Hiking to God’s Thumb

Somethings are worth getting up early for – and this hike is one of them.

With a heat wave rolling through the Pacific Northwest a few weeks ago, I was super lucky to already have a coast weekend on the books. My college friends all converged on Lincoln City for a long 4-day weekend. If we hadn’t booked this trip months in advance, we would have been sorely out of luck as everyone escaped the soaring temperatures in the valley (116 yikes!) for the cool marine layer and pacific sands.

On the last morning of our trip, my friend Sarah and I set out pre-dawn to squeeze in one last adventure.

Starting in a cool forest trail as the sun started to filter through the deciduous trees, the 6-mile out-and-back trail meandered briefly before gaining elevation quickly.

After around 2.5 miles, we reached the junction for “The Knoll” – a grassy outcropping with fantastic views of town and the coast line. Taking this split, we finished our coffees as the pink hues of morning turned brilliant blue against the ocean. Now that the caffeine had kicked in, we also scored a few jumping photos for old-times sake.

Returning to the junction, we continued onward as the trail shifted like the ocean tides between coastal forest and grassy meadows until we could hear the waves crashing below.

Rising before us: God’s Thumb.

A mound of basalt jutting from the sandy shore below, this interesting coastal feature is grassy on one side and sheer, crumbling cliffs on the other. And the hike to its summit is just as interesting. Following the spine of the ridge, the trail is heavily eroded and steep. Take your time if you venture to the top.

Reaching the summit, the view disclosed secret coves, private unreachable beaches, and rocky outcroppings that were holding on for survival against the pounding waves. Soaking in the moment, we had God’s Thumb all to ourselves – a rarity on the Oregon Coast these days.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Getting there: Google (and Strava) can mislead you on this hike. The trailhead starts from an empty cul-de-sac at the end of NE Devils Lake Road. You’ll see signage for “the Knoll.” If you park elsewhere, you are likely to get a ticket (or be trespassing on private land).

Hike length: Most articles and descriptions I found online, said this hike was 4.3 miles. However, following the main trail and including the side jaunt to the Knoll, I recorded a hike closer to 6 miles (two devices). So, give yourself a little extra time because who really knows!


Published by Kelsey Ivey

An avid traveler and hiker, Kelsey is a freelance writer and professional explorer.

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