Bayocean Spit

Bayocean Spit from Cape Meares

  • Easy (to first trees)
  • 2.3-mile loop
  • No elevation gain

  • Moderate (to forest valley)
  • 5.2-mile loop
  • 100 feet elevation gain

  • Difficult (to jetty)
  • 8.4-mile loop
  • No elevation gain

The scenic, sandy peninsula sheltering Tillamook Bay not only has some of the coast’s best birdwatching, but it’s also the site of one of Oregon’s strangest ghost towns. Sample the sights on an easy loop to the headland’s first trees, or continue to a forested valley, or hike all the way to the jetty at the spit’s tip.

The ghost town story begins in 1907, when a Kansas City realtor named T. B. Potter platted the “Queen of Oregon Resorts” on the sandy spit. The city of Bayocean soon boasted a hotel, grocery, bowling alley, and the largest indoor saltwater swimming pool on the West Coast. Visitors were ferried from Portland by ship. Hundreds of lots were sold. Then one night Mrs. Potter reported that her husband had gone violently insane. He was never seen again. Development ceased.

The spit's foredune

In 1917, when construction of Tillamook Bay’s north jetty changed ocean currents, street after street of the town began eroding into the sea. A 1932 jetty extension sped the process. By 1952 Bayocean Spit was an island, wiped clean of its city. A dike built in 1956 to protect the bay caused the spit to regrow, creating Cape Meares Lake.

From Highway 101 ... The trail starts …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range.