North Gales Creek Trail Hike
From Oregon Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Reehers Camp Trailhead
- End point: Bell Camp Road Trailhead
- Trail log:
- Hike Type: In and out
- Distance: 6.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 1465 feet
- High Point: 2520 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: All year
- Family Friendly: No
- Backpackable: No
- Crowded: No
The Gales Creek Trail runs for 12.7 miles from the Summit Trailhead at Rogers Pass to the Reehers Camp Trailhead. The trail is most usually done in sections although there is , obviously, the car shuttle option or a long in and out day hike. This northern section is not in the Gales Creek drainage at all, but begins its route along the upper reaches of the Nehalem River before rising steeply to the ridge that divides this from the Gales Creek/Wilson River drainage. This is post-Tillamook Burn secondary forest, mostly Douglas-fir, with logging roads and the Tillamook Railroad track to cross. Its assets are that it can be hiked in all kinds of weather and at all seasons, except perhaps in deep snow, and it is only an hour’s drive from the city. Early or late in the day, you will have a chance to spot the deer, elk, and coyote that ply the same trails as you do.
Hike down an old road bed from the trailhead and then along the course of the Nehalem River shaded by Douglas-fir, red alder, and western red-cedar with an understory of sword fern, Oregon grape, and salmonberry. Soon enough, the trail rises to the Nehalem River bridge on Cochran Road. The Gales Creek-Triple C Trail Junction is across the road. Cross the bridge and pick up the Gales Creek Trail where it rises off a blocked-off logging road to the left.
Head downstream above the Nehalem and then cross a footbridge over an unnamed creek. The trail rises on a slope of Douglas-fir, Oregon grape, mossy vine maples, and salal. You will see some larger Douglas-firs just before you cross the tracks of the abandoned Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad. Wind up from the tracks, dip, and then rise to the Gales Creek-Step Creek Trail Junction.
Keep right here and take an undulating trail into dense forest, switchbacking up and then winding along a bench to cross a logging road. Head up through a thinned stand of Douglas-fir and hemlock and pass an alder bottom before traversing up a gentle slope to the Gales Creek Trail-Round Top Road Junction.
Cross Round Top Road and keep rising in Douglas-fir/western hemlock woods with an Oregon grape, sword fern, salal carpet. Pass over an old road bed and, hiking now on a steeper grade, make three switchbacks up this north-facing slope. After the third switchback, which is near a clearcut, start looking through the trees to your left for glimpses of Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Adams. The trail drops a little, rises, and then switchbacks again. Wind up on a gentler slope above a bench before crossing an abandoned logging road and traversing up a steep rise. Switchback and make a long traverse above a gushing spring shaded by vine maples. Reach a road and cross it. It’s a short distance through a salal carpet to Bell Camp Road and the Bell Camp Road Trailhead.
It’s mostly downhill from here to the Gales Creek Campground; the route is described in the Gales Creek Hike.
- Maps: Hike Finder
- Gales Creek Trail (State of Oregon)
- State of Oregon, Department of Forestry: Tillamook State Forest
Fees, Regulations, etc.
- Share trail with mountain bikers
- Search Trip Reports for North Gales Creek Trail Hike
- 12/29/13 Gales Creek Trl South From Reehers Camp /EOY Stats
- Gales Creek – Step Creek – the Triple C
- 1/1/13 Four Trails From Reehers Camp (Tillamook StateForest)
- Gales Creek Trail from Reehers Camp 4.25.10
Related Discussions / Q&A
- Search Trail Q&A for North Gales Creek Trail Hike
Guidebooks that cover this hike
- Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
- bobcat (creator)