Monday, September 4, 2017

Wrapping up Seven Weeks on the Oregon Coast

The final stop of our summer on the Oregon coast was at Fort Stevens State Park, which occupies the north west corner of Oregon. The fort was active for 84 years, from the Civil War to World War II, and its military history is visible at sites throughout the 4,300 acre park. Nine miles of paved bicycle trails and six miles of hiking trails allow for extensive exploration of this beautiful setting bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the western terminus of the Columbia River.

The state park has about 500 camp sites which are spread out among 13 loops, making the large number of campers seem not so oppressive. Of the three state parks we stayed at along the coast, our site here was the least pleasant...the water pressure was terrible and the site wide open to the road with no privacy whatsoever. But, thankfully, we once again had a hidden trail into the forest right behind the rig allowing us to escape the fishbowl feeling and walk Rosie in a serene, inviting, safe space.

Despite the fact that our campsite was less than perfect, we still loved this park! We spent a single night here three years ago and vowed to come back. The extensive trail network is exceptionally beautiful and lightly traveled, the history is fascinating, and the lovely town of Astoria is just a few miles away.

Before we could explore Fort Stevens in depth we had a meetup planned with Linda, a hiking buddy and wonderful photographer from Portland whom we've met up with on a previous trip to the area. She was gracious enough to drive out to the coast to join us on a hike followed by lunch.

Linda suggested a hike she'd been wanting to do for some time and meeting us allowed the three of us to do a shuttle hike. The Fort to Sea Trail is a 6.5 mile (one way) trail from Fort Clatsop National Memorial to the ocean. Fort Clatsop was Lewis and Clark's winter encampment from December 1805 to March 1806 and this trail is a route they used to explore the area between the fort and the sea.

The Fort to Sea trail begins at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center which has a replica of the Corps of Discovery fort.
This photo shows half of the entire fort that housed about 25 people.

Lewis and Clark River, near Fort Clatsop.

We hiked through a variety of terrain, from rain forest to farmers fields to dune forest to the ocean.

The trail starts off in lush rain forest where Linda and I start taking pictures of each other.

Still smiling as we near the end of the hike, now through dune forest.

Linda doing what she does best!

The rest of our stay at Fort Stevens was spent hiking and biking the various trails in the park. The terrain includes a lake, lush forests, marshlands, dune forests and grasses, defunct military installations and the ocean with a's a wonderful park!

One of many batteries at Fort Stevens.

We came upon this bull elk on a lovely single track trail near Battery Russell.

And this cow elk munching away in the bushes nearby.

Lots of solitude on the park trails.

I loved the mid afternoon lighting as we rode through the forest.
Not another soul on the trail on a Thursday afternoon, so peaceful.

Grasses and tall trees...enchanting!


Old train trestle crossing marshland to the Columbia River.

Gun replica pointing toward the Columbia River.

Hans took this awesome shot of the morning sun shining through the remains of the Peter Iredale,
run ashore October 25, 1906.

So ends a glorious seven weeks on the Oregon Coast. We are now in Portland under orange lit smokey skies and approaching 100 degrees...we miss the coast already!


  1. Great shot of the Iredale wreckage!
    We did that Fort to Sea hike with our friend Debbie and left her car at the end. It was a nice trail with lots of variety.
    Hope you get a break in the temps and smoke soon!

    1. By the end of the week the temps should be more seasonal...sure hope the fires are contained soon.

  2. Awesome Picture Hans! Lots of folks (including me) have taken sunset pictures of the Iredale skeleton but I've not seen a sunrise before picture before. Have enjoyed your adventure along the OR coast - where to next?

    1. We'll head south along the I-5 corridor through OR, then cut across NorCal to Nevada. Then it's down into AZ and CA...back to San Diego by Thanksgiving as usual.

  3. Great pics of the elk and the Iredale shipwreck. Great to hike with you guys again. :)

  4. Beautiful photos! ! Love checking out your blog for travel advice and inspirations, thanks for the share!

  5. We really enjoyed all of the biking at Ft. Stevens, too. We want to hike the Fort to Beach trail, but want to do it as a shuttle just like you did. Thanks for showing us what the trail looks like -- we walked a bit of the two ends of the trail, but didn't see any of the middle. :-)) Very cool photo of the shipwreck!

  6. What an awesome and enchanting 7 weeks...I have loved all the posts and pictures. Sure hope to make it that way one day! Great photo of the Iredale Hans!

  7. We loved our first time on the coast and the cool weather was heavenly! Sure could use some now! I'm sorry to see the smoke made it your way. It really makes outside activities difficult. Hope it doesn't get too bad.

  8. Beautiful trail. You always find the best wildlife! We've missed the coast for the last month - the Astoria area is a favorite, we really need to spend more time at Fort Stevens next time. Great shot Hans!!

  9. This biking trail at Ft Stevens made it to our top 5 list of best biking trail. It seems like your seven weeks of coastal living went by so fast!