Posts Tagged With: What to see on Oregon Coast

A Whale of a Good Time at Yaquina Head

When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.

Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.

As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.

Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.

Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.

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Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. We’ve been there…

…or have we?  When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.

When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered.  Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.

Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery.  “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.  

When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation!  Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…

Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar.  As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is!  A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds.  It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!

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A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

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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.

The Pacific Ocean appears endless from the cliffs above.

A window to the rocks below.

A misty fog is a familiar sight along the Pacific Coast.

Driftwood creates patterns along the beach.

Forest growth is so dense that it creates a tunnel along the Coastal Trail.

It's hard to resist climbing a tree like this!

Reg is dwarfed by soaring evergreen trees.

A splash of color.

 

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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.

Reg pauses to check out the curtain of moss dangling from a fallen tree.

The Riverview Trail eventually turned uphill and past a cascading creek.

As we left the river and climbed higher we entered a Redwood forest.

Lots of green...everywhere!

As a couple fishermen quickly floated down the Chetco River, we noticed it too was a unique shade of green.

We stopped to look for a four-leaf clover, but couldn't spot one. Can you?

 

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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 Old Agness Store welcomes all who venture up the road. Breakfast, lunch and a variety of refreshments are offered. The gift shop is filled with crafts and wares made in Oregon.

Present owners, Steve and Michele bought the store in 2013. Extensive renovations created a new life for both the store and its owners.

 

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.

 

Steve encouraged us to wander through his vegetable garden. It was beautiful!

Sunflowers towered over our heads, standing out against the blue of the sky.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The festival may have come and gone, but tomatoes continue to ripen on the vine.

Much to our surprise, we discovered an airstrip in Agness. As the sign warns, it crosses the road, so be sure to look both ways!

 

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Oregon Coast: A cool summer getaway

 

Beautiful Eel Lake greeted us as we pulled into William M. Tugman State Park.

Smokey Bear made an appearance at the ranger program where kids of all ages enjoyed hearing his story.

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.

Lighthouse tours are available from April through October if you are able to climb to the top and don't have a fear of heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 were fortunate to arrive on a crystal clear day. I poked my head out an open door at the top of the north side of the lighthouse for a quick shot of the coast.

If you look really hard you'll find me, feeling small, near the front of the turtle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could see the turtle more clearly from a distance.

We spent two nights at Turtle Rock RV Resort, aptly named for the massive grouping of rocks that resemble…you guessed it…a turtle.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Hour at our campsite. Life is good!

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.

An interesting piece of trivia we found posted at the beach of Sunset Bay.

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!

Sunset Bay did not disappoint!

 
 
 
 
 

 

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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.

The tide was coming in so we kept to the road on our mid-day walk.

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.

Reg was reminded what a workout it is to walk in the sand.

 

 

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 Coquille River Lighthouse still stands guard at the mouth of the river.

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.

Campsites are nicely spaced and most provide a minimum feeling of privacy.

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?

 

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In smokey Oregon, the coast is clear

Fires raging to the north of us have created a smokey haze across the skies of Southern Oregon for over a month. It was time to get away, and with a wedding anniversary coming up, we needed very little prodding to pack up and head to the Oregon coast!

Clear blue skies greeted us this morning. Perfect walking weather!

A pathway along the cliff provided spectacular views of the rugged coast.

We have somehow missed Shore Acres State Park in past trips along the coast. What a beautiful spot…however, I've got to say…all Oregon State Parks are amazing.

This property was the summer estate (and showplace) of lumberman and shipbuilder Louis J. Simpson. Unfortunately, fire destroyed the original mansion in 1921. Financial losses prevented him from rebuilding and the state took over the property in 1942.

There is still plenty to see though, and we managed to make a day of it. Take a picnic lunch along and enjoy the views!

A sandy beach in a hidden cove tempts us to spend the day.

The botanical gardens were a riot of color. Be sure to stop and smell the roses. Each variety has a distinctive fragrance.

The original estate boasted five acres of formal gardens built around a 100-foot lily pond. All continue to be beautifully maintained for year-round visitors. From Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Eve, the garden is decorated with 300,000+ holiday lights. Hmm…I think we may need to come back before the year is out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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