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Kilchis Point Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Boardwalk, Kilchis Point Reserve (bobcat)
Slough sedge (Carex obnupta), Kilchis Point Reserve (bobcat)
Mouth of Doty Creek at Tillamook Bay, Kilchis Point Reserve (bobcat)
Mural on shed, Kilchis Point Reserve (bobcat)
The trails at Kilchis Point (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Kilchis Point TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Kilchis Flat
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Two short loops and a spur
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 20 feet
  • High Point: 20 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum operates this expanse of wetland near Kilchis Point in Bay City. There are two short interpretive loops and then a half-mile spur that leads to Kilchis Flat on Tillamook Bay. Aside from the typical coastal wetland habitats dominated by slough sedge, red alder, and Sitka spruce, you can look across Tillamook Bay and, at low tide, spot hundreds of wading birds foraging in the mud flats. The interpretive signs reveal the history of the area: this was the site of the north coast’s biggest native village; early settlers settled among the natives and attempted farming; a timber company operated here for a few years, using a railroad spur to carry logs out to the bay, whence they were floated across to the mill at Garibaldi. As of early 2015, all the trails were complete, but on some, the final surfacing had not yet taken place.

Walk past the picnic tables and information kiosk, where you might be able to pick up a trail brochure, and pass through the native plant garden. On a paved trail, cross a footbridge in a wetland of alder and willow. Read interpretive signs about Chief Kilchis of the Tillamook tribe and early settler land claims resulting from the Donation Land Act of 1850. A junction with a salmon sculpture marks the beginning connector to the second loop, so keep right in a thicket of elderberry before entering an alder/Sitka spruce/slough sedge wetland. Use a boardwalk, after which the trail becomes compacted gravel. Wind through a carpet of salal and reach the beginning of the Flora and Fauna Trail. Go right here.

There are many interpretive signs about the natural history of the area on this loop. Hike through a carpet of sword fern and, after a boardwalk, enter a salmonberry thicket. The trail winds along under spruce, hemlock, cedar, and alder before reaching the junction with the Pioneer Trail, where there’s a detailed map of the trail system.

Go right here and cross Doty Creek on a footbridge. Look left to see a railroad trestle: the spur line here once carried logs to the bayshore to be floated across to a mill in Garibaldi. Reach a maintenance road which also serves as the trail. Turn right and walk through regenerating coastal wetland and woodland with a dark slough to your right. A grassy track leads right through a salmonberry thicket towards the site of a proposed birdwatching blind. Eventually reach Tillamook Bay at Kilchis Flat (Kilchis Point is on private land to your left). A gazebo here offers views across to the southern hills of Tillamook Bay and west to Bayocean Spit. When the tide is out, sandpipers, whimbrels, dunlins, great blue herons, great egrets, and other shore and wading birds may be seen foraging.

Return along the road track and trail and keep right on Native American Way at the first junction. Enjoy the interpretive signs about the pre-settler inhabitants of the area. Keep right at the next two junctions to begin the final leg of the walk. Here you will read about early settlers and commerce in the area. Emerge at an open grassy area that is also presently infested with Armenian blackberry. Reach a gravel turnaround at the end of Spruce Street, and admire the mural on the large shed before returning to the trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 25 Hikes on Oregon's Tillamook Coast by Adam Sawyer
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan

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.