The oceanside land north of the Yachats River once served as a footpath for people of the coastal tribes. It later became part of County Road 804, which, at low tide, included the 7-mile stretch of beach between Yachats and Waldport. County Road 804 was the settler’s route of travel from the farmland of the upper Yachats River valley to Waldport’s Alsea Bay until the 1930s when the highway was completed. The highway replaced the oceanside section of County Road 804.
Today’s 804 Trail North begins from the Smelt Sands Recreation Site parking lot and winds north 3/4 mile, where it connects at low tide to the 7-mile stretch of sandy beach. During the 1970s, a long legal battle ensued to have this section of the 804 vacated. Oregon’s high court finally ended the argument with its ruling in the mid-1980s that the 804 Trail North must be continued. This 3/4 mile section of trail subsequently became part of Oregon State Parks.
Successful mediation with local homeowners in the late 1990s allowed for the completion of the 804 Trail South. The 804 Trail South is about a mile in length. It begins at the south edge of Smelt Sands Recreation Site, crosses the oceanside lawn of The Adobe Resort, continues through oceanside neighborhoods to the Yachats State Recreation Area, and ends on the north side of the Yachats River in downtown Yachats.