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Ya'Xaik Trail-Gerdemann Preserve Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Hiking under Sitka spruce, Gerdemann Botanic Preserve (bobcat)
Rock arch, Yachats 804 Trail (bobcat)
Descent to Mitchell Creek, Ya'Xaik Trail (bobcat)
Himalayan rhododendrons, Gerdemann Botanic Preserve (bobcat)
The loop hike using the Yachats 804, Ya'Xaik, and Gerdemann Preserve Trails (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps


Hike Description

A new trail in Yachats, built in cooperation with the Siuslaw National Forest, honors the native Alseas’ pronunciation of the locale: Ya’Xaik (YAH-hike); since the Alsea were mostly wiped out by European-transmitted diseases before anyone took much of an interest in their language, this is only an approximation. The trail runs from the rocky shoreline to connect with two other short trails: one to Starr Creek and the other down Mitchell Creek through the private Gerdemann Botanic Preserve. The preserve, which protects a lush assemblage of both native and exotic species, was opened to the public by landowners Jerry and Kathleen Sand in 2009. It is named after Jim and Janice Gerdemann, previous owners who used the forested site to test unusual plants from other parts of the world. Spring is a great time to view the various rhododendrons in bloom.

Since the Ya’Xaik Trail connects with the Yachats 804 Trail, the two can be done together (See the Yachats 804 Trail Hike). Note, however, that dogs are not permitted in the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve.

Walk out to a pocket beach at a memorial to two young men who were swept off a nearby rock and drowned by a sneaker wave in 2011. Go right on the Yachats 804 Trail and walk north above the rock shelf that defines the Yachats foreshore. Keep a sharp eye out for a natural arch over a cleft through which the waves explode during the incoming tide. Little black turnstones work the crannies here as well. Past a sign for the Village Gift Gallery, see a small trail post at the Yachats 804-Ya’Xaik Trail Junction.

Turn up this path, which takes you to the parking lot of the Overleaf Lodge. Continue along the edge of the parking area to where the trail resumes in a spruce woodland with lots of crocosmia and false lily-of-the-valley crowding the tread. Reach Overleaf Lodge Lane and walk out to your right, cutting across the parking area for the Overleaf Event Center to reach Highway 101. Cross the highway and walk up the sidewalk on Diversity Lane opposite a row of apartments. At the top of the lane, the Ya’Xaik Trail enters the hillside forest at a bench (There is room here to park you car if you decide to use this as a trailhead).

Walk up steps in Sitka spruce/western hemlock forest, and make a traverse under alders and tall salal bushes. Wind up in a thicket of salmonberry, elderberry, deer fern, and wood fern. Cross a shallow gully, and hike up through open secondary forest carpeted with sword fern and displaying huge stumps with springboard notches. Pass a boundary post for the Siuslaw National Forest, descend a series of steps and switchback down four times to a dense salal thicket. Keep winding down, passing more big stumps, and drop through a dense evergreen huckleberry/salal thicket before crossing little Mitchell Creek. Drop down to the right at an old junction and reach the gate at the Ya’Xaik-Gerdemann Preserve Trail Junction.

To extend your trip a little, continue past the gate about 0.2 miles on what is now the Starr Creek Trail. In about 45 yards, you’ll reach Forest Hill Street. Walk another 75 yards to resume the trail. Drop through a salal thicket, walking sometimes on planks, and pass a spur to Crabapple Drive on the left. The path, really an old road bed, descends through a tunnel of salmonberry and alder to a footbridge at Starr Creek. Beyond the bridge, the trail rises a few yards to a forest road that continues Starr Creek Road into the Siuslaw National Forest a short distance.

Return to the Ya’Xaik-Gerdemann Preserve Trail Junction, remembering to close the gate behind you. Continue down (There’s a short loop option to the left) following the course of Mitchell Creek. This 3 ½ acre property is dominated by native vegetation but also includes a collection of exotic plants from other parts of the world, most notably the huge-leaved Gunnera manicata from Brazil, magnolias, camellias, and various species of large-leaved Himalayan rhododendrons. Small signs details some of the plants. Pass Big Ent, a hemlock that grew up on a now-decayed spruce log, and walk by a couple of sizable Sitka spruce. Reach Mitchell Creek and view the “Grandmother Spruce,” whose root buttresses straddle the stream. Head down along the creek on a boardwalk overhung by slough sedge: you’ll pass a couple of gated paths leading right to private property. Cross the creek and reach the exit gate to the garden.

Walk to the right and down towards Highway 101. Turn to the left, pass by a couple of art galleries and then hike along the highway about 150 yards, passing Ocean Wayside Lane, until you’re opposite Overleaf Lodge Lane. Cross the highway and return to the trailhead the way you came.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs not permitted in the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve
  • Stay on the trails and respect all private property signs
  • Restrooms and picnic tables at Smelt Sands
  • Open sunrise to sunset

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

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.