If you’re up for an epic Oregon Coast adventure, God’s Thumb is the perfect hike for you.
Located on the north end of Lincoln City, Oregon, this is one of the most rewarding hikes in the area. At the end you’ll have views of the strange thumb-shaped cliff, the rugged coastline, the beach, and a view of Lincoln City from above.
God’s Thumb Hike Overview
The God’s Thumb Via The Knoll hike takes you through mossy forests, grassy knolls, and across a steep ridge, to a basalt formation known as The Thumb or God’s Thumb.
Distance: 4.8 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 1180 feet
Difficulty: Moderate (steep areas, windy conditions, muddy trails, and dangerous ridges)
Beginning the God’s Thumb Hike
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS SECTION! The trailhead is difficult to find.
There are several trailheads you can take and none of them are very well marked. If you arrive on the weekend and find the closer lots are full, you can also park in the Road’s End State Park Parking lot.
Sal La Sea Trailhead: This trailhead is located on Sal La Sea road. From Logan Rd, turn onto Sal La Sea road. You will see a parking lot on your right.
We crossed the gate and took the trail at the parking lot but this is actually the longer way, and it meets up with the Villages Trailhead mentioned below. If you want to take the slightly shorter way, park here and keep walking along Sal La Sea road until you get to the Sal La Sea Trailhead.
The Villages Trailhead: This trail is at the end of NE Devil’s Lake Boulevard. Drive until the very end and you’ll find a turnaround area with parking spaces.
There used to be a third trailhead with a much shorter route. However, this route now crosses through private property and is illegal to take.
The Hike to God’s Thumb
From Sal La Sea Trailhead, turn right on to Port drive and hike past the last house to reach a gate. From the gate, you’ll take the grassy track towards the right.
This path starts out easy but quickly becomes very steep. Towards the middle of the hike you will be gaining elevation very rapidly. Once you reach the crest, you will be in what’s known as the Knoll.
When you get to a fork in the trail, continue straight to head to God’s Thumb or take a sharp left to get to The Knoll.
The Knoll is often skipped by hikers but it’s a worthwhile stop. It’s a beautiful grassy area with panoramic views of Lincoln City and the beach.
If you’re skipping The Knoll, continue straight and head through the meadow to get to God’s Thumb viewpoint.
For a more in-depth trail guide, check out this post from Oregon Hikers.
Arriving at God’s Thumb
You’ll know when you’re at the thumb when you see a cliff with a dramatic curve jutting out into the ocean.
You can hike all the way up to the top of the thumb but be careful as it can be very windy up there. The ridge leading up to the thumb is also extremely steep on one side so watch your footing.
The summit is absolutely stunning, but if you don’t feel comfortable hiking along the ridge, you’ll still get a great view of the thumb from the trail that leads into the forest.
The trail is an out and back hike so make sure you head back the way you came.
Important Info About The God’s Thumb Hike
- Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on leash. Make sure to pick up after your pet.
- There are no facilities at any trailheads except for the Road’s End State Park Parking lot.
- As of October 2020, it is completely free to park at the trailheads and hike the trail.
- Much of the surrounding area is private property. Make sure you stay on the correct trail.
- The trail is often very muddy so be sure to check the forecast before heading out. I highly recommend wearing a raincoat and waterproof boots.
Where to Stay in Lincoln City
If you’re planning a trip to God’s Thumb, you’ll most likely be staying in Lincoln City. Since this is a pretty popular vacation destination, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in the area.
Here are some of the top rated hotels in Lincoln City, Oregon:
Starfish Manor Oceanfront Hotel — beautiful views, jacuzzi tubs, just a short walk down to the beach.
The Coho Oceanfront Lodge — on-site spa, french press coffee makers, and deluxe daily continental breakfast.
Inn at Spanish Head Resort Hotel — spa and outdoor pool, floor-to-ceiling windows, and Sunday champagne brunches.
There’s so much to see on the Oregon coast. While you’re around Lincoln City, be sure to check out a few other sights in the area:
- Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area (20 miles south)
- Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area (11 miles south)
- Cape Kiwanda (21 miles north)
- Cannon Beach (82 miles north)
Have you ever done the God’s Thumb hike in Lincoln City, Oregon? Let me know what your favorite part was!