Natural Bridges at Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is one of the most popular spots on the Oregon Coast. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a state park that encloses an 18-mile stretch located in Brookings and Gold Bar along Highway 101. There are many ways to enjoy this south area of the Oregon Coast: having a picnic at one of the viewpoints, sight-seeing, hiking to the beach, and camping.
Popular stops in this area include Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint, House Rock Viewpoint, Whaleshead Beach, Arch Rock, Indian Sands, China Beach, Secret Beach, Thunder Rock Cove, and the most famous of it all: Natural Bridges.
How To Find The Natural Bridges At Samuel H Boardman – Step-by-step Directions
Getting to the Natural Bridges trailhead is very easy as the parking lot and trailhead (with multiple paths) are located right off Highway 101.
The Natural Bridges Viewpoint is just a few steps away, and it is located on the left side of the parking lot. There’s a wooden platform that looks down to the cove and view of the Natural Bridges. From here, you could follow the trail down and access the bridge from the left side.
However, the path to the famous spot that is all over Instagram is actually a bit more secretive. It’d taken me days of researching, and I finally came across this blog post where there’s a written direction the night before we did this hike. We followed it but still got lost twice, hence, I decided to write my own step-by-step directions below. I hope they are helpful
- Head to the RIGHT corner of the parking lot. Follow the curved footpath that looks like you’re going back out to the main highway road, but you’re not.
- Take the LEFT at the fork.
- Take the LEFT at the fork again.
- Hike down the super steep and scary-looking dirt road on your LEFT. Make sure you are very careful here as it can get very slippery even on dry days because of loose dirt. Stay low and hold on to the trees.
- Once you get down to the edge, you’d get a good view of the bridges and the cove, and I believe people call it Natural Bridges Cove Viewpoint. However, you’d need to keep hiking down.
- Follow the same steep trail as it will lead you to the top of the arched bridge. You’d reach some steep and rocky areas, and there will not be clearly marked trail. Just head LEFT and pick a safe path to get down to the top of the arched bridge.
- Hike back the same way that you get down.
It is steep and dangerous, and I do not recommend hiking to this spot to everyone. If you don’t have sturdy shoes or if you’re hiking on a wet rainy day, please save it for another day. If you are afraid of height or a beginner, please don’t do it.
Photo tip: To get the photo of you standing on the top of the bridge, you’d need a person to go back to the Natural Bridges Cove viewpoint (spot in step 5) and shoot down with a long lens. Be careful when hiking up and down in general because of loose dirt and rocks.
views from Natural Bridges Viewpoint, steps away from the parking lot
view from the Natural Bridges Cove
I did this trail on a dry and hot Labor Day morning at around 6 am, and I was actually slipping and sliding a few times because of the steep dry dirt road. There were a few couples who also hiked down to the bridge, and one of them got engaged on the top of the arch bridge, pretty cute! Later a guy literally jumped to the top of the arched bridge which looked pretty scary, but I guess it’s possible to get down here from the left side of the parking lot.
Personally, I think this spot would be much better at sunset because the entire area would get much better lighting. We woke up early for sunset and waited around until the sun was up all the way, but the area wouldn’t get any better light. There were no light beams like the ones I had seen on Instagram. I think that must have been a rare winter morning where the sunrise is pretty far South. This area is generally very shaded and dark, but I’m determined to go back here in the near future.