The west trailhead is one of two known trails to reach the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain. The other trail is the south approach which I have not done so I was not comfortable doing a route page on it. The west trail is a gradual elevation gain that even the novice hiker could do without much difficulty as long as they are in moderately good shape. The only hazards being mud along the trail, and slippery rock near the summit, but an overall easy summit to obtain as long as one is careful.
Heading South: To get to the West trailhead go about 15 miles south of the turnoff for highway 26 and park on the right hand (West) side of the road. The trailhead will be located on the left hand (East) side of the road. There will be a small sign at the trailhead with a map confirming that you are in the right spot.
The trail starts right off of Highway 101 and has a fair amount of switchbacks. Right off the bat, you are treated with great views of the Pacific Ocean and some interesting sea stacks. Most of the trail takes you through old growth forest. Beware of mud when the weather has been wet. There was mud when I hiked it but it did not pose much of a problem. There is enough varied scenery to keep you interested while hiking. At approximately the 1.5-2 mile point there is a sharp switchback that goes uphill and to your left. We were lucky enough that someone placed enough foilage across the trail to know that we needed to go to our left, otherwise you could easily continue on forward, although I am not sure where this portion of the trail leads. Continue on from this point to the summit. Follow the ridge with great views of the Pacific Ocean and the little town of Manzanita. The summit will be uphill and to your left when you round the corner. You can confirm that you are on the summit by looking for the USGS marker that is placed there. Sit back and enjoy the view.
During all seasons a backpack with your basic contents for a small hike. Tennis shoes should work just fine, except for maybe in the dead of winter. You may want to wear footwear that is a little thicker for then. Remember that you are hiking on the coast so be prepared for bad weather or windy weather. When my wife and I hiked this, it started out with clear blue skies and when we reached the top, it was overcast, drizzling, and windy. Then when we returned to our car it was blue skies again.
"Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of."