Thursday, August 31, 2017

Heading North on the Oregon Coast: Nehalem and Seaside

Our next stop was a few nights at Nehalem Bay State Park, another place we've stayed before (Sept. 2014). The park was practically full every night, with lots of folks on the move along the narrow roads, so we were grateful for a peaceful dune forest right behind our site where we could escape the hustle and bustle around us.

Deer walking nonchalantly through the busy state park campground.

Our neighbors left their trash hanging on a tree one night,
the next morning we scared several coyotes away from the trash now strewn all around the tree.

The peaceful forest right behind our site was perfect for Rosie.

Even though Oregon state parks are extremely popular and very busy, we still love the fact that there are always trails right from the campground. A morning walk around the spit dividing Nehalem Bay from the ocean gave us solitude and beauty without having to drive at all.

Low tide along Nehalem Bay.

Nehalem Bay channel.

Horses on Nehalem Beach.

Oswald West State Park lies just a few miles north of Nehalem Bay State Park and offers several miles of trails along stunning coastline through typical lush coastal rain forest. We hiked the lovely Cape Falcon trail, happy that conditions were dry...the last time we hiked here it was wet and slippery.

Morning reflections on Short Sand Beach.

Shoreline view from Cape Falcon.

View from highway 101 towards Manzanita, OR and Nehalem Bay.

When the weekend arrived we moved north to Circle Creek RV Park just outside Seaside, OR. Little did we know when planning our stops for the summer that the Hood To Coast Relay was happening this particular weekend. Seaside, OR is the finish line for this very popular event and tens of thousands of people would descend on this small beach town over the weekend.

Our RV park was full, but being on the outskirts of town was just outside the edge of the high traffic zone. If the park had any trails it would have been perfect, but fortunately we found a couple of trails to hike that took us away from the craziness of town.

We hiked a 2.5 mile loop at nearby Ecola State Park along with a walk on Indian Beach. The loop trail is a segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and leads to a fantastic view of decommissioned Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Indian Beach is a very popular place on beautiful summer weekends...arrive early to snag a parking spot!

Indian Beach.

An old military battery near the Tillamook Light viewpoint.

Oyster mushrooms look like roses growing on an old tree stump.

Tillamook Rock Light (1881 - 1957) sits 1.2 miles off Tillamook Head.

Nicknamed "Terrible Tilly" due to the erratic weather conditions and treacherous commute.

Currently privately owned, the structure was once a columbarium...a respectful public storage place for cremains.

We did venture into Seaside for a couple of walks. The town has a lovely 1.5 mile ocean front promenade and an old timey beach town atmosphere (before the relay participants overrun the area!).

Classic carnival rides including Tilt-A-Whirl and bumper cars.

Morning calm along the Necanicum River as it flows through Seaside, OR.

Saddle Mountain trail is a popular hike due to its proximity to both Portland and the coast. This 5.2 mile out and back trail climbs 1,600 feet to expansive views atop a basalt formation. On a clear day distant snowy peaks are supposed to be visible...unfortunately smoke haze limited our views. Thank goodness we arrived at the trailhead by 9am...this really is a popular trail!

A unique formation about halfway up the trail.

Aptly named Saddle Mountain, we have to drop to the saddle and climb to the top of the opposite peak.
The trail is extremely steep with lots of small, loose rock. Wire grating has been placed across the steepest sections of trail to provide traction. We were glad we brought our trekking poles! 

We can see Astoria and the Columbia River from the top.

Next up: our final stop along the Oregon coast for this summer...


  1. Love your coast photos. Colorado has been fun this summer but we miss the ocean. Next year...

    1. Isn't it great to be able to do mountains one summer and coast the next!?

  2. I can almost smell the ocean at low tide looking at your photos of beach-walks...

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  4. We stayed in the same parks as you on our way up the coast in the spring, and agree that it's wonderful to have those outside sites that back up to the beach trails. Looks like Rosie approved of your site choice. :-) We loved the Cape Falcon Trail, too. And Saddle Mountain is on our list for next time — those views are terrific!

    1. Just try to do Saddle Mountain on a weekday if you can!

  5. Amazing pictures, even more so considering the wildfires. Your hike on saddle Mountain, with the rewarding views from the top is worth leaving the beach for a day.

  6. You hit all the good coastal trails! Good to see you guys the other day and look forward to drinking more beer with you in Portland. :)

  7. The coast was so much fun. I'm glad we got to experience it in the Forks area and Florence. You photos took me right back there:) Lovely photos and what a fun to have the beach to do morning walks. Good thing you had those poles for Saddle Mountain...killer climb! Great job! Love the deer in your park:)

    1. It's been a wonderful seven weeks along the into the heat... :{

  8. Love the beach photos. And how nice to have trails right outside your door. Good thing the coyote was easily scared away.