Hiking Oregon Oregon Coast Southern Coast

Barklow Mountain and Bullards Beach

When we changed our plans from a backpacking trip in the Diamond Peak Wilderness to a long weekend in Bandon one of the more exciting prospects was being able to check off a visit to our 38th Oregon Wilderness Area – the Copper-Salmon Wilderness. We had attempted to visit that particular wilderness in 2017 but a washed out road denied us access to the Barklow Mountain Northeast Trailhead (post)

For this trip we would be using the Barklow Mountain West Trailhead. We used the field guide entry here to reach the trailhead. The guide mentions that the road is prone to rockfall and slides and that it is best to wait for the dry months of Summer to attempt to reach the trailhead. Based on the conditions we encountered along the roads that is not an understatement.

Prior to reaching the vehicular obstacle course that was the Forest Service Roads we spotted a small elk herd and a number of deer along Elk River Road. It was still a bit dark for pictures but we did our best from the idling car.



We parked at the small pullout that is the trailhead after a long drive (time wise) that included stopping a couple of times to remove small trees from the road and also at the junction with FR 390 because the 390 post was in the center of a fork and we didn’t want to be on that road but we couldn’t tell which one the post was referring to. (Hint – The left fork was FR 390 so we went right.)
IMG_2791Barklow Mountain West Trailhead

The Barklow Mountain Trail dropped slightly from a closed road bed and quickly entered the Copper-Salmon Wilderness.


The forest along the trail was a mix of tanoak and madrone and some sections with fir and pine.






Not unlike the roads to the trailhead there were a few obstacles to maneuver around.

After a mile and a half of climbing, the trail arrived at a saddle junction.

The trail to the left led to Johnson Creek Road.

The trail to the right was the one we wanted. This trail would lead up up to the old lookout site atop Barklow Mountain.

Approximately .3 miles beyond the junction we came to an unmarked side trail heading downhill to the right.

This short spur trail led down to the site of a now collapsed shelter.

Beyond the shelter the trail steepened a bit as it wound beneath Barklow Mountain.

We passed through a patch of manzanita where we had a nice view south of nearby Copper Mountain.


A total of .4 miles from the old shelter we arrived at an unsigned junction on a ridge. Here we turned left to visit the lookout site.

From the lookout site we could barely make out the Pacific to the SW along with Grassy Knob (post).
IMG_2836Grassy Knob is on the horizon just to the left of the near trees.

IMG_2838Copper Mountain from the lookout site.

After a break we headed back to the car and navigated the obstacle course again. Fortunately we did not encounter any other cars until we were clear of the mess. We then drove back to Bandon, passed through town, and continued north on Highway 101 for three miles to the signed turn for Bullards Beach State Park.

We parked at the beach access parking lot which is located 1.3 miles from the highway.

Our plan was to hike a clockwise loop along the Coquille River, the north jetty, and the beach. From the parking lot we headed inland on a paved path signed for the campground.


We followed this path until we had crossed the entrance to the Bullards Beach Horse Camping Area.


Just beyond that entrance (.4 miles from the beach parking area) we turned right off the paved path and crossed the paved park entrance road onto a dirt road which led us down to the Coquille River.

There was no actual trail along the river so we spent most of the next 2 miles walking along the sandy river bank. We were forced inland a couple of times in order to cross water on logs.





There was a lot of activity on the river between boats and birds.




As we neared the north jetty across from Bandon’s Old Downtown we turned inland at a sandy gap which led to a gravel road.



We followed this road for .4 miles staying left at a fork on a grassy track.

The road bed ended at the Coquille River Lighthouse. An Army Corps of Engineers ship was busily going back and forth near the mouth of the river.



Once past the lighthouse we continued out along the north jetty for .2 miles.






It was a much better day visibility wise than the previous one had been and from the jetty we got a decent look at some of the Bandon Islands on the other side of the river.




The view north was much less rocky.

After partaking of the view we headed back, hopping off the jetty and onto Bullards Beach.

After 1.5 miles along the beach we turned inland and climbed over the foredune to the beach access parking area.





