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Oregon Dunes Day Use offers one of the best places in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area to see and experience acres of wind-sculpted, shifting dunes. The Oregon Dunes encompasses the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.

Moving history

The sand comes from sedimentary rock uplifted 12 million years ago in Oregon’s Cascade and Coast Range Mountains. Rivers moved the rock downstream, tumbling and grinding it into sand. The present shoreline stabilized about 6,000 years ago. The strong elemental forces of tides, waves and winds have been constantly moving the sand for centuries—up to two and a half miles inland in places!

Trail connection

Experience ever-changing sand dunes and coastal forest extending to the Pacific Ocean at the Oregon Dunes Day Use. This site provides access for people of all abilities and is the trailhead for the Oregon Dunes Loop Trail. The first half-mile of the trail is paved and accessible. The remainder of the trail takes hikers through the dunes to the beach. Field rangers share their knowledge of geology, plants and animals during the summer months.

Sharing the Beach

The coastal population of the western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) was listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993. The western snowy plover spends its entire life on the beaches of Washington, Oregon, California, and the Baja peninsula.  The population in Oregon has ranged from 72 to 208 adults since 1993. Of the eight nesting sites in Oregon, five occur on the Siuslaw National Forest and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Please pay close attention to the clearly marked nesting sites and avoid the areas.

Seasonal beach restrictions for Western Snowy Plover nesting areas

  • Amenities: Flush toilets, water, paved trail [only one trail here], picnic areas and a viewing platform
  • Operating Hours: Daylight use only. It’s open every day, year-round  
  • Fee: $5 per vehicle per day or Recreation Pass required
  • Difficulty: Easy on paved trail; more strenuous through open sand to the beach.
  • Tours: Interpretive staff onsite during summer months
  • Safety: Very windy and quick coastal weather changes. Know the tides at the beach; watch for sneaker waves.
  • Accessibility: Watch Hidden Gems from our Accessible Adventures series
  • Expansive ever-changing sand dunes
  • Viewing platform overlooking awe-inspiring expanse of dunes
  • The Pacific Ocean
  • Unique fauna and plant habitats
  • 43.833933, -124.150949
  • From Reedsport, Oregon, travel 11 miles north on Highway 101, to Oregon Dunes Day Use, located on the west side of the highway.

This site is featured in the Accessible Adventures video “Hidden Gems” found on this page: