Indian Sands is a very clearly marked viewpoint approximately 6.5 miles north of Brookings. You’ll find ample parking space with plenty of room to stretch out and get yourself nice and limber for the hike.
The trailhead leads slightly uphill at first, followed by a steep descent through the forest to the sands. It’s not much of a hike, really. You’ll be there within five minutes easily.
The forest gives way to windswept dunes and sand formations like nowhere else on the Oregon Coast. It’s a great place to lounge like a lizard and soak up some sun. The sand is golden — not the typical gray of Oregon beach sand. When I was a kid I was surprised not to see camels loping by.
If you are in the mood to hike, hug the treeline and stay to the right. If you are in the mood for some adventure, turn to page 103. You know what I’m talking about. Something like: You stumble on some rocks and tumble to your doom in the sea below. The End. Gotta start all over from the beginning …
On the left, the sand slopes toward the ocean, so it’s easy going. Waves crash under an arch of a land bridge. I always sit and watch the waves here. For as long as I can remember the waves have been my favorite reason to come down. They smash against the cliffs, sometimes launching spray 40-60 feet in the air (The Bellagio has nothing on this). The water is a tumultuous, thundering white sheet. You can feel it rumbling the rocks if you dare to get close enough.
Be mindful of the risks. Folks have been seriously injured out here — or worse. So if you are hiking with children or pets, be aware of the danger. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been coming down here since I was a kid. Super best place to fly a kite ever. Always windy. You just have to be aware of your surroundings.
The trail literally comes within 2 feet of the sheer cliffside for several yards. Standing on the edge is exhilarating with the wind blowing and the water churning endlessly below.
If you continue on this leftward trail, you can cross the land bridge, or explore the jagged water-washed cliffs. I enjoy watching the seagulls glide on the updrafts, entering and leaving sight without ever flapping their wings. So graceful.
Ever since I first watched Jeb Corliss on YouTube, I have wanted to wingsuit. Imagine the freedom! Defying the laws of nature. Gliding along just like the birds, cruising the updrafts. I could watch those goofy birds cruise for hours.
Once you’ve had your fill of birds and wind and waterspouts the coastal trail awaits.
Head north across the open expanse. Where the trail resumes, sand gives way to dirt once more.
Brace yourself. It’s an uphill struggle from here on out.
The trail is carved through the trees, all hunched over like little old men clinging to the side of the hill, bent over by the coastal winds. They form a welcome barricade against the wind, which is usually overwhelming.
Once the sea is out of sight, the forest quickly becomes thick and dark. A small creek goes subterranean, appearing and reappearing as you make your ascent.
When you reach the top, most likely winded, the bridge awaits. Small-time wonder of Oregon, Thomas Creek Bridge is the tallest bridge in the state at 345 feet. If you aren’t too afraid of heights, the view from the middle of the bridge is pretty amazing.
I recommend giving yourself 30-45 minutes one-way for the hike. If you’re not into the uphill/downhill action, I suggest the two car ferry method. Unless you went solo. Then you just have to lung it out.
Bear in mind that if you bring a kite and a picnic lunch or if you’re just in the mood to explore, you could be there for a couple of hours.
Have fun! Don’t forget your water, snack and a jacket.