An in-town hike that’s not too strenuous begins at 28th and Irving Streets, meandering up the hill to the Astoria Column . If you drive to the trailhead, park along 28th Street. It’s about a one-mile walk to the top. En route is the Cathedral Tree, an old-growth fir with a sort of Gothic arch formed at its roots.
The Oregon Coast Trail  starts (or ends) at Clatsop Spit, at the north end of Fort Stevens State Park . The most northerly stretch extends south along the beach for 14 miles to Gearhart . It’s a flat easy walk, and your journey could well be highlighted by a sighting of the endangered silver-spot butterfly. The species frequents just six sites, including four in Oregon ; Clatsop County is one of them.
The endangered status of the creature protects it by law and has stopped developers from building resorts on coastal meadows and dunes north of Gearhart . Look for a small orange butterfly with silvery spots on the undersides of its wings.
You might also encounter cars on the beach. This section of shoreline, inexplicably, is the longest stretch of coastline open to motor vehicles in Oregon. Call the State Parks and Recreation Division (800/551-6949) for an up-to-date report on trail conditions before starting out.
Fort Stevens State Park  has nine miles of hiking trails through woods, wetlands, and dunes. One popular hike here is the two-mile loop around Coffenbury Lake.
In 2005, as part of the expansion of Lewis and Clark National Park , the Fort to Sea Trail was created to link Fort Clatsop  to the Pacific. The 6.5-mile trail follows the route through forest, fields, and dunes that the Corps traveled as they explored and traded along the Pacific coast.
The Fort to Sea Trail starts from the visitors center at Fort Clatsop. The first 1.5 miles involve a gentle climb past many trees blown down in a big 2007 storm to the Clatsop Ridge, where on a clear day you can see through the trees to the Pacific Ocean. The ridge makes a fine destination for a short hike, but the really beautiful part of the trail is the hikers-only (no dogs) stretch from the overlook to the beach, where you’ll pass through deep woods and forested pastures dotted with small lakes. The trail passes by a tunnel underneath U.S. 101 and then through dunes to the Sunset Beach –Fort to Sea Trail parking lot. From there, a one-mile path leads to the beach.
Unless you plan to return along the trail—which makes for a long day’s hike—you’ll need to arrange a pickup. Consider hopping on the Fort Clatsop–Fort Stevens–Sunset Beach shuttle bus operated by Sunset Empire Transit District (503/776-6406, www.ridethebus.org ). The shuttle operates once hourly 9:45 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Monday–Saturday mid-June–Labor Day. The best way to work the shuttle is to park at the beach, ride the shuttle to Fort Clatsop, and then hike back to the car, thereby avoiding worries about missing the last bus.