Ecola State Park sits on the south end of Tillamook Head. It's the forest-looking section when you're driving between Cannon Beach and Seaside. The entrance to the park is actually right off the Cannon Beach off-ramp when you're headed into town from the north end. If you're traveling from Astoria, like I was, it's about a 30-minute drive.
I went out there in early October for the first time. These photos we taken IN OCTOBER, which continues to blow my mind. It was a gorgeous day. Sunny. Fifty-four degrees in the morning. I fell in love in an instant.
There are quite a few trails that run through this park, and I plan to tackle those, trust me. On this trip, I chose the trail that runs along the cliff from Indian Beach to the Ecola Lookout that overlooks Haystack Rock from a distance. I chose this trail in particular for two reasons: 1) I just had to know what William Clark thought was the beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and 2) this trail just happens to be only three-miles round trip, making it a quick morning trip. (Let's think about that for a second. This amazingly gorgeous trail is something I consider a "quick morning trip." I really do live in the best place on Earth).
As far as difficulty, I'd say this is a fairly easy trail. There are some hills, but nothing too serious. I wouldn't recommend going on a rainy day, mostly because of the way the water runs off the mountain, and the area has experienced flooding and sliding in the super rainy months.
This is my favorite area to hike by far and I would absolutely recommend that you add it to your Oregon Coast To-Do List (If you don't have one of those, you better start one now!). There are so many sights to see in this short trail alone, like Terrible Tilly (the Tillamook Lighthouse) in the distance, Indian Beach (which is worth the trip alone), and even Haystack Rock.
I live and play on the Oregon Coast. I sell real estate from Astoria to Cannon Beach. I blog about the cool stuff you can do on the Coast.