Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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drm
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Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by drm » April 1st, 2013, 2:17 pm

6 years I've lived in the region and have barely had a visit to the coast. The main reason is that I'm mainly a backpacker when venturing out of my immediate area, and the coast is better for dayhikes overall. Also, it rarely seems to be real summer there. I like the heat more than most PNWers and 65 degrees in July is NOT summer for me (though 65 in March is great!).

But this year I decided that I'm going anyway. The Field Guide has lots of details but I'm looking for a broader suggestion of where to start. If I've got 2 or 3 days, want to car camp in a state park, and have a decent amount of hikes close by with ocean views, which state park is the best basecamp? Or is the best place not a state park? And from there, which hikes should I look up in the field guide (and are there any good ones in the area that aren't in the guide)?

Figure on weekdays and this month, and that I'm resigned to my boots (and gaitors) being caked with mud if need be. What time of year is best for flowers there?

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retired jerry
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Re: Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by retired jerry » April 1st, 2013, 3:17 pm

I agree, there's something not right about going to the coast when it's 90 here and it's cool and drizzling.

Stay at Cape Lookout State Park and walk around on the cape.

Stay at Tillicum or Cape Perpetua Forest Service Campgrounds and hike the Cape Perpetua trails.

pdxgene
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Re: Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by pdxgene » April 1st, 2013, 6:27 pm

I'd say Honeyman if you want to base at a state park and Florence for the general location if not the park. That way you have the Oregon Dunes NRA to explore to your south and the old growth forest trails near Cape Perpetua just to your north. Add in countless lakes, some lighthouses, and the beach itself and it gives you a little bit of just about everything.

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Excursionista
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Re: Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by Excursionista » April 2nd, 2013, 12:14 am

You can make a full day hiking Saddle Mtn and Fort Stevens, followed up with beer at Forth George in Astoria. Same with hiking Cape Falcon and Neahkanie Mtn in the same day.

Any hike around Pacific City ought to wrap up with a 22oz beer from Pelican, to be consumed at sunset at the tip of Cape Kiwanda.

You can backpack on Bayocean Spit. Park on the street in Cape Meares and hike north along the beach - camp in the dunes near the obvious hill halfway up the spit, or near the end if the spit on the bay side. Plenty of options.

Consider a yurt, for a touch more comfort and possibly more privacy.

I know that doesn't quite answer your questions, but those are some solid coast adventures, if I may say so myself.

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forestkeeper
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Re: Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by forestkeeper » April 2nd, 2013, 8:16 am

:) I just left the central Oregon Coast a few days ago. Drift Creek Falls, although a short hike, is located west of Salishan in the coastal mountains where there are endless possibilities for backpacking and ocean viewing from above. Most of that would be down old logging roads and a little bushwacking. I actually hiked a ways up on an old logging road and captured a few shots of Lincoln City.
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Cascade head is pretty fun too. You can hike to the top and keep going. Plenty of forest above to hike/tent camp. Gleneden Spit is also pretty cool. Hike 7 miles north along the beach to just across from Moe's Chowder House to see the Stellar Sea Lions up close.

And a few miles north of Cascade Head, off of Hwy 101, there are a few pretty cool trails with ocean views. Spring Break is over so if you go during the week, most trails will be unpopulated.

You can car/tent camp at Devil's Lake State Park, which also boasts of a 9 mile around the lake trail which is rated moderate/difficult with lots of forest hiking. This would make an excellent base camp. I didn't have time for this one but planning on doing this hike in a few weeks. Have fun.

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Grannyhiker
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Re: Getting Started on the Oregon Coast

Post by Grannyhiker » April 2nd, 2013, 12:26 pm

For hiking in the Cannon Beach/Arch Cape/Neahkahnie Mountain area, camp at Nehalem Bay State Park at Manzanita. Nothing exciting there except hiking the spit, which may have a flock/bevy/school/whatever-it-is of seals parked at the far end. but it's the only state park with camping between there and Fort Stevens since the state closed Oswald West.

Hug Point is one of my favorites. If the tides are right, you can hike north to Tolovana and back again, rounding several capes that need to be rounded below half-tide. Just time things to start at half the outgoing tide, and return by half the incoming tide. Of course you can do this hike from the opposite direction; just don't forget that several other points between also require low tide!

I would suggest going between now and when school lets out (skipping Memorial Day weekend). I suspect that Memorial Day weekend and anything after the first week in June are already booked up solid until after Labor Day in the state park campgrounds.

I second Bayocean Spit, which is a nice hike around as well as one of the few places you can beach camp more or less legally. I also agree with parking in the "community" of Cape Meares; just be sure not to block access for any of the residents. The county parking lot on the east side of the spit is rather "iffy" judging from night sounds from that direction the time I didn't hike far enough in to camp. Go to the hill, as Excursionista suggests. It's pretty lonesome there on weekdays; you might meet a jogging resident or two on the beach, but the place is surprisingly uncrowded.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

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