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Cullaby Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Skunk-cabbage, Gearhart Fen, Cullaby Lake County Park (bobcat)
View over the Gearhart Fen, Cullaby Lake County Park (bobcat)
On the Ridge Trail, Cullaby Lake County Park (bobcat)
Shore of Cullaby Lake, Cullaby Lake County Park (bobcat)
The loop around Cullaby Lake County Park (bobcat); courtesy of Google Maps


Hike Description

The west shore Cullaby Lake is part of a Clatsop County park which offers two picnic areas and an interpretive trail. The park also displays the Historic Lindgren House, an ax-hewn cedar log cabin built by two Finnish pioneers who homesteaded in the Soapstone Lake area. The cabin was dismantled and moved here in 1970 after repeated occurrences of vandalism at its original location. Cullaby Lake itself is well-known as a destination for warm water fishing (bass, bluegill, crappie, perch), but can experience toxic algae blooms in the summer. The place is quiet in the colder months, which is a good time to visit and experience the interpretive trail, the signs here elucidating the visitor on the natural history of the Gearhart Fen, one of the largest coastal bogs in Oregon.

The Cullaby Lake Wetland Interpretive Trail begins between the park host's trailer and the Historic Lindgren House. An interpretive sign maps out the trail. Walk up a gravel maintenance road past a chain gate. In the early spring, a ditch to the left is full of blooming skunk-cabbage and darting Pacific tree dogs. An alder/sedge wetland is on your right. Sitka spruce and alders rise above skunk-cabbage to the left. Keep straight on the road up and over a low rise and through an open area ringed with blackberry. The track makes a sharp left, with noisy Highway 101 on your right screened by a line of Sitka spruce. Pass along an avenue of spruce, alder, salal, Himalayan blackberry and salmonberry. Meet a paved road, the former access to a race track, and continue straight. A Scots broom cloaked dune rises to your left and to the right, between you and Highway 101, see farm buildings and pastures. Keep straight on the paved road. Pass a line of spruce and the site of the old race track, now just an open field. The trail bends to the left between alders and willows. Walk down a salal and sedge alley and cross a wetland scented with skunk-cabbage to an elevated viewing platform with signs about the plant and wildlife. The trail continues past an active beaver lodge to your left: note the gnawed alder stumps in the vicinity. There are cranberry bogs to the south of the park boundary here. End up at the South Picnic Area, with its shelter and swimming area that close in the winter, and walk to the edge of Cullaby Lake as mallards scoot away.

Walk back along the access road to a junction and pick up the signposted Cullaby Ridge Trail to enter coastal forest of red alder, western hemlock and Sitka spruce. False lily-of-the-valley, sword fern, and salal make up the carpet. The rooty trail rises and falls. A shortcut heads down the ridgeline, but to prevent unnecessary trail erosion, switchback to the right and go left and down under large elderberries, passing a large spruce. The trail swings left around the hill and then descends to park lawns and the North Picnic Area with its playground, swimming area, shelter, tables, and volleyball court.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $3 day-use fee
  • Dogs on leash
  • Picnic areas, restrooms, playground, boat launch

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson

More Links


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.