Sunset Bay State Park (near Coos Bay, Ore.)

Rating (Out of 5): 4.5

Open: year-round

Location: Near Coos Bay, Ore.

Distance: About 5 miles round-trip

Difficulty: easy/moderate

Camping: Yes at state parks

Quick hit: Few hikes take in so many stunning views of the Oregon Coast, as this section of the Coastal Trail between Sunset Bay State Park and Simpson Beach.

The trail starts at Sunset Bay State Park, a sandy beach encased by cliffs. The trailhead can be found in the large parking area, near the bathrooms and picnic area, where a bridge heads across a creek and past picnic tables. A large sign about the first transcontinental balloon trip marks the trailhead.

The trail heads uphill and provides views of the cove. Stay right at all trail junctions. Eventually you’ll reach Cape Arago Highway (which you use to come in), and will need to follow the road for a little wise. Continue back into the woods and stay right at all the major junctions as the trail follows the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

The trail touches the highway from time to time, and after about two miles reaches Shore Acres State Park. You can stop here to check out an overlook with interesting history or check out a botanical garden that seems way out of place in a coastal setting. The trail eventually reaches Simpson Beach — another sandy beach below the cliffs — after about 2.5 miles. You can continue further on to other overlooks, and even Cape Arago.

Directions: Coos Bay, Ore. follow Cape Arago Highway south for 12 miles past the town of Charleston until you reach Sunset Bay State Park.

For more info: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_100.php

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