While the first heatwave of summer bakes the Rogue Valley back home, we awoke to day four of our cool 2 1/2 week coastal escape. A note in our hiking book suggested the “not to be missed” Umpqua Discovery Center located on “Reedsport’s scenic riverfront boardwalk.” Somewhat skeptical, but wanting to stick close to our home base at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park today, we made the short drive north.Built entirely with grants and donations, the center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Impressive displays, some interactive, explain the Natural and Cultural History of the Oregon Coast. Massive murals, painted by artist Peggy O’Neal, are beautifully done and anchor each of the many displays. We were told each mural took about a year to complete. Take in the views up and down the river from the boardwalk or grab a bite to eat at one of the neighboring restaurants. The Umpqua Discovery Center is located just off Highway 101 and Highway 38 in Reedsport, Oregon. Open daily with a reasonable admission charge.
Posts Tagged With: Camping in Southern Oregon
Umpqua Discovery Center Not Just For Kids
Coastal Trail reveals hidden beauty
The Coastal Trail weaves like a thread along the rugged Pacific Coast, stringing together scenic viewpoints, state parks, hidden coves and dense forests. The trail also offers numerous opportunities to stretch one's legs, which is exactly what we did while sightseeing on our most recent camping trip on the South Coast of Oregon.
Armed with our Coast Trail and Travel Guide and a picnic lunch, we drove north from Brookings, Oregon one day and south, into California, on another day. The beauty stretches for miles in both directions. The views are easily visible from the road, but I'd encourage you to take a short (or long) walk and enjoy all the Coast Trail has to offer.
Going Green on the Oregon Coast
When we reserved our Harris Beach campsite last week, the weather report for the south coast of Oregon called for several days with mostly blue skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties. The perfect opportunity to sneak in, what might be, one last trailer trip before winter weather arrives.
As promised, temperatures have warmed up each day, allowing us to comfortably explore, but the sunshine we were hoping for has remained scarce. Although the gray skies haven't slowed us down, they have served as a reminder of one of the reasons Oregon continues to be such a beautiful, green state.
In celebration of my green theme, I thought I'd share a few photos from our Riverview Trail walk along the Chetco River, in Alfred A. Loeb State Park.
Lake of the Woods: Relaxation in the Cascades
Lake of the Woods is the crown jewel of lakes in the southern Cascade Mountain Range within an hour or so drive of Ashland, Oregon.
At 4,949 feet elevation, the natural lake offers relief from summer heat with swimming, boating, fishing and other fun managed by the Lake of the Woods Resort.
We hitched up the trailer on Labor Day and headed for Aspen camp, one of two National Forest Campgrounds on the lake.
The resort was a short walk away from our quiet, deserted campground. We resisted the restaurant but found firewood at the camp store.
The lake's level fluctuates just two feet during a normal year and water temperatures warm to the 70s at the surface. Brook and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon swim in its waters.
Fish Lake was our destination on a nearly seven-mile stroll from North Fork Campground, just a short drive away. We found a greasy spoon cafe that fit the bill perfectly.
Agness, Oregon shines above the fog
We have found our most exhilarating travel experiences happen when least expected; crossing paths with people or places that set our imaginations on fire. Such was the case when, on a recent coastal camping trip, we headed inland to escape the fog.
On a whim and armed with travel literature collected from Turtle Rock RV resort, we headed east on Highway 33 outside of Gold Beach. Our destination? The village of Agness, described as a “quaint hideaway, isolated but accessible.” Hmmm….
The drive was beautiful, winding along above the Rogue River, up into the sunshine.
A rich local history dates back to the Native Americans who inhabited the area long before white settlers arrived. The Agness Post Office remains one of only two rural mail boat routes still operating in the U.S.
The original store dates back to 1895 and supplied miners during the Gold Rush. Over the years the store has hosted a variety of owners, all of whom must have enjoyed a large dose of the pioneering spirit.
