Secret Beach, Oregon, is one of the best beaches on the Oregon Coast. With a somewhat steep but short hike down to the beach, you’ll find sea caves, a waterfall, and possibly even wildlife like sea lions once you get there.
This was one of our favorite beaches on our Oregon coast road trip, and we highly recommend a stop here if you have the time.
Here is everything you need to know to visit Secret Beach in Oregon including when to visit, how to get down to Secret Beach, and other tips for visiting Secret Beach.
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Table of Contents
Where Is Secret Beach in Oregon?
Secret Beach in Oregon is located in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. It is north of Brookings, Oregon, along the southern Oregon coast.
While many visitors stop at the well-marked areas in the park, Secret Beach is not as well-marked or as popular. It’s still worth a visit and was one of our favorite spots.
As a bonus, we had the beach to ourselves while we explored. More people will hike to the viewpoint but not all the way down to the beach.
The people we saw were all at the viewpoint, and we only saw two others make it down to the beach the whole time we were there. Make sure to plan your visit so that you can make it all the way to the beach and enjoy the beauty of this stunning Oregon beach.
Best Time to Visit Secret Beach
The best time to visit Secret Beach is between late spring and early fall during low tide. However, you can access the beach any time of the year.
Late spring through early fall (May through October) see less rain and more daylight hours. The hike can become slippery when wet, so a dry day is better for visiting this beach.
Make sure to check the tide schedule before you go. Because access to the beach becomes limited or cut off at high tide, make sure to plan your visit at lower tides to access the cave and all parts of the beach. If you can only visit at high tide, at least hike down to the viewpoint above the beach for the view.
If you can manage to visit when the sun is lower in the sky, the lighting conditions are better for photos. The sun takes a little while to rise high enough to shine down into the cove.
When we first arrived about two hours after sunrise, the sun was not high enough yet to light up the sea stacks along the beach or the beach itself. We used this time to explore the beach itself while the sun continued its journey across the sky.
By four hours after sunrise, there were still shadows from the trees along the cliffs. By six hours after sunrise, the beach had the sun fully bathing it in light, but it was not so harsh to make photographing the beach difficult.
The sunset looks beautiful here as well but you’ll have to wait for the sun to get low enough not to backlight the rocks.
How to Get to Secret Beach Oregon
Secret Beach is located about 12 miles north of Brookings on the Oregon Coast Highway. On Google Maps, you’ll find two markings for Secret Beach parking areas. There are no actual signs for Secret Beach or an official Secret Beach parking lot sign, so you cannot count on that.
The first spot on Google Maps is Secret Beach Trailhead, but do not park here. This one is a small gravel parking area but a harder and longer trail to the beach.
We spoke to a father and his adult son who parked and hiked from here. The trail was slippery and had a rope you had to use to climb down. The father had multiple cuts on his arms from it.
They did not want to attempt that route back up and came back to the parking area with us. We ended up driving them back to their car.
The best place to park to access Secret Beach is the one labeled Secret Beach (access) on Google Maps. I’ve linked it here since it is an unmarked parking area.
If you are coming from Brookings, this parking area is the second parking area north of the Natural Bridges viewpoint on the left side of the road.
The dirt and gravel parking area is very small and only holds a few cars so it likely fills up during busy times. We were the only ones parked there when we arrived and one of three when we left.
If it is full or you want a longer hike to take in more of the coastline, you can also hike from the Arch Rock, Spruce Island Parking Lot, or the Thunder Rock Cove parking area. The Oregon Coast Trail runs all along here making it easy to extend your hike for more mileage.
There are no bathrooms in the small parking lot for Secret Beach access, so plan a trip to the Arch Rock parking lot (.7 miles away, about 2 minutes) or Whaleshead Beach (3.8 miles away, about 5 minutes).
There are also no trash cans in the parking lot or on the trail. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out anything you bring in with you.
How to Get Down to Secret Beach Oregon
Once you park in the access lot, there are a couple of options to get down to Secret Beach. The best way to get down to Secret Beach is to follow the trail on the right side of the parking lot.
I read online to follow the trail on the left (this may have been from the other parking area). We did that on the way down and regretted it after coming back up the trail on the right side.
