Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way


I had been wanting to tackle the Fort to Sea Trail and finally got the opportunity in July of 2020.

The trail roughly follows the route Lewis & Clark would have traveled to the Pacific Ocean during their stay at Fort Clatsop the winter of 1805/06.

It is an interesting hike beginning in the forest, continuing through grassy fields, and finally reaching the sea.



Location: near Fort Clatsop, about 10 minutes from Astoria
Trail Type: Out & Back
Elevation: Sea level – 329ft
Difficulty: Moderate, due to the length


Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way

Our Stats


Date: July 2020
Distance: 12.2 miles
Start: Fort Clatsop
End: Fort Clatsop
Hiking Time: 5hrs 20min


Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon
Our Fort to Sea Trail route

Know Before You Go

Entrance Fee: $10/person if parking at Fort Clatsop. America the Beautiful passes are valid. click here for current fee pricing
There is no fee if you park at Sunset Beach State Recreation Site
Trail Map:  Link to trail map



Fort to Sea Trail

We parked at Fort Clatsop and began the hike at the nearby trailhead, working our way towards the beach.


Forest Section

The first 4 miles are through a typical Oregon Coast forest with Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock towering above and sword ferns below.

Hint: enjoy the shade now while you can

Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way


An information sign, red elderberry, and a rabbit

Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way


Boardwalk through a swampy section before going through a tunnel under Highway 101.

Fort to Sea Trail, National Historic Park | OK Which Way


Open Field Section

Once we passed through the tunnel the shade was gone. Instead of trees and ferns, there were grasses and dandelions. …and cows.

Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way


Yep, the trail goes right through a cow pasture. You must wind through a number of cattle gates to continue along the trail.

Fort to Sea Trail Lewis and Clark National Historic Park | OK which way


Crossing Sunset Lake

Fort to Sea Trail Sunset Lake | OK Which Way


We’re almost there

Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail, Oregon | OK Which Way


Sunset Beach

The trail led us to the Sunset Beach State Recreation Area parking lot and a very welcome vault toilet. Continuing another third of a mile, through a grassy dune, we reached the Pacific Ocean. Such a beautiful sight with Tillamook Head off in the distance. Off to the right, out in the ocean, we can just barely see the lone basalt rock and Terrible Tilly.

Most Oregon beaches are not accessible to vehicles, but Sunset Beach is one of the places you can drive right down on the sand and tailgate. This is also a popular place to go clamming, when the tides are right.

We enjoyed the view, ate our lunch, then turned around and hiked the 6+ miles back to Fort Clatsop.

Fort to Sea Trail Sunset Beach Oregon | OK Which Way


After the Hike

If you’re not too wore out from the hike, I highly recommend exploring the fort replica at Fort Clatsop. It’s such an interesting look into how the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition survived the winter here.

Fort Clatsop replica | OK which way



This hike was as expected. It’s a long one, but thankfully, it’s primarily flat-ish with only one steep section. Also, since it’s at sea level there are no issues due to elevation. I’m sure I will hike it again someday.

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Trail Review: Fort to Sea Trail Lewis and Clark National Historic Park Oregon | OK Which Way

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