On the way to our annual family reunion near Gleneden Beach we made several stops to check out short trails in the Newport and Depoe Bay areas. For our first stop we parked next to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and took the paved Yaquina Bay Estuary Trail from the east end of the parking lot.
We were hoping to see some wildlife along the half mile trail and we weren’t disappointed. Just from the parking lot there were many birds visible.
There was also a snake sunning itself at the beginning of the path.
We followed the path along the estuary to its other end near the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
The final stretch of trail was across a boardwalk.
View from the boardwalk
We were impressed by the number of herons and egrets in the bay.
In addition to the the herons, egrets, and numerous seagulls there were many other birds in the area, most of which didn’t want to stop for pictures.
After returning to our car we drove to Highway 101 and headed south to the signed entrance of South Beach State Park. Here we parked at the Day Use Area and hiked past the restrooms over the foredune to the ocean.
We turned right and headed north along the beach toward the south jetty about a mile away.
From the jetty we could see a pair of lighthouses, the Yaquina Bay and Yaquina Head Lighthouses. They had been the stops on our way to the reunion in 2017 (post).
We turned inland at the jetty continuing for just over a quarter of a mile to the South Jetty parking area.
Part of the Oregon Coast Trail
An osprey was busy eating its catch on a nearby tower.
From the South Jetty parking area we took the paved South Beach Jetty Trail back to the South Beach State Park Day Use Area for a two and a quarter mile loop.
Our next stop was the Mike Miller Trail which is located on the east side of Highway 101 along SE 50th Street which was just two tenths of a mile north of the South Beach State Park entrance. We parked along the shoulder of 50th St. near the start of the trail.
They were out of trail guides at the trailhead so we weren’t able to follow along with the numbered stops along the 1-mile loop but we did get to see some nice coastal old-growth trees along the way. We followed signs for the Mike Miller Trail which crossed a marshy pond twice on footbridges.
One of several benches along the trail.
From the Mike Miller Trail we returned to Highway 101 and drove north through Newport toward Depot Bay. We turned inland on Schoolhouse Street just south of Depoe Bay at a Shell Station. We immediately forked left and drove downhill toward the bay following City Park signs. After parking we headed into the park where we followed signs for the South Depoe Bay Creek Nature Trail.
The forested path followed South Depoe Bay Creek for a quarter of a mile to a footbridge where a .3 mile loop began.
We crossed the creek and stayed left on the main trail at junctions. The trail passed a huge, hollow old stump with two trees growing off of it.
A second nearby stump was covered in green foliage.
The trail recrossed the still creek and passed a rather large picnic table before completing the loop.
A short distance prior to the start of the loop we had passed a fork where the right hand path led uphill.
On our way back we turned uphill on that trail and climbed through the trees to Indian Trail Avenue.
We followed this road down to the Shell Station along Highway 101 passing a little whale statue/slide.
We then followed the highway north into Depoe Bay.
We could have crossed the highway and visited the Whale Watching Center or browsed the local shops, but we didn’t want to be late for the reunion so we simply turned right onto Bay St. after crossing over the highway bridge following it around the bay to the Coast Guard boathouse.
Whale Watching Center
We continued along the bay until we reached a wide footbridge across South Depoe Bay Creek back to the city park.
This wound up being a 1.7 mile round trip bringing our total mileage for day to a grand total of 6 miles. It was a nice variety of trails and a good way to work up an appetite before the reunion. Happy Trails!
Flickr: South Beach and Depot Bay Trails