Lone Ranch Beach was our first stop on a quest to scout Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor for 100 Steps. It is the most southern turnout along the 12-mile stretch of southern coast honoring the founder of Oregon state parks.
From the parking lot I could see the beginning section of the path, but seating options seemed dubious. I was hopeful to uncover all possible gems for limited walkers, though, so I surprised my husband by saying, “Let’s give it a shot.”
We geared up against the damp morning air and headed down the trail. I made it to a switchback, placed for wheelchair accessibility rather than sheer steepness. Pavement continued for nearly as far as I had already walked with no visible benches. Hope sinking, I thought it best to return.
Back in the car, I felt unsettled. Had we missed something? I looked at my husband…could he try again? Of course he did (dear man that he is!). He found that bushes obscured a row of beachfront picnic tables just beyond sight of where I had halted.
I nearly bypassed this spot, but after exploring this beautiful State Park for two days, I would place it in the top three walks of the area.
This picnic area offers front row seating to a craggy rock-covered beach carved into the coast just south of a cape. You’re nearly halfway when you reach the sharp turn. Once seated, you can watch the ocean splash against an assortment of low, tall, rectangular and pointy rocks in the nearby bay.
After the last picnic table, there is a small drop off to reach the beach. Like many Oregon beaches, driftwood and rocks are plentiful obstacles. You can scope it out from the picnic area or trail before venturing to the sand. If it seems dubious, but you’re itching for beach walking, Harris Beach State Park’s day use area is a safe bet.
There are two options when you’re done viewing or strolling the beach: return as you came or complete the loop. Continuing is roughly twice the distance. Whichever way you choose, the return walk is up a moderate incline.