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Big Creek-Forest Park Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Skunk-cabbage and cord grass along Big Creek, Ocean to Bay Trail (bobcat)
Boardwalk, Ocean to Bay Trail (bobcat)
Sitka spruce woods, Forest Park (bobcat)
Alders in Jeffries Creek bottomland, Forest Park (bobcat)
Route of the hike shown in red (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Agate Beach TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Fogarty Street Trailhead
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out or loop
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 560 feet
  • High Point: 265 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This walk brings together two distinct ecosystems: the swampy bottomlands of a coastal creek and a forested ridge of venerable Sitka spruce; there's also the option of heading out to the beach. The north end of the unfinished Ocean to Bay Trail in Newport is at the Agate Beach parking area. From here, a path leads inland under Highway 101 and then takes a series of boardwalks through the Big Creek bottomlands. After reaching Big Creek Park, you can take an old road track up and then down in a lush, mossy Sitka spruce forest, part of Newport’s 96-acre Forest Park, established in 2012 in a partnership between the City of Newport and the Oregon Coast Community Forest Association.

You can begin the hike just south of the restrooms at the Agate Beach Trailhead. A footbridge takes you over Big Creek and then you head inland through a veritable tunnel of shore pine, Sitka spruce, and salad. At the west end of the large parking area, a signboard displays a map and information about the Ocean to Bay Trail. Continue past the sign and through a tunnel under Highway 101. At a flight of steps, the graveled tread veers right and parallels 101 but about 20 feet below it. Hike along in red alder, Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, elderberry forest above a swampy bottomland. Sword fern and spiny wood fern are abundant. There are many interpretive signs telling about the plants. Cross Big Creek and use a boardwalk (Take care - the boardwalks are slippery in wet weather). The bottomland is blooms with skunk-cabbage in the spring. You are likely to come across deer and woodpeckers as you hike this trail. Reach a larger boardwalk above a prairie cord grass (Spartina) swamp. There are more boardwalks and you recross Big Creek several times. Reach an alder grove as you hike along the north bank. Boardwalk is interspersed with gravel tread. Arrive at N.E. Harney Street and go right.

Immediately, turn right again on Big Creek Road. Cross Big Creek and go left into Big Creek Park. You will see a covered picnic shelter on your right and a playground and the Newport Water Treatment Plant on your left. Cross a footbridge over Anderson Creek and head steeply up an old road in lush, mossy woods dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock. The understory is made up of sword fern, salmonberry, salal, and red elderberry. Although this area was logged about 60 years ago, there a few old growth spruces remaining. At the top of the rise reach two massive water tanks. The ocean is barely visible through an alder screen. The road bed drops from here and a spur leads off to the left. Continue down the main track and notice a swing rope near a large spruce to your right. Descend gradually, with an elderberry-choked gully on your right. The gradual descent becomes steeper as you approach the swampy bottomland of Jeffries Creek. Skunk-cabbage and bulrushes rim the marshes with gnarly old red alders and Sitka spruce shading the verges. The creek flows through culverts under the road, which then rises up a slope. Reach a rusting yellow gate near the Fogarty Street Trailhead.

From here, you can return the way you came, but if you prefer a loop with something other than a natural ambience, go left on Fogarty and then right on 12th. In five blocks, you will reach Highway 101. Cross the highway, jink right and continue on 12th another five blocks until you see Oceanview Drive. Go right on Oceanview and it will take you back down to the Agate Beach Trailhead. From here, you can take a pedestrian tunnel under Oceanview Drive and enjoy a stroll on Agate Beach.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • No fees
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms, interpretive signs

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.