people on the trail. The trail is still easy to follow. Have fun!
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