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Bayocean Peninsula

Located on the Oregon Coast near Tillamook, Bayocean Peninsula features a beautiful loop ride beside Tillamook Bay to Kincheloe Point, then back along the beach.  In addition, you can vary your ride by following one of several trails through the dunes.  And this spit of land has a fascinating backstory:  it was once a thriving tourist destination and one of the largest towns on the Oregon Coast! 

Bayocean Peninsula


The Riding

The trail to the beach departs from the north end of the parking area.  The beach is 5 miles long (one way). 

Bayocean Peninsula

You can ride beside picturesque Tillamook Bay or take one of the trails through the dunes. 

Bayocean Peninsula

The Backstory

It’s hard to imagine today, but in 1914 Bayocean was a thriving resort community with a population of 2,000 people.  The town was founded by Thomas Benton Potter and Thomas Irving Potter, a son/father duo who visualized it as the “Atlantic City of the West.” They sold plots of land for homesites, built facilities, and promoted the town as a tourist destination.  As a result, Bayocean boasted a heated indoor natatorium, hotel, movie theatre, bowling alley, shooting range, tennis courts, and paved streets. 

People flocked to Bayocean to enjoy the tourist attractions and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Bay views.  They typically came on a 3-day cruise from Portland via the elder Potter’s steamship.  However, entering the mouth of Tillamook Bay to reach Bayocean could be a harrowing experience, so the town petitioned the Army Corps of Engineers to build a jetty.  Unfortunately, the Corps determined that two jetties were needed, and the town would have to pay half.  The jetties were estimated to cost $2.2 million – a whopping figure at the time. 

The townspeople thought the expense was too great and ultimately opted to build just one jetty.  After it was built, it became much easier to enter the bay.  However, the jetty changed the pattern of the ocean waves, which soon began to erode the spit. 

After a few years, buildings began falling into the ocean, and a massive storm destroyed the natatorium in 1932.  The erosion continued, and Bayocean became an island in 1952.  The last remaining building was washed away in 1971. 

During the 1970s, the Army Corps of Engineers built the second jetty, and the stabilized waves soon began redepositing sand on the island.  As a result, Bayocean became a spit once more, and today it’s a Tillamook County Park and a popular undeveloped recreation site.

Overnight Accommodations

Bayocean Peninsula offers day riding only.  The nearest horse camping facilities are at Nehalem Bay State Park, 35 miles to the north.

Bayocean Peninsula

Learn More

You’ll find more information about Bayocean Peninsula and other day rides on the northern Oregon Coast in Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at


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