On 7/25, Robin Maslowski and I (Alisa Geiser) completed the Fastest Known Time for a supported run of the Oregon Coast Trail. We began running at 2:26 pm on 07/07/2017 and completed the trail at 9:15 pm on 07/25/2017, with a total distance of 420 miles, tracked via GPS watches, in a total time of 18 days, six hours, and 49 minutes. (or 438.8 hours)
While this trail is often cited as being incomplete, there is a "complete" route listed on the Oregon State website: www.oregon.gov/oprd/PARKS/Pages/OCT_main.aspx
This is the course we followed. We found the listed milage of 382 to be incorrect.
The Oregon Coast Trail been recorded between 382 and 425 miles, depending on whether boats are used and whether rivers are low enough to ford. We decided to use boats only when/where readily available to the public, and ford rivers only when/where doing did not require any special skills or gear. We forded or ran around all crossings except for the Nehalem River, where Jetty Fishery offers ferry service for $10 (just stand on the shore opposite the American flag and wave 'em over). We were unable to cross the River Sixes and had to do a bushwack detour of several miles to Airport Road, to the 101. We stayed on the 101 to Port Orford.
According to Wikipedia, 41% of the "OCT" is actually on Highway 101. This road mileage could be greatly reduced with state-run ferry crossings . . something I'd love to see! Several sections of the highway have minimal shoulder and tight turns. There is one section near Heceta Head Lighthouse where a very tight tunnel must be journeyed through. There is no shoulder here, and cars go by FAST which means flattening yourself against the walls to avoid mishap. The Oregon Coast Trail Association recommends arranging transportation through the tunnel. I would second that recommendation.
Additionally, the trail is closed from Indian Beach to Ecola Point parking lot and will be re-routed at a time not yet announced. We ran the park road between these two locations.
Many miles of this trail, especially in the southern stretch, are either very new or not maintained. We encountered places where the trail had eroded into the sea, and not been replaced. Expect a decent amount or route-finding and bushwhacking.
Please note that the "Trail" ends in a State Recreation Site (Crissey Field) that closes at 9 pm. The ranger who at first came out to chase us off, was (upon hearing we'd run from Astoria), kind enough to let us enter the park and finish, but I'd recommend timing your final day to end before 9 pm. Additionally, we were not able to find an actual trail at the end of the "Trail". The Ranger on duty had never heard of the Oregon Coast Trail, didn't recognize the oregon.gov map I showed him (it states simply "The End of Crissey Fields State Park is California State line and end of trail.") but was able to direct us to the post that signifies the state line. We jogged past his trailer, climbed over some brush piles, and tagged that post.
We shared the journey via Instagram (mostly live stories) at @runfor__. We also took video the entire time (as well as photos) and will be making a documentary film about the experience, to be released next Spring by Nova Productions (novaproductions.com). Follow alisageiser @robskimaz, or @runfor__ to be notified when the film releases.
Here is our daily milage:
25 - 7/7/17
18 - 7/8/17
5 - 7/9/17
22 - 7/10/17
34 - 7/11/17
22 - 7/12/17
0 - 7/13/17
22 - 7/14/17
25 - 7/15/17
30 - 7/16/17
22 - 7/17/17
25 - 7/18/17
33 - 7/19/17
26 - 7/20/17
26 - 7/21/17
17 - 7/22/17
6 - 7/23/17
34 - 7/24/17
28 - 7/25/17
We did much of the trail self-supported, and I would recommend this for future runners. There are so many options for food and other needs along the way, and the seafood alone makes this run worth every step. You run through some really wonderful communities, and stopping by for an espresso or some oysters is a great way to experience them.
There are so many variables for this trail, logging an FKT becomes challenging. I doubt anyone has ever done the same route twice - and maybe they never will! Perhaps we can develop a point system instead, where extra points are awarded for seafood consumed and fishing boats hailed at river crossings.
We had such a great time on the OCT and are excited to see how the trail develops and hear about what kinds of adventures future runners find out there!
Alisa May Geiser