Cumulative mileage figures in parentheses refer to mileage in this section only.
The Oregon Coast Trail changes character south of Cape Arago. The beaches are narrower and the sand softer, which makes the going a bit harder for hikers. The scenery continues to be stellar, of course. And there are some very remote stretches. In fact, south of Bandon you enter what is perhaps the remotest OCT stretch of all; once you get a mile or two south of town, it’s likely you won’t see another soul for 13 or 14 miles.
|Beach south of Coquille Point|
From this point, you will be on the toughest stretch of beach walking on the Oregon Coast, in my experience. The sand is coarse and soft, the beach steep; it may help to hit this area at low tide, but I don't think it helps much. And there is no camping allowed except in one spot (to avoid disturbing nesting snowy plovers March-September). Continuing south, look for an "INFORMATION" post in the dunes about 1.5 miles past the New River mouth, marking the north end of the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern; continue another 3.25 miles to a second "INFORMATION" post, which marks the location of the only (primitive) campsite on this stretch of beach. Even if you don't camp here, it's a good place to get out of the wind and take a break.
Continue 4.25 miles more to the end of the plover fencing (March-Sept.) and a break in the dune with lots of footsteps emerging (17 miles); follow the footsteps to a trail that leads east 0.5 mile, crossing a footbridge over New River, to Boice Cope County Park on Floras Lake, a good place for an overnight (toilets/water). The park caters mainly to board sailers and kiteboarders; there’s plenty of room for a backpacker to set up a tent in the middle of the camping loop. Alternately, arrange to stay at the B&B a few steps away (www.floraslake.com). I don’t think there is any regulation against camping on the beach or in the dunes here, as long as you’re outside of the plover fencing.