Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has more than six miles of hiking trails available for guests to explore. The trails interweave and connect the property in some unexpected and interesting ways. Here is a guide to help you discover and explore some hidden gems of the resort.
Jamie McEwan Trail (Red) to Resort Overlook
From The Lodge, the first place someone interested in the trails should go is the Resort Overlook located on the Jamie McEwan Trail. At the green clock between The Lodge and the Bandon Golf Shop at the starter house, turn your back on the first tee at Bandon Dunes and look east. Walk past the shuttle and bag drop to the far side of the parking lot. There you will find a trailhead sign leading you to the path and climbing up the side of the dune. The path is quite steep and covered with wood chips.
After a gradual turn to the left, you’ll reach the top and a patio. From the patio, you have a crow's eye view of The Lodge, as well as the first, ninth, tenth, and eighteenth holes at Bandon Dunes. On a crisp day, you’ll have a clear view of the Pacific Ocean as well as part of the Preserve.
If you're feeling adventurous and would like to walk to Pacific Dunes, turn left from the Resort Overlook patio.
Resort Overlook to Pacific Dunes
Instead of returning down the hill to The Lodge, turn left after stepping off the Resort Overlook patio and walk along the top of the dunes to the north. An easy way to remember the compass points: if the ocean is on your left, you're going north. The path cuts through beach grass and gorse until it reaches the alternate tees for number two at Bandon Dunes. Don't worry if you feel like you are walking on the course. These tees are maintained, but rarely – if ever – used. As long as you follow the hiking trail signage you will be on the right path.
Follow the path around the tees keeping the gorse on your immediate right. If you see a group of golfers coming up to the first green, use proper golf etiquette and let them finish out before moving on. You're out of the way and it is very likely that you will not even be seen. Continue along the path keeping the gorse on your right. The path leads to the second green at Bandon Dunes and provides an unobstructed view of the entire hole.
From behind the second green, the path leads up the hill to the back tee for number three. One of highest points and one of the best views along the Jamie McEwan Trail is here behind the "tips." Follow the path down the northwest slope of the dune. The path lets out in the parking lot of Pacific Dunes golf course. The trail continues up the dune ridge to the right (north) across the parking lot.
Pacific Dunes to Practice Center
At the east end of Pacific Dunes parking lot, at the base of the dune where the trail becomes asphalt, turn right and walk along the edge of the parking lot until you come to the main entrance road for Pacific Dunes. Across the street, you should see some concrete steps.
From the top of the steps follow the wood-chip path up the edge of the dune to the top of the ridge. There is a great view of the eighteenth green, the clubhouse and patio at Pacific Dunes and the Punchbowl. The trail gets a little wild at this point.
The trail winds around, up and down cutting through gorse along the ridge top as it leads north paralleling the eighteenth fairway of Pacific Dunes. At the north end, the trail runs off the dune ridge through soft sand. Deer often use this path and it is likely you will see them.
This section of the trail is seldom used, so it is also likely you will see evidence of the diverse wildlife that lives in and amongst the dune environments. Animals such as fox, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, beaver, ground squirrel, etc. leave footprints in the sand.
At the base of the dune is Madrone Lake. The trail leads around the southern edge of the lake. This is the northernmost reach of the trail system. From here all trails lead south.
Follow the path along the edge of the pond until you reach the main service road for the resort. Cross the road to a small parking lot. At the far end of the parking lot, there is a gravel path that leads up a gradual incline to the Practice Center building. The gravel path yields to paver bricks at this point.
The paver path leads you around to the North Tee Deck to a breezeway that connects to the bag drop and shuttle service. There are public restrooms and an enclosed observation/ sitting room, offering free coffee, tea, water, and is a good place to have a rest. This is also a good place to catch the shuttle back to The Lodge or any one of the other housing facilities at the resort.
At this point, if you don't want to take the shuttle back to your lodging and want to walk back to The Lodge, continue south along the paver path past the practice putting green called the "Big Putt" and the parking lot.