After a shower and change of clothes we found ourselves wandering through the old downtown again. When it was time for dinner we decided to go back to Foley’s Irish Pub. After another good meal there and desert from Pastries and Pizzas we turned in for the night. We had agreed that Bandon had quickly become one of our favorite coastal towns and were already looking forward to our next visit. Happy Trails!

Flirck: Barklow Mountain and Bullards Beach

Hiking Klamath/Siskiyou Mountains Oregon Trip report

Elk Creek & Coquille River Falls and Azalea Lake

We just got back from a week of hiking near Gold Beach, Oregon and Crescent City, California. This was the second year in a row that we spent part of our May vacation in Gold Beach due to our original plan of visiting the SE Oregon desert being derailed by the chance of rain. Over 7 days we visited 17 trailheads (1 twice) and had plenty of adventures, some good, some not so much.

We headed down to Gold Beach on Saturday morning planning on stopping at four trailheads along the way. All four were located on or near NF-33 (Powers South Road) between Powers and Agness. Our first stop was the Elk Creek Falls & Big Tree Park trailhead located at a pullout along NF-33 between mileposts 57 & 58.
Elk Creek Falls Trailhead

The pullout was next to Elk Creek.
Elk Creek

The trail quickly split with the left fork arriving at the impressive Elk Creek Falls in just a tenth of a mile.
Elk Creek Falls trailsign

Elk Creek Falls

After visiting the falls we returned to the fork and headed uphill on the Big Tree Trail. Due to a camera issue which will be explained a little later we have no pictures from the 1.2 mile trail to a huge Port Orford cedar tree measuring 239′ tall and 12′ thick. A few other large trees were near this behemoth including another Port Orford cedar and a Douglas Fir.

After admiring these huge trees we returned down the trail to our car and continued south on NF-33 another 4.9 miles to the China Hat Recreation area. We were planning on hiking the Barkow Mountain Trail into the Copper-Salmon Wilderness which would give us one more check mark on our Oregon Wilderness areas visited list. Unfortunately winter storm damage had closed Road 3353 just 3 miles into an 11 mile drive to the trailhead. We would have to save this wilderness for another trip as the only other possible trailhead needed to be accessed from the west near Port Orford.

We drove back to NF-33 and headed south another 5.2 miles and turned left onto Rd 3348. A mile and half on this steep windy one lane road brought us to the Coquille Falls Trailhead.
Coquille River Falls Trailhead

A half mile trail descends to a very scenic fall on the Coquille River.
Coquille River Falls

Coquille River Falls

Coquille River

The camera issue occurred while admiring the falls. As I was taking pictures I shifted my weight and slipped on the wet rocks. As I was falling into the mud the camera flew out of my hand (I hadn’t used the wrist strap) and I heard it hit the ground. I recovered just in time to watch it plummet over the side of the cliff and disappear into the river below.
Spot where my camera fell into the river.

It was an awful feeling, the first day of vacation and the camera was gone. We typically bring out old Sony Cybershot as a backup but hadn’t done so this time. At least I wasn’t hurt but we were left wondering what we were going to do for pictures during the trip. We thought about ordering another camera from Amazon and having it overnighted to the motel but it was the weekend so it would still be several days. There weren’t really any options in town camera shopping so we decided we’d just use our phones for better or worse and get a new camera after vacation.

The loss of the camera is the reason for not having any pictures from the Big Tree Trail. The photos of Elk Creek Falls were taken the next day since we were in the same area and it was such a short hike to the falls.

A bit deflated we returned to the car and headed for our final stop – the Azalea Lake Trailhead.

A quarter mile south of Road 3348 we turned right onto Road 3347 for a mile to the trailhead.
Azalea Lake Trailhead

An old road led uphill to the start of a loop around the lake.
Azalea Lake Trail

Azalea Lake

The lake is named for the Azaleas that bloom around it but we were too early for those by a week or two. We settled for a decent display of fawn lilies.
Fawn lilies

Fawn lilies

There was also a lot of wildlife, albeit small, along this 2 mile trail.
Rough skinned newt



Rough skinned newts

It was certainly an eventful start to our vacation. The waterfalls had been wonderful but the loss of the camera and not being able to visit the Copper-Salmon Wilderness were disappointments. It had been a bit of a mixed bag but we had 6 more days for things to improve. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Elk Creek & Coquille River Falls and Azalea Lake