Northern Oregon Coast
Surprise, surprise! Oregon does not have a northwest corner. It has a northwest edge. I discovered this pleasantly trivial fact when I visited Fort Stevens State Park to finish my trip of the Oregon coast. Located at the mouth of the Columbia River, west of Astoria, this park has a lot to offer from trails to history to wildlife blinds, and even offers a boat wreck! Oh yes, it also has beaches, miles of them that wrap around from the windy ocean side to the calmer river side. Stay for the day or camp overnight, this is a great place for group activities or for quiet individuals.
When I was there it was cold, windy, and gray, but I actually enjoyed it. I think because I was almost the only one there, the birds were calmer and friendlier. And I like birds! They seemed to insist that I take their pictures. If you have not tried bird photography, this might be the place to experiment, especially with the swallows at the observation deck at the jetty parking lot.
If you ever tire of the many beaches, you can visit two waterfalls south of Tillamook: Niagara Falls and Munson Creek Falls.
Munson Creek Falls is in Munson Creek Falls State Park about 5 miles south of Tillamook and maybe 2 miles east of highway 101. It requires less than a half mile walk from the parking lot to the point where the trail is closed due to damage. You walk along the creek the whole way.
Continue south on 101 to get to Niagara Falls from Beaver (about 10 miles south of Tillamook). Then go east on county road 858 (also known as Blaine Road, NF 85, BLM road 32, Nestucca River Road, and Meadowlake Road). From Carlton (a few miles north of McMinnville) go west on that same road. About 5 miles east of Blaine turn south on the paved Niagara Road. It will turn to gravel, then it will join NF 14. Then you will see a sign pointing you right. A couple more miles brings you to the parking lot. The roads are well maintained, but might be too tight for trailers to turn around.
You are probably thinking what I was thinking, "Niagara Falls! That surely must be something spectacular to have a name like that!" Well, sorry. The double falls—from which I think it derives its name—are probably best viewed in the spring, rather than mid-summer when I was there. However, the mile hike to them is really nice. They are about 100 yards apart.
So that concludes my mini-series on the coast, but there are still many more places and trails to experience within fog-reach of the ocean. I will report on them from time to time. Meanwhile, enjoy the physical and spiritual benefits of nature with God!
by Ed Lyons, 9/1/17