“An easy run along the beach, past a historic lighthouse and then back along an estuary beach.”
— Bruce Hope
Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Wildlife
Access to the trailhead is year-round and there is no fee to use the beach parking lots. There are fees to use the campground.
This is an opportunity to combine an ocean beach walk (with beachcombing opportunities), a visit to a historic lighthouse, and an estuary beach walk (with great birdwatching possibilities) into an easy loop from a large, readily accessible parking area within Bullards Beach State Park. Unlike the park's camping area, access to this part of the park does not require neither a fee nor a reservation.
Need to Know
This run is best done at low tide on a sunny day. The estuary beach has sloughs that flood at high tide. To cross these, you might have to either wade or work your way around through the brush above the beach. The ocean beach can be quite windy at times.
This run starts at the northern beach parking area (the first one you come to past the horse camp). From there, it's a short climb over the fore-dune and out to the ocean beach. The beach is long and wide, particularly at low tide. From the parking area, it's 1.7 miles along the beach to the historic Coquille River Lighthouse (staffed between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily from mid-May through September).
From the east side of the lighthouse, follow an old two-track road for 0.4 miles to the estuary beach and turn north on the beach. You are now running along the Coquille River, with the Bandon Marsh Wildlife Refuge across the river to the east. Follow the beach for 1.9 miles to a short dirt road that goes up to the park's entrance road, turn left (west) on to that road and follow it back to the parking area.
If you want to minimize running on a paved road, look for a faded old two-track coming down to the beach about 0.2 miles before you reach the entrance road. Leave the beach and follow this old track to a pull-out along the entrance road just east of the beach parking area. Following the GPX track will take you this way.
Flora & Fauna
Watch for seabirds such as black cormorants, black-and-white murres, and brown pelicans.
History & Background
Halfway through this loop, you'll pass by the historic Coquille River Lighthouse. It went into service in early 1896 and was abandoned in 1939 when an automated beacon was placed at the end of the south jetty. After years of neglect and vandalism, the lighthouse was restored in 1976. Part of its foundation was repaired in 2007. It's staffed from mid-May through September by volunteers who interpret the history of the area.
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