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The Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail links the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast on a 62-mile hike.

When it opened in early 2021, the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail was the realization of a decades-long dream to connect the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast via a brand-new hiking trail. Starting in downtown Corvallis and ending just south of Newport, the winding trail cuts through urban bustle, bucolic farmland, rolling hillsides, and more—all in just 62 miles. Along the way, it gives dedicated day hikers and busy backpackers plenty of new terrain to explore.

So if you’re curious about the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail—how it launched, what it offers, and how to enjoy the sights for yourself—here’s a look at the region’s newest long-distance pathway.

The genesis of the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail dates back to 1974, when the idea for a trail through the Oregon Coast Range was first suggested. Early organizers had difficulty securing permission from property owners to build a trail through their lands, so the idea was shelved—with intermittent efforts over the ensuing decades never coming to fruition.

But the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Partnership formed in early 2003 to rectify that—and has worked tirelessly in the years since to make the dream a reality. More than 50,000 volunteer hours and $20,000 in private donations have gone into securing permission from property owners and stitching together a trail that spans city streets, rural roads, logging roads, and—of course—existing paths through the Oregon Coast Range.

Wildflowers found along the Corvallis to the Sea Trail, by Matthew Wastradowski

Whether hikers choose to tackle 62 feet or the whole 62 miles, a rich variety of landscapes showcase the breadth and beauty of the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast Range. Here are some of the highlights:

Corvallis and Philomath: The Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail’s eastern terminus sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Marys rivers near the southern edge of downtown Corvallis. From there, the hike follows a bike path between Corvallis and Philomath, passes quiet creeks, darts in and out of young forests, and heads through suburban communities.

Oregon Coast Range: Once you leave the community of Philomath, the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail ascends into the heart of the Oregon Coast Range—where you’ll take rural roads past regal farmhouses, head onto gravel roads through logged forestland, and skirt the northern edge of Marys Peak (the tallest peak in the Oregon Coast Range) through forests of cedar and Douglas fir. Springtime wildflowers are abundant through May in the Coast Range foothills, especially the purple and blue Oregon iris. The area along this stretch is the traditional home of the Kalapuya people.

Oregon Coast: The final stretch of Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail descends from the Oregon Coast Range toward the Oregon Coast; along the way, the trail follows old Forest Service roads, heads into moss-covered forests of hemlock and cedar, and passes through logging backcountry.

Ready to hit the trail? You’ll want to know a few details before lacing up your boots and filling your pack. (Additional details are available on the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Partnership’s official website.)

1. Different Types of Trail
Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail (C2C Trail), Corvallis to Newport, Oregon - Two hikers travel the C2C Trail from Ona Beach, Oregon to Corvallis, Oregon, down an old logging road near Marys Peak

The trail comprises several types of stitched-together paths—including bike paths, rural (paved) roads, gravel logging and Forest Service roads, and (yes) single-track dirt trails. The eastern half of the trail, between Corvallis and Big Elk Campground in the Siuslaw National Forest, is far more road (whether paved or gravel) than trail; the western half, between the campground and the coast, is far more trail than road. Whatever the surface, fear not: The trail is remarkably well-signed.

2. Permits

Hikers must obtain just one permit along the entire trail—and that applies only to the Old Peak Road portion of the trail, just west of Philomath. The free permit may be obtained by calling the Starker Forests Offices (open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) at 541-929-2477—or by visiting 7240 SW Philomath Blvd., Corvallis, 97333. The permit is good for one year.

3. Wildlife

The Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail passes through remote and rugged forestland, so there’s every chance you’ll see the occasional black bear or cougar; be prepared for how to stay safe in the event of an encounter with either animal. Deer, elk, and a variety of birds call the region home, as well.

4. Overnight camping

Note that you may only camp on National Forest land along the route—so peruse the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Partnership’s official website for a rundown of campsites and plan your outing accordingly. (Big Elk Campground, some 30 miles west of Corvallis, is a popular stop for thru-hikers along the trail; it is also the only place along the trail where campfires are allowed.)

5. Water

The Coast Range may be famously wet, but water sources along the trail can be few and far between—especially in late August or September, when seasonal streams slow to a trickle. Make sure you know where to find water along the trail before hiking by reading through the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Partnership’s official website.

6. Transportation

Not sure how to get back to Corvallis after completing the hike? NW Connector offers regular bus service, with four trips daily between Newport and Corvallis. Stops in town are at Oregon State University, downtown, and the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. The one-way ride takes a bit less than two hours and costs $10 ($7 for seniors 60 and older, children 11 and younger, and disabled riders).

Photos and article by Matthew Wastradowski. For more information on the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail, visit  C2CTrail.org and the C2C Trail on Facebook.

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