The Old Agness Store is home to the Agness Tomato Festival, a celebration of the tomato and the eat fresh and local philosophy.
We missed the festival by just a few days, but by all accounts, it was a smashing success. Watch for its return in 2017.
Oregon Coast: A cool summer getaway
When the temperatures skyrocketed a couple of weeks ago, we hitched up the trailer and headed for the fog and cooler temps that the Oregon Coast is famous for.
Having spent only two nights at one campground on our maiden voyage last June, we were eager to test our hookup skills on our second adventure – a seven night/three campground coastal tour.
Our first stop was a two-night stay at William M. Tugman State Park, located just south of the town of Reedsport and the Oregon Dunes Recreation area.
The campground was clean and neat, thanks to the friendly staff and many volunteers who keep the place running like clockwork. We were pleased to find that fires were allowed in the fire pits and wood was available. Eel Lake offered fishing, boating and swimming in addition to a well maintained 4-6 mile (depending on which source you choose to believe) shoreline hiking trail.
A day trip down the coast landed us at Cape Blanco State Park. The westernmost point of the 48 states, it is also home to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. This coastal beacon has been in use since 1870, longer than any other in Oregon.
We spent two nights at Turtle Rock RV Resort, aptly named for the massive grouping of rocks that resemble…you guessed it…a turtle.
Sunset Bay has got to be one of the most beautiful spots along the Oregon Coast. Knowing there were hiking trails, seals and sea lions to see and the beautiful gardens of Shore Acres to explore, were looking forward to the three nights we scheduled here. However, as luck would have it, the fog rolled in early on day one and became our constant companion.
The sky finally cleared as we finished dinner on our last night so I grabbed the camera and we hurried out to the beach. Would Sunset Bay live up to its name? We watched in awe as Mother Nature put on a magical show for us!
Bullard Beach Escape
Escape is exactly what we did. The weather forecast warned that records would surely break as we packed up and fled the unseasonably warm temperatures of Southern Oregon.
There is nothing quite like camping in Oregon State Parks. Campgrounds and facilities are clean, tidy and located in beautiful spots. Bullard Beach State Park offered us the perfect location, not too far from civilization, for our first experience living the trailer life.
The campground is located just over a mile from the shore so be prepared to get some sand in your shoes. The trail took us up and down through the trees, eventually opening on to grass covered dunes.
There are plenty of trails for hiking or biking, plus 11 miles of designated equestrian trails that spring from the park's horse camp.
The high point of our day was the six-mile round trip walk to the Coquille River Lighthouse. Built in 1896, it was decommissioned in 1939 and no longer serves as a navigational aid.
Inside are interesting historical displays and a small gift shop. However, they don't sell any food, so if you walk out to it like we did, don't forget to pack your snacks! Renovation efforts are ongoing and donations are greatly appreciated.
Each of the three loops of campsites surround a central restroom/shower facility so this is a great place for tent campers as well as RVers.
Yurts are a fun alternative to traditional camping and Bullard Beach has 13 available for rent. You'll need to supply you own bedding and whatever is needed for cooking, but you will be up off the ground with a roof over your head, a bed/futon to sleep on, lights, heating and a lockable door. Reg and I spent a couple nights in yurts along the Oregon coast several years ago. We loved their rustic comfort.
Isn't it time for you to plan your escape?
Fish Lake Resort reels us in
It was a beautiful spring day – a perfect day to take a short drive up into the Southern Cascades. We had plans for lunch at one of our favorite lakeside cafes, but…just our luck… it was closed for spring cleaning and general maintenance.
Disappointed, we continued on a few miles more until we spotted a roadside sign announcing “Cafe Open” and directing us to neighboring Fish Lake.
At Fish Lake Resort we found a general store, cafe, dock and campground, all nestled beside the beautiful Fish Lake.
Patches of snow still dotted the grounds, discouraging campers, but the cafe was filled with a friendly bunch of day trippers, so we grabbed a table and joined the crowd.