God’s Thumb. The name alone sparks feelings of wonder. Without even knowing anything about it, you can surmise that it is probably pretty awesome. And in this case, you would be right. God’s Thumb is what is left of a basalt dike that formed over 30 million years ago. Waves breached the dike in places and have scoured the softer cliffs behind it, creating the coves next to the formation. One day, those waves will continue to eat out the saddle that now connects God’s Thumb to the mainland, creating another massive sea stack on the Oregon Coast. But that saddle is still there for now, which means God’s Thumb is yours for the taking.
God’s Thumb was a local’s secret for decades, as it was surrounded by private land and “no trespassing” signs. Recent purchases by Lincoln City have made access to the landmark possible, but it is important to follow the correct path and park in the right areas. There is a lot of different information out there, as access has changed over times. The official parking area for the hike is at an empty cul-de-sac at the end of Devil’s Lake Blvd. There will be signs for the Knoll, so you will know you are in the right spot. If you aren’t looking to do the loop and just want an up and back, you can shorten your trip by parking along a couple parking areas on Sal La Sea Drive, but these are only roadside parking areas and can fill up quickly. This is also a residential area, so parking in the wrong spot could get you towed. Getting towed will also likely be your fate if you park at the end of Logan’s Road, the site of the old trailhead. That trail does still go through private property. So your best bet is to just park at the cul-de-sac.
The trail begins on the west side of the cul-de-sac and drops through a nice, forested area as you pass over Logan Creek. In about a quarter mile, you will pop out on Sal La Sea Drive. Make a right and follow the road as it winds up the hill. After about half a mile, the road will end and you will pass by a gate and start hiking a real trail. This is the push up to the Knoll. It is a steep climb as you drag yourself up almost 500 feet in less than ¾ of a mile.
Once the climb flattens out, make sure to watch out for a trail heading to the south, out to the tip of the Knoll. It is just a short walk out to it but you will find some amazing views south over Lincoln City. This is also a popular spot for elk to bed down for the night. Once your eyes can’t take the beauty any more, head back and rejoin the trail to God’s Thumb.
The trail will rise and fall as it traverses the northern ridge of the Knoll on the Way to God’s Thumb. After another half a mile, you will reach the junction with the return portion of the loop. Keep heading straight and begin a fairy steep descent into a nice grassy valley. Climb up out the valley and continue your trek through the trees for another half mile before emerging from the forest for the last time.
Now you’re getting close. Can you feel the excitement mounting? This stretch slowly climbs a grassy ridgeline with views to the south, but you can’t see what’s ahead of you. That helps to build the excitement ever more. Then you will reach the top of the small rise and there it will be, in all its glory. God’s Thumb.
For some people, this may be enough. You can get an excellent view of the formation and surrounding area from here. But other, more adventurous people, may wish to continue. To get that chance to sit on God’s Thumb, and maybe even spin (Sorry. I couldn’t help it. I’m juvenile, I know.). It’s only about .15 miles from this spot to the summit of the thumb, but the trail is steep, has shear drop-offs to the north, and can be very slippery when it is muddy. But if you live for that kind of stuff, by all means, trek on!
The trail drops very steeply at first, with some big steps down over roots and stuff. You head down over 150 feet in very short order, and then will head out across the saddle. Don’t get to close to the edge, because undercuts can form and aren’t too stable. The trail isn’t right on the edge, so it’s not too hard to follow. Once across, the trail will turn into a waist deep ditch as it climbs the Thumb. Conquer that and BOOM, there you are. The views are pretty amazing and you will find yourself filed with a sense of accomplishment. Congratulations. But now you have to get back up that super steep section that dropped you down to the saddle. That part kind of sucks.
Head back the way you came until you reach the intersection near the top of the Knoll. If you would like a little variety and don’t mind missing walking on neighborhood roads, you can head down here. It’s about a third of a mile longer heading back this way, but it makes for some nice variety. It can get VERY muddy however, so don’t wear your Sunday shoes. The trail drops very quickly at first as it descends off The Knoll and enters the headwaters of Logan Creek. Once you are down, it’s just an easy stroll of some mellow ups and down, compounded by one endless mud bog after another. Enjoy!
When in Lincoln City (If you can’t find Lincoln City without further directions, I’m not sure you should be wondering around the woods), head north on Logan Rd off of 101 near the Safeway on the north end of town. Follow it past Safeway for half a mile and then when it begins veering to the left, head right on Port Lane. Port Lane with take you to Voyage Ave, which you will make a left on and follow for another half mile. It will terminate at Devil’s Lake Blvd, which you will make one last left on. The Cul-de-sac parking area is just ahead.
Passes: No passes are required
Dogs: Dogs are allowed and must be on leash.
Open Season: All year, but can get very muddy in the winter.