A great run with two rewarding viewpoints: The Knoll
, a grassy open space high above Lincoln City with views to the south; and God's Thumb, a spectacular outcropping of rock high above the Pacific Ocean.
Parking at the trailhead is scarce and fiercely policed by local residents. Consider parking at Roads End State Park (restrooms available) and walking up NE Sal La Sea Drive to the trailhead instead.
Also note that this trail is in danger of being loved to death. Overuse has caused severe erosion in many sections. Please tread lightly and do not leave established trails.
Can be extremely muddy; some steep sections with uneven footing.
Start at the trailhead at the intersection of NE Sal La Sea Drive and NE Port Drive. Pass through the gate and follow the wide trail uphill to the right, marked "To The Knoll
". The path to the left dead ends at an old quarry. At the intersection at the top of the hill, take a hard left to visit The Knoll
, an expansive grassy meadow with spectacular views southwards over Lincoln City and the Oregon Coast.
To continue to God's Thumb, return to the intersection and head north, past the sign that lets you know that this section of trail is an easement over private property. Be respectful and remain on the path at all times! The trail heads north along the ridge line, passing another intersection where another trail heads steeply down to the right. This is an alternative longer route back to the trailhead if you want a longer run or more variety on your return. Continue straight ahead.
The trail turns to the west and descends into a pretty valley meadow and up the other side. From here on in, the trail can become extremely muddy, so be prepared! Also note that the meadows are environmentally fragile areas, so do not forge new paths across the grass here. Once up the other side of the valley, the path heads north, returning to forest for a while.
Eventually, the trail skirts another large meadow and veers left (west) towards the ocean. A joining trail that heads north here leads to private land, so don't follow it. The main trail crests a hill and presents a great view of God's Thumb, a spectacular outcropping of rock high above the Pacific Ocean. Rest here a while before tackling the final section of trail to the Thumb itself.
Note that this part of the trail is highly exposed, with steep drop offs or cliffs to either side. It's also extremely eroded in parts, and can often be very muddy. Exercise common sense and caution, especially if children or dogs are part of your party. People have had to be rescued from this part of the trail!
That said, the views are nothing short of superb!
To return to the trailhead, retrace your steps. Note that the trail heading down the steep slope from God's Thumb itself eventually leads to private property at the end of NW Logan Road, so is not legally passable.
Elk and deer frequent the meadows along the trail. Alder, Sitka spruce, blackberry, salmonberry, and elderberry.