The trail on the left starts out wide and is easy to hike and follow. However, it quickly narrows and becomes full of roots to climb down and climb over. Eventually, it connected to the other trail.
The trail on the right stays wider and is a clearer path to follow. It was an easier hike although still steep. While you can take either trail, this is the easier option for the Secret Beach hike. Both are more difficult in wet weather as the trail becomes slippery mud.
After the two trails meet up, continue downhill until the trees open up and offer a stunning view of the beach. You can explore this area and find great spots to enjoy the view and take photos.
If you continue out to the edge overlooking Secret Beach and closer to the water, you can see the Miller Creek waterfall on Secret Beach (Miner Creek and Wridge Creek also hit Secret Beach). You’ll see the runoff to the ocean to know where to look for the waterfall.
If you want to actually get all the way down to Secret Beach, go the short distance on the social trail onto the rocky outcrop where the trail appears to end.
From here, you can choose your journey down to the secluded beach (depending on how low the tide is). We climbed down on the left side when facing the water. We saw someone else climb down the right side and walk around the edge while the water was low enough.
Both sides are doable, but you will want shoes with good grip. If the rocks are wet, use extra caution.
You will have to cross the waterfall runoff, so choose a spot you can step or jump across or wear waterproof shoes or shoes that can get wet.
What to Do at Secret Beach Near Brookings
Once you reach the sand, take your time to explore this hidden gem. Keep an eye on the water for two reasons though.
The first reason is the tide. You want to make sure you can safely get back to the trail before the water gets too high.
The second reason is sea life. We saw a handful of sea lions both in the shallow water along the beach and in the deeper water among the sea stacks while we were there. One was very close to the beach. Do not bother the wildlife though.
If you continue down the beach, you’ll also find a large sea cave that now goes all the way through the rock. Depending on how low the tide is, you can walk all the way through it.
We had a negative tide of -1.2 feet and could walk all the way to both sides but the waves were coming up to the side you see from the trail already.
We went around the sea stack to get to the other side of the cave to enter it. Be careful climbing over the rocks as there are anemones, mussels, and starfish among the tide pools and rocks.
Look at the walls of the inside of the cave as well. Bring a flashlight to see the sea life more easily. It was amazing how many organisms we saw inside the cave.
When you are done exploring or the tide starts to rise, make your way back up the same way you came down.
How Long is the Secret Beach Oregon Hike?
The hike from the access parking lot to the beach is about .5 miles round trip. Expect to do about a mile round trip if you go down the cave and explore that area.
Give yourself at least an hour or two to explore the area if possible. If you just want to hike to the viewpoint and back out, expect it to take about 30 minutes.
Can You Swim at Secret Beach in Oregon?
Yes, you can swim at Secret Beach in Oregon. Being from Florida and used to swimming in water the temperature of warm bath water, we were not tempted. The water was way too cold for us to enjoy.
Are Dogs Allowed at Secret Beach?
Yes, dogs are allowed at Secret Beach. We saw a dog on the trail down to the viewpoint with a local who takes him hiking along the coast regularly.
The last section down to the beach requires some scrambling. You may need to carry your dog down, and that would make this section extra tricky as you may want your hands free.
Things to Do Near Secret Beach in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
There are so many beautiful spots to explore in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. While Secret Beach is one of the best places to stop, don’t miss the other great views the park offers.
We enjoyed the sunset at Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint and the view from Natural Bridges Viewpoint. Arch Rock is a good spot to stop for the view, and it has a bathroom.
If you continue a little further north along the coast of Oregon, check out Floras Lake State Natural Area for Floras Lake Beach and Blacklock Point.
Where to Stay Near Secret Beach in Oregon
When visiting Secret Beach, Brookings makes a great spot to stay close by. Don’t expect to find chain hotels here though. You can check availability and pricing for the local hotels on Agoda here and on Booking.com here. Consider a stay at a Beachfront Inn if you are looking for a good option.
You can also stay north of Secret Beach in Gold Beach. We stayed at Jot’s Resort (Agoda | Booking). It looks run down on the outside, but the rooms are modern and recently redone. The rooms have large balconies overlooking the Rogue River and the bridge.
If you are camping, the Harris Beach State Park campground just north of Brookings is a good option.
Wherever you choose to stay, make sure to stop and explore the seaside gem known as Oregon’s Secret Beach.
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