Practice Center to Woodland Trail (Green)
Leading away from the Practice Center the paver path returns to gravel past the first tee at Shorty's, the nine-hole, par three practice course. The path parallels the first and second holes at Shorty's. Turn left at the trail post and follow the gravel path until you come to another trail post, turn left on the Woodland Trail and follow the wood-chip path behind the second green. The path marks the southern border of the Practice Center and runs parallel to a gravel service road.
Where the trail crosses the service road, follow the hiking trail signs. This path travels under old Rhododendrons and is a gateway to the forest portion of the trail system. Follow the Woodland Trail to a low bridge for service vehicles. Cross the bridge, turn left and walk up the wooden steps. Continue up the path through the forest. A short distance up the trail, on the right is an observation platform with a wooden bench. This is a good place to sit and listen to bird song.
Again, this part of the trail is seldom used, and you might sit there all day and not see anyone else, aside from the odd service vehicle that might drive by a short distance away.
From the observation platform continue up the path to where the forest opens into a clearing. At this point, the path widens and flattens out. Down the path a bit, you will see a sign directing you to the Labyrinth. There you will find a smaller wood-chipped path leading off the main one to the Labyrinth.
The Labyrinth is a maze intended for walking meditation. It is a replica of a maze on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France and a memorial to Howard McKee, one of the founders of Bandon Dunes and friend of Mike Keiser.
Labyrinth to The Lodge
From the Labyrinth continue down the Woodland Trail to a footbridge crossing Chrome Lake. Continue across the partial dam toward Chrome Lake lodging until you reach the base of the hill beneath the cottages themselves. Do not continue up the hill if you want to return to The Lodge. Instead, turn right at the large evergreen and follow the path under the branches to a short boardwalk. Chrome Lake will be on your right. Follow the wood-chip path until you reach an asphalt footpath. You should be able to see The Lodge.
Cross the resort road keeping Chrome Lake on your right. Look for the fish ladder to your left. The lake flows out into Cut Creek, so named for the sea-run Cutthroat Trout that occasionally find themselves in the creek. Cut Creek flows due west down a ravine separating The Preserve from Bandon Dunes until it flows out across the beach and into the Pacific Ocean.
Follow the asphalt path up a slight hill to a set of stairs leading up several flights to the upper part of the same path. Follow the path up the rest of the hill. Cross the parking lot to The Lodge walkway under the eaves. Walk through the double doors and into the lobby giving a wink and a nod to the front desk clerks on your right. Cross the lobby into the bar, belly up and order a double. You deserve it.
That concludes the northern circuit of the trail system. The southern circuit is a little tougher and a little wilder, slightly longer and more remote, but the extra effort is worth it from a hiking perspective.
The Lodge to Dune Trail (Orange)
From The Lodge follow the asphalt path down the hill away from the parking lot toward Cut Creek and Chrome Lake. At the base of the stairs, turn left as if returning to the Labyrinth. Keeping Chrome Lake on your left, cross the main resort road and take an immediate right. Walk a short distance to another crosswalk and cross the road. Stay on the asphalt path following it into the Grove Cottage circle.
Through the Grove at the southern end of the circle, there is a small, multi-car parking lot. There is a gap between two of the Grove Cottages; this is the start of the Dune Trail. Follow the wood chipped path between cottage number 709 on the left and cottage number 710 on the right. A little way up the trail there is an outflow for the pond on the left. Stay on the wood chip path keeping to the left until you come to a gravel maintenance road for Bandon Trails.
The maintenance road T’s to the left at this point, and the trail continues straight. Continue across the road keeping to the right of the maintenance road. As you travel up the path, you will see number six green for Bandon Trails on the right. The trail intersects the walking path between holes six and seven here. Continue up the wooded trail leading south along the ridge. This is more of a traditional hiking trail so be prepared for rougher conditions as you climb the trail.
The Dune Trail shares a summit of sorts with the fourteenth tee at Bandon Trails. Just behind the back tee, there is an overlook spot with a plaque dedicated to where Mike Keiser first stood and laid out his vision for what would later become Bandon Dunes.
