Thing to Do

Fort to Sea Trail

Interpretive sign at overlook with a view of tall trees and the ocean

While the Corps forged its way through deep woods, muddy bogs and windswept beaches, a 6.5-mile trail now runs through much of the same forest, fields and dunes that the Corps traveled. The Fort To Sea Trail starts in the woods south of Fort Clatsop and goes to Sunset Beach on the Pacific Ocean, winding through ancestral lands of the Clatsop Indians who aided the Corps during their 1805/1806 winter stay at the Pacific.

The Fort to Sea trail makes a great day hike if you have prepared well. There are sections of the trail that are steep, going both uphill and downhill, sections of the trail that can be slick and muddy, and areas without much vegetative cover. Know before you go what the weather will be like, where you are going, and how you will get back to your car (remember it is 6.5 miles ONE WAY). There are bathrooms at the trail head, sunset beach, and about halfway through. There are no water fountains so make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks. Please also plan on packing out anything you pack in as there are no trash cans along the way. Check out our safety page for more tips to prepare for your hike, and stop in at the visitor center before you go to pay the entrance fee, grab a trail map and check in with the ranger regarding any trail closures or dangerous conditions. 
 
Details

Timing depends on speed and amount of stops you take.

Length: 6.5 miles point-to-point

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail is well marked with pit toilets available at the trail head, about 3 miles in and at the Sunset Beach Parking Lot.

 No water is available along the trail.

There are benches between the trailhead and Clatsop Ridge Overlook and a picnic table at the Overlook and benches within a mile of the Sunset Beach Parking Lot.

Note: This is point-to -point,  and there is no shuttle service. If you want to hike a portion of the Fort to Sea, but you want a loop, consider hiking part of the Fort to Sea then taking a connector to the Kwis Kwis to return to the visitor center.

All ages welcome, minors should be accompanied by an adult.

Your leashed dogs are welcome on the Fort to Sea trail, please pick up after them.

The entrance fee can be paid at the visitor center prior to departing.

To start the trail at Fort Clatsop, From Astoria, head south on U.S. Highway 101 and follow the signs to Fort Clatsop. From Seaside, head north on U.S. 101 and follow the signs. The Fort to Sea Trail starts at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center in the picnic area. To start the trail at Sunset Beach, travel to just past Milepost 13 on U.S. 101 and turn onto Sunset Beach Lane. Drive to the Sunset Beach/Fort To Sea Trailhead parking lot.

Additional parking at trail head 1 mile south of the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center on Fort Clatsop Rd.

Please note the gates for parking at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center close at 5 p.m. in the winter and 6 p.m. in the summer. If you anticipate a return close to that time or after, plan to park at the trailhead or at Netul Landing and hike up the Netul River trail which will add 2.5 miles to your round trip.

While the Fort to Sea Trail is navigable in any weather, please note that rain can make the trail slick in some places and muddy in others. The boardwalk and portions of the trail west of 101 can be under water during winter months. Be sure to check the weather and know what time the sun sets before your departure. 

It is not advisable to utilize any trails at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park during periods of high wind. Downed trees are common and may make the trail difficult or impossible to pass. 

Trails are open from dawn to dusk. The visitor center parking lot is gated, and closes at 5pm in the winter and 6pm in the summer. If you aren't sure you can make it back by that time it is best to park in the lot for the trailhead just south of the visitor center lot (look for the parking symbol on the map).

Accessibility Information

Substrates - 60% compacted ¾” gravel, 20% boardwalk, 10% compacted dirt, 10% sand

Steep slope - A steady elevation change of 300ft from trailhead to Clatsop Ridge overlook and long length of switchbacks after the Clatsop Ridge Overlook.

Narrow section of path - 32 inches

Benches/rest areas: Bench between trailhead and overlook. Picnic table and benches at overlook

Obstructions: After passing through the tunnel under 101 there is a section of the trail with cattle guards that are narrow and do not provide a sufficient turning radius for wheelchairs. 


Potential hazards: Muddy, flooded, trail washing out, high winds, downed trees, wasps, slick boardwalks


The Fort to Sea Trail is not designated as wheelchair-accessible. For specific inquiries please e-mail the Lewis and Clark NHP Accessibility Contact or call (503)861-2471.

Sunset Beach Scenery

Last updated: June 28, 2021