We had changed our mini-vacation plans from a four day backpacking loop around and up Diamond Peak to four days of hiking on the Oregon Coast due to the possibility of wet weather. Wet weather isn’t typically a big deal at the coast and drying off in a motel room is a lot more convenient than trying to keep your backpacking gear dry for multiple days. When we had looked at the forecast for Bandon the best looking day weather wise had been Friday with a forecast of mostly sunny and no chance of showers. We planned a pair of hikes for that day, first at the New River Recreation Area and then a walk along the beach starting at the Bandon South Jetty Park.
The BLM managed New River Recreation Area is located eight miles south of Bandon on Croft Lake Road. We parked near the New River Nature Center which hadn’t opened yet for the day.
We headed north from the parking area onto the signed North Trail.
A little over a quarter mile along this forested path we came to a junction with the Ridge Trail.
We turned right onto this trail which made a .4 mile horseshoe along the top of an old dune now covered in vegetation including some madrone trees.
At a bench at the end of the Ridge Trail we turned right onto the Huckleberry Hill Trail (If we had gone straight at the North/Ridge Trail junction we would have wound up here in less than a tenth of a mile.)
We followed the Huckleberry Hill trail .4 miles down an increasingly sandy track to the Ocean View Trail where we turned left (the only choice).
Huckleberries along the Huckleberry Hill Trail
After just 430′ on the Ocean View Trail we took a signed spur trail to the right to a viewpoint.
We arrived at the New River in less than 100 yards. The Ocean was barely visible on the other side of a low rise on the beach between the river and the Pacific.
We returned to the main trail and continued an additional .2 miles before arriving at the New River Boat Ramp.
It was a little foggy but we could see quite a few Canada geese and an egret in the river.
From the boat ramp we followed the road for .2 miles to the Muddy Lake Trail.
Two tenths of a mile from the road we turned right on the .1 mile New River Spur Trail.
Instead of burning off we noticed that the fog was getting thicker when we arrived back at the river.
We headed back to the Muddy Lake Trail which we followed for about 110 yards, crossing over a boardwalk, to a very short spur trail leading to a bird blind at Muddy Lake.
We were fortunate enough to have a couple of different birds hunting their morning meal near the blind.
The egret seemed to be having quite a bit of success.
After watching the birds from the blind we continued on. A little over a quarter mile from the blind we came to another trail junction.
This first junction wasn’t signed but just over the small hill was a signed junction letting us know that this was the Old Bog Trail.
This .3 mile trail climbed up and over an old dune to the site of an old cranberry bog.
After reading the history of the bog we returned to the Muddy Lake Trail and followed it another .2 miles back to the New River Nature Center. Even with all the side trips this was only a 3.6 mile hike making it a good option for the kiddos.
We drove back north to Bandon and used the GPS to guide us through town to the Bandon South Jetty Park located at the end of Lincoln Ave. SW across the Coquille River from the Coquille River Lighthouse.
We headed down to the beach just south of the jetty. There was a little bit of blue sky to the north and inland to the east.
That was not the case however to the south where we were headed.
We would be passing by a series of ocean rocks and islands along a three and a half mile stretch of beach from the jetty to Devils Kitchen. We headed into the fog hoping that it would indeed burn off as the day progressed. In the meantime the tide was out allowing us to get a closer look at some of the rocks. Please note that climbing on any of the rocks and tidepooling is banned so keep your distance and use your binoculars or camera’s zoom.
We got to see an actual live crab dig itself back into the sand.
The rocky islands were neat but with the fog limiting visibility they weren’t as impressive as they should have been. For one thing we could only see the ones close by and couldn’t get a feel for just how many and how big they were.
Near the two mile mark below the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint there were a few sea caves present at Grave Point.
Beyond Grave Point the number of sea stacks and islands dwindled as the beach flattened out. In the next 1.9 miles we crossed Johnson Creek and passed Fish Rock before arriving at Crooked Creek and Devils Kitchen.
Fish Rock aka Haystack Rock
We climbed up to the Devils Kitchen parking lot.
We made use of a bench at a viewpoint above Devils Kitchen where we had a snack and took a break.
We were still hoping that the fog would burn off as promised as we headed back along the beach but alas it was not to be.
By the time we’d gotten back to the car we had decided that we would be trying this hike again the next time we were in the area. We have a few more hikes left to complete between Bandon and Coos Bay and the Bandon Islands will be a part of that trip.
After cleaning up in the motel we walked across Highway 101 into Bandon’s Old Town and did a little shopping. They were having a farmers market where we came away with a few goodies. After a hitting the farmers market and a few of the shops we stopped into Bandon Brewing for a beer and an appetizer, at least that had been the plan. We ordered the small Spinach Artichoke Stix from the bradsticks section of the menu. We had expected a few breadsticks with some dip, but it turned out to be more like a pizza and was quite a bit larger than we’d anticipated. That wasn’t a bad thing as they were delicious and we had no problem finishing them off. It ended up being our dinner which was fine because we had also picked up some pastries from Pastries and Pizzas which was located dangerously close to our motel.
The pastries hit the spot that night and we went to bed satisfied and ready for another day of hiking on Saturday. Happy Trails!
Flickr: New River and Bandon Islands