Secret Beach is one of the most stunning stops on the Oregon Coast. Although Secret Beach is not a secret anymore, it can still be pretty tricky to find and, as a result, is one of the lesser-visited beach along the coast. We’ve put together this guide with all our tips for visiting Secret Beach in Oregon, including where to park and the trail options for getting to the beach.
How to get to Secret Beach Oregon
Secret Beach is part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor between the Oregon coast towns of Brookings and Gold Beach. Access to the beach is not signposted on Oregon Highway 101 so it is super easy to miss the stop if you don’t pop it in your maps.
There are two main trails that will allow hikers to reach Secret Beach. We prefer the first route (the Secret Beach trail) to access the beach but have also included details of the second trail which follows the Oregon Coastal Trail to Seal Cove.
Secret Beach Oregon tip: plan to visit the beach at low tide if you want to access the beach. At high tide, the sand isn’t visible and there isn’t a lot to see.
Map of Route to Secret Beach Oregon
We’ve made the map below to help with finding and planning your time at Secret Beach. Save this to your Google maps and set them to the parking lot. The Secret Beach trail is the yellow route and is the shortest trail. The orange route is slightly longer but is often easier to park at its trailhead, the Thunder Rock Cove parking lot.
Route 1: Secret Beach Trailhead
This is the route we take when hiking to the Secret Beach. Once you can find the small parking area just off the Oregon Coast Highway, this is the shortest and most direct route to the Secret Beach.
We’ve included a map of the exact location of the parking lot is as it is very easy to miss driving past. It is located behind a barrier just off the Oregon Coast Highway and there is room for probably 8 to 10 cars. It’s worth checking Google Streetview (see here) before you visit to make sure you know where to stop – it’s so easy to miss!
Secret Beach Oregon tip: Be very careful leaving the highway for the parking lot at the Secret Beach trailhead as there is a large drop off between the highway and the pull-in. It would be relatively easy to damage the underside of your car here especially if the weather is wet and the ground soft.
From the parking lot, the trail descends quite steeply and loosely follows Miller Creek. You can hear the water of the creek as you follow the trail.
We recommend wearing hiking boots or trail runners for these trails, especially in wet weather, as it can be slippy and quite steep.
After reaching the bottom of the trail the beautiful Secret Beach is right in front of you!
The last part of the trail is a bit of a scramble down a rock to bring you onto Secret Beach.
Route 2: Thunder Rock Cove
The second trail is a little longer of a hike and more challenging but the Thunder Rock Cove parking lot is larger and easier to access.
The parking lot is located just south of Arch Rock Picnic Area on the Oregon Coast Highway. There is a small, unmarked parking area along the road on the coast side of the Oregon Coast Highway a few hundred yards past the turn-off for (Google Streetview of the pull-in is here).
Secret Beach Oregon tip: If you drive as far as the Natural Bridges Parking Area then you have gone too far for the Seal Cove route to the beach
The Secret Beach Waterfalls
There are two creeks, Miner Creek and Wridge Creek, that flow into the ocean at Secret Beach. Given the right conditions, both creeks create beautiful waterfalls that spill over the beach cliffs. Miller Creek is the waterfall that you will see when hiking down from the Secret Beach trailhead (Route 1 above). For us, this is the more impressive of the two waterfalls. The waterfalls are at their best after some rainfall – when we visited there had not been a lot of rainfall so the creeks were relatively low.
The second waterfall is created a little further down the beach past the first rocky outcrop. and is where Wridge Creek enters the ocean.
Tips for Visiting Secret Beach
We have included some tips to help plan your visit to Secret Beach.
1 | Visit Secret Beach at Low Tide
It’s really important to plan the time of your visit to the Secret Beach due to the tidal movements.
The best time to visit Secret Beach is earlier in the morning during lower tides – you can check the tide times in advance here. This is when most of the beach will be exposed and you’ll have the best experience. At higher tides, the beach won’t really be visible so there isn’t a lot to see and you definitely won’t be able to walk on it due to the waves.
2 | Check the weather forecast
Check the weather forecast and avoid/show caution on the Secret Beach trail and surrounding trails during bad weather. The Oregon Coast is treacherous in bad weather and Secret Beach is no exception.
The area around Secret Beach (including the Natural Bridges a short distance down the coast) has claimed many lives. From cliff falls to sneaker waves the beautiful Oregon Coast is also deadly. We would not recommend trying to access the Secret Beach in wet and windy weather.
3 | Where to Park at Secret Beach
We parked at the Secret Beach trail head and while it is the shortest hike to Secret Beach, the parking area is small and holds less than 10 cars. If you have a large vehicle or a campervan then we recommend parking at the Thunder Rock Cove parking area as there is more space and firmer ground.
4 | Are dogs allowed on Secret Beach?
Yes, dogs are allowed on the trails and on Secret Beach but they must be kept on a lead at all times.