From here the trail travels down the southern end of the ridge. It enters small groves of Manzanita, Rhododendron, Huckleberry and a myriad of other plant life. In the spring and fall, this portion of the trail is a good place to hunt mushrooms. Again, this trail sees minimal use and it is likely you will see wildlife.
The trail winds its way down to the base of the ridge. Near the base, there is a boardwalk, which traverses an intermittent wetland and marks the southernmost point of the Dune Trail. From here the trail flattens out and begins running back north, cutting a path through a clearing heavily covered in Salal and Sword Fern. Eventually, the trail leads back to the main entrance road.
At the main entrance road, cross and enter on the other side. This is the beginning of the sand dune section of the trail.
Dune Trail (Orange) to Beach Trail (Yellow)
The Dune Trail enters a wooded glen just off the main entrance road. It winds its way a short distance until reaches a boardwalk, which crosses over a wetland at the base of the dunes. These dunes run the entire coastline from the mouth of the Coquille River in the south to Cape Arago in the north.
After the boardwalk, the trail climbs the east side of the dune. At the top, there is a bench similar to those on the Woodland Trail at the Labyrinth with a view looking north along the coast and the entire Bandon Dunes Golf Resort property. Follow the hiking trail posts through the dunes. The sand is quite soft and the walking can be quite strenuous. This sandy section is roughly three-quarters of a mile, but it might feel longer. Come prepared and bring water.
The Dune Trail meets the Beach Trail at a junction just below the first green at Bandon Trails. From here the trail leads back to The Lodge.
Beach Trail (Yellow) to The Lodge
After reaching the Beach Trail from the Dune Trail, instead of following the sandy section down to the beach turn right and continue back up through a cut in the beach grass. There are a few small shore pines that mark and link where the two trails meet. Cross the Preserve service road and follow the hiking trail signs. From this point, the Beach Trail enters a basin at the base of a sandy ridge that leads up to the first green at Bandon Trails golf course.
In the basin, you may find Silvery Phacelia and wild strawberry growing along and in the trail. Watch your step. The Silvery Phacelia is endangered, and these dunes are one of only a handful of places in the world where the plant still grows wild.
After a couple of switchbacks, the trail crosses between the back of one green and the tips of the tees for hole two. Be aware of the golfers if you see them on the green. Chances are good you will see them before they see you. This section of the trail is crossed by maintenance roads and may get a little confusing.
Once you cross between the first green and the second tee box, cross the short service road and enter the trail leading down through the beach grass. Look for the hiking trail posts. The trail follows through the beach grass here for only a short distance before entering another maintenance road. The maintenance road leads up and to the left. Stay on the road following it up a small hill to the next hiking trail post. The trail enters the beach grass again at this point and leads down between the 18th and first hole at Bandon Trails. From here there is a good view of the first tee box, the eighteenth green, and the clubhouse.
After heading down the slope of the dune, the trail once again crosses a service road. Cross and climb the short distance up to the next section through the beach grass. The trail from here leads right along the 18th fairway so be mindful of play. Lag behind if there is a group on the green.
There is one more maintenance road crossing before the trail leads back to the first tees at Bandon Trails. Turn right once you reach the first tee and follow the trail back to the clubhouse via the patio, or up the hill to the left where the shuttles are. Here, you can either get on a shuttle, or you can walk back to The Lodge.
Walking back to The Lodge is easy and even easier if you’re staying at The Inn. From the green clock near the bag drop, follow the paver path down the hill on the left side of the road and follow the Creekside Path (Blue) signs towards The Lodge. Turn left as if walking to the first tee at the Preserve. Continue past the starter house and down the hill toward The Inn. The pavers give way to a concrete sidewalk.
Follow the sidewalk past the front of The Inn until you find the asphalt path leading back down to the left toward Cut Creek. Just past the bridge, you will find a series of stairs. Follow the stairs up to the practice green at Bandon Dunes and around the golf course side of The Lodge.