Days: Parts can be walked in a day, or you can take a couple of months and do the entire stretch
Difficulty: easy to moderate; dress warmly, pack drinking water and watch out for tides
Distance: about 362 miles, border to border
Contact: Oregon Parks Information Center, 800-551-6949 for information; 800-452-5687 for reservations
Maps: Oregon Coast Trail Brochure is available through the Oregon Parks Information Center.
Fall and winter camping in Oregon doesn't necessitate a bed of pine needles and a soggy sleeping bag. From September through spring, you'll find solitary beaches, balmy weather, and sunsets that would make Van Gogh weep. The Oregon Coast Trail traces 362 miles of Oregon coastline, starting just as you cross the Washington border, at the north jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River, and finishing just south of Brookings. You can camp for free on Oregon beaches, as long as you are not adjacent to a state park, or in an area where camping is prohibited by local ordinance. But better yet, stay in one of the 130 yurts that dot the coastline. For unbeatable ocean views, don't miss the yurt at Beachside State Park (just south of Waldport). Yurts cost $27 per night (plus tax) and are available for campers, complete with electric lights, heaters, railed decks and locking doors. These circular structures have evolved from their Mongol predecessors; net-clad windows and clear skylights provide both views and ventilation. Yurts are equipped with futon couches, bunk beds, fire rings and picnic tables, but bring your own cookware and sleeping bags. The Oregon State Park system has 153 yurts in all.