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Tillamook Bay Wetlands Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Sitka spruce swamp, Tillamook Bay Wetlands (bobcat)
Map at Goodspeed Road Trailhead, Tillamook Bay Wetlands (bobcat)
Looking down the Wilson River, Tillamook Bay Wetlands (bobcat)
Rusting equipment, Tillamook Bay Wetlands (bobcat)
The loop around the wetlands; road walk shown in orange (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Goodspeed Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Wilson River Delta
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 20 feet
  • High Point: 20 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This coastal delta area is also known as the Wilson-Trask Wetlands or, colloquially, “Rain River.” Part of a project to convert some of the estuary habitat back to the tide-influenced delta it once was, the 377-acre parcel of former pastureland was acquired in part through funds from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The land is now managed by Tilllamook County. As with many human endeavors to alter the landscape, diking the estuary for farmland has also resulted in increased destructive flooding on settled land – hence some of the motivation to revert to a more natural state. The proposed restoration will be the biggest such project in Oregon to date. Of the five coastal rivers that empty into Tillamook Bay - the Miami, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask, and Tillamook – the last three come together at this property. You’ll walk along grassy dikes past spruce sloughs to the Wilson River Delta itself and then return along the Trask River above former pastures.

Note that there is a lot of water on this trail in the wet season and the dike can be very soggy, so wear good boots and be prepared to get wet feet! You’re likely to see deer, and this is great birdwatching country, so bring binoculars (Try to find the resident barn owl).

Walk past the steel gate to the left of the parking area (The road to the right leads to a private home). You’ll be following a vehicle track through alder, spruce and elderberry tidal wetlands. To the left and right, a wide slough snakes through dense vegetation. Reach an open grassy area with willow marshes – look for black phoebes here in the winter. Pass under phone lines. Soon, walk by a “land bridge” over the slough. The soggy road track veers left and then passes a spur to a point on the Wilson River. Pass through a thicket of invasive Japanese knotweed and then a grove of alders. One arm of the river snakes lazily to the right as the dike undulates a little. Enter an avenue of 100-year-old spruce trees, and get views across the Wilson River Delta to Garibaldi and Barview.

The track turns at a patch of Scots broom as the dike runs above a slough separating it from Delta Island. To the south, across the wide mouth of the Tillamook and Trask Rivers, traffic buzzes along the Three Capes Scenic Road. Red-tailed hawks flap away and great blue herons stalk the tidal marshes. Cross a concrete bridge which also serves as a tide gate. The road bed drops off the dike, which is overgrown with blackberries: you can continue if these have been cut back. To the left are plots of former pasture land. Look across the Trask River channel to Memaloose Point with its busy boat launch, and then Snag and Dry Stocking Islands in the delta of the Trask and Tillamook Rivers. Pass some rusting farm machinery and large, plastic-wrapped bales of feed.

Take the road from here as it parallels Snag Island. Soon, at a lone spruce, reach the remains of farm outbuildings. The road passes through a fence and crosses a ditch. An electrified fence to your right separates you from Nolan Slough. Continue to a gate, beyond which is the alternative Sissek Road Trailhead. Hike out to the junction with Goodspeed Road and go left. Walk to the next bend, at a house, and go left again. The road parallels the dike along Hall Slough and reaches the short driveway of another home. Keep to Goodspeed Road and soon reach the trailhead parking area.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Very wet, soggy trail tread most of the year

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.