Cascade Head Scenic Research Area

View from the top of Cascade Head looking out over the ocean A view of Cascade Head from the highway View of Cascade Head from the ocean shore

Two closure orders exist in the Cascade Head area: (1) Forest Road 1861 due to 2021 landslides until further notice and (2) a natural resource-related seasonal closure Jan. 1-July 15 to protect sensitive nesting habitat. During this time, please do not hike on any roads, trails, or off-trail areas on National Forest lands north of the Salmon River. The exception is The Rainforest Trail, which remains open to hiking use year-round. This seasonal closure does not apply to lands managed by The Nature Conservancy. See current conditions below and map for more information.

The 9,670 acre Cascade Head Scenic-Research Area was established by President Ford on December 22, 1974 “to provide present and future generations with the use and enjoyment of certain ocean headlands, rivers, streams, estuaries, and forested areas, to insure the protection and encourage the study of significant areas for research and scientific purposes, and to promote a more sensitive relationship between man and his adjacent environment."

The first non-wilderness land in the United States to be designated by Congress to ensure protection of its scenic, ecological, and scientific values, Cascade Head laid the groundwork for future Congressionally designated scenic areas, such as Mono Basin and the Columbia River Gorge.

The area encompasses a variety of public and private land uses, including undeveloped meadows and estuaries, agricultural fields, and rural development. The Forest Service works with landowners within Cascade Head to ensure land uses remain unchanged and the qualities that inspired its designation are retained for future generations. Following its designation, the combined area of the Cascade Head Experimental Forest and Scenic-Research Area was recognized as a United Nations Biosphere Reserve.

This spectacular coastal headland provides critical habitat for native prairie grasses, rare wildflowers and the Oregon silverspot butterfly. Researchers have studied fast growing Sitka spruce and western hemlock forests here for many years. The Salmon River estuary is an integral part of the Cascade Head Scenic-Research Area. This estuary provides recreational, research, educational, scenic and estuarine resources, which have national significance. The designation established a long-term goal of restoring the Salmon River estuary and its associated wetlands to a natural estuarine system.

Watch "Grant’s Getaways" featuring Cascade Head and Hebo Lake Campground

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Due to a landslide in 2021, Forest Road 1861, which accesses the Rainforest Trail #1310 - Road 1861 Trailhead, Hart’s Cove Trail #1303 and Hart’s Cove Trailhead, is closed to vehicle traffic from Hwy 101. The landslide washed out a section of the road approximately half a mile from Highway 101, creating impassable conditions. Hart’s Cove Trailhead can be accessed by hiking the Rainforest Trail #1310. Tillamook County emergency response is limited in the Cascade Head area due to restricted access to FSR 1861 and cell service is limited. See map for details.
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Day use only. No overnight camping or parking.
Closest Towns:
  • Lincoln City, OR
  • Neskowin, OR
Information Center: Hebo Ranger District

General Information


The Cascade Head Scenic Research Area spans between south of Neskowin, Oregon to the junction of Highway 18 and Highway 101.

Map showing road closure in effect for FSR 1861 in the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area

General Notes:

Important Information for Cascade Head Area Landowners.

The intent of this letter is to share the USDA Forest Service review and recommendation process for construction, alteration and vegetation management activities within the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area (CHSRA). This includes proposals such as new construction, remodeling, vegetation management, new utilities, or other exterior modification of structure(s) and/or property. The goal of the review is to assist landowners with how construction and vegetation changes can be compatible and complementary to the CHSRA and consistent with the Management Plan and USDA guidelines, and not constitute a substantial change to the Cascade Head Area.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


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Related Information

Recreation Areas

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9,670 acres

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