One of the most popular spots in all of Oregon’s Coast is Natural Bridges. You’ll constantly find pictures of this specific spot on social media.
This is what the Natural Bridges spot in Oregon looks like:
I think this picture is more than convincing enough for you to go there too and I’ll be showing you how to do that in this article, but I will warn you right now, hiking to the spot you see in me in (above) is not easy, nor is it safe, so beware of this.
5 quick things to know about Natural Bridges before you go:
I found out about these things my first time crossing it on my first ever west coast trip in 2019 and these 4 things will save you a lot of time:
1) The location isn’t very easy to find.
The thing about this spot is that most places that show this specific photo, do NOT usually give you the specifics on where this spot is.
They’ll generalize it’s location and also, I’ve never seen any site (other than mine) actually show/tell you how to hike to it (I will).
2) Getting to this iconic spot isn’t easy.
Let me say that while I found this spot and hiked to the location above to get that photo, I had to speak to a local to get the instructions on how to do this. That’s what I’ll be showing you.
3) There are more places like this, but not as beautiful.
And finally, let me say that a large chunk of the Oregon Coast has natural bridges that you’ll see all along the 101 road, BUT this exact spot I’m talking about in this article is officially known as Natural Bridges. If you’re going to travel further in this state, and on the coast, here’s 10 beautiful spots on the Oregon Coast you should check out.
4) Again, a warning before you go to Natural Bridges:
If you do decide to go to this place, let me say that hiking to the above spot IS DANGEROUS.
I cannot stress how careful and in shape you need to be to make it down there.
It took me a few tries to find the right path to get down there, but I almost fell down a few times and had a number of other close calls, and I’m actually in shape, so like I said, PLEASE be careful if you decide to go.
The SAFEST thing you can do at this location is enjoy the view from the lookout that shows that spot.
Now that I have explained this, let me give you the location details and explain how to hike to that specific area…
5) Apparently, you can fly drones here.
I couldn’t believe it the first time I researched this. You really can fly drones here. I called up the management of Samuel H. Boardman Park and they said as long as it’s nowhere near people, it’s fine. So getting photos like these is possible now:
Note: Keep in mind this occurred in 2019, so if you want to be obedient to drone laws, please call the management (ranger) station first and ask them.
Here is exactly where Natural Bridges can be found on the Oregon Coast:
Now that I have explained where the location is, lets get to the next section:
The viewing area (the safest spot):
If you’re not into hiking (or you are but want to be safe), just stick to the viewing area. It is only 30 seconds away from the parking area and here is what you’ll see from it:
Now in my case, I wanted to get down to the area which you saw a picture of above (and this is where it gets dangerous). Now in order to get there, I had to find a specific walk down to that area, but before I found it, I went through 2 other (wrong) hikes, which by the way are also amazing, but if you want to hike down there specifically, here is the “most amazing map” I drew on how to do it:
I assure you, this map, despite it’s lack of masterful art will actually get you to that specific location. Think of this map as a view from the top of the entire location. I have labeled each important area of it from 1-8 and will explain what each section holds:
1) This is where the parking area to Natural Bridges is located. You will see a small sign for it as you drive along Road 101.
2) Once there, you will park your car, walk to the left and reach the viewing area, which is very close. And you saw the picture above that shows what it looks like. Again, this is the safest part of the whole area, where you can enjoy the view.
3) From that point, you have the option to go left which will take you on an official trail across Samuel H. Boardman Park and this is where I accidentally went the first time I was there, thinking it would lead me down to Natural Bridges. It didn’t, but it did take me through other scenic areas. But there are tough and somewhat dangerous hikes.
4) That same official trail also heads the other way, meaning if you head right from the parking area, you will continue the trail and it will take you to Secret Beach, a place I regretfully MISSED while here, and something I WILL return to and view, because that spot is also extremely beautiful (see info on Secret Beach here).
5 and 6) This is where the trail to Natural Bridges begins (and gets dangerous).
These happen to be the exact directions that local gave me when I was there, but I forgot about them, until I figured it out and remembered that I should have listened to his advice and saved myself 2 strenuous hikes.
But anyway from the parking lot (1), head to the RIGHT (opposite of the viewing area), but don’t go on the trail that heads to Secret Beach (4).
Instead, head uphill. There is basically a small hill/mountain that you are aiming to go on and make sure to stay on the main trial path which is in the middle of the hike.
I tried to cut around it, but it ended up taking me to other places, so stick to the highest path because that is the one that will lead you correctly to Natural Bridges.
Heading up that hill will take you to viewing points like this:
But what you’ll want to once at the very top and edge of that hill/mountain is to turn left and basically see a narrow pathway (with trees on it) and that will take you to the natural bridges area.
7) Natural Bridges and the dangers getting there.
This spot and the last one the map I made and they are in my opinion the most dangerous, so if you have any fear of heights or you believe you may get dizzy, I would NOT recommend you go here and just to stay and enjoy the viewing area (2).
But if you choose to go to area 7 on the map, note that this section is very narrow and I advise you hold onto the trees for balance, because it doesn’t take a lot to fall there.
Also PLEASE make sure to wear some good hiking shoes that don’t slip.
I was wearing these hiking boots when I was in the area and they really helped me. If you have your own that you know are reliable, wear those. But the ones I linked were really good for this particular hike.
Either way, this is the narrow area of Natural Bridges I was talking about:
As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was narrow and dangerous there, which is why I really suggest you either don’t go, or if you do, to use the trees for balance (I did).
But this section is the last part before you get to the first image I put above and while there, you will absolutely love the views. I few my drone from there and it was very enjoyable, but it’s still not safe there.
Be very careful, enjoy it and if you choose to go back, I would recommend doing it the same way by heading back through the narrow area, because the opposite side may actually be more dangerous (8) and it’s where I almost fell.
8) I don’t recommend this spot, but you need to know it.
Many of the images I see of Natural Bridges show people standing at the top of this specific area and/or walking to the other side:
It looks so easy when you see it and think it’s easy to stand there, but I tried this when I was there and I greatly regretted it, because not only is it SUPER narrow to cross that spot, but I chose to try and scale/crawl it, and I got stuck, so stuck that the only way to get out of that situation was to go back, and that required a lot of bravery, risk and danger.
So yeah, I would 100% not recommend you cross this specific spot. I just turned back to spot 7 and went back up. And when I did, I made the mistake of not going through the #6 path which is sticking to the highest points of the cliff and I ended up having to walk through very thick woods around the hill.
I was walking up this hill in all the wrong areas (because I though it would be easy) and cursing all the way. This part really drained me, but I had no choice but to keep trying to get back to the parking area.
Trust me, stick to the higher path on (6) and let it take you back to the parking area. Even though it’s physically tougher to walk up there, it’s the best and safest path. And when I finally got to my car, I was completely exhausted because I made so many mistakes trying to get to this spot.
I hope that by reading my experiences with Natural Bridges (here is where I explain my whole west coast road trip what else I saw after visiting this spot), that it’ll help you reach the right areas of it safely. Again, I don’t recommend spots 7 and 8, nor the hike to get there, and I have given you the warnings and dangers about it, and again, you can really enjoy great views from location 2 there, but either way, you now have a map of the Natural Bridges area to decide.
Spots to see near Natural Bridges:
One of the best spots near Natural Bridges is Secret Beach and these 2 spots are very close together.
Other than that, exploring all of Samuel H. Boardman Park and it’s main trail that runs across the coast is recommended too.