Categories
Hiking Northern Coast Oregon Oregon Coast Trip report

Seaside

Before leaving the coast we took one final hike on Tuesday morning. We stopped in Seaside parking at Elvin C. Goodman Park which is located on 12th just west of the Necanicum River.

IMG_8786

We walked west on 12th St. passing the Seaside Promenade and headed out onto the beach.

IMG_8788

It was a foggy morning and visibility was low so it took us a while to even spot the ocean as we angled to the right toward the mouth of the Necanicum River.

IMG_8792

After about a half mile on the beach we arrived at the river where we turned right and followed the bank inland.

IMG_8801

IMG_8802

We climbed a low bluff near a sewage plant and followed a clear path to the left around the facility.

IMG_8805

IMG_8811

IMG_8814

We turned inland at 15th St. then took a left on N. Franklin St. When we came to 12th we detoured back to the park to change our shoes which were damp from the grasses along the river. With dry shoes on we went back to Franklin, turning left, and continued south to Broadway St. jogging right at 9th and 5th streets. The final block or so of Franklin is closed to cars.

IMG_8818

We turned west onto Broadway and followed it to its end at a turnaround with a statue of Lewis and Clark.

IMG_8821

IMG_8839

We had actually walked this stretch on Broadway early on Saturday when we’d come into Seaside for dinner. There was a car show going on at the time and muscle cars and old hot rods had been cruising the street around the statue then.

From the turnaround we headed south on the Seaside Promenade.

IMG_8823

The paved promenade extends 1.5 miles from 12th Street to Avenue U. We passed hotels, vacation rentals and at the .6 mile mark a sign for the “Salt Works”.
We turned inland on Lewis and Clark Way following the Salt Works signs to a replica of the stone oven used to boil salt water for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

IMG_8824

IMG_8825

IMG_8826

IMG_8828

After reading all the interpretive signs we returned to the promenade and continued south to its end at Avenue U.

IMG_8833

We turned around and headed north. The promenade was fairly busy with dog walkers, joggers, and a few bicyclists all making use of the paved path.

IMG_8835

The fog was stubborn this morning and really limited any views toward the ocean.

IMG_8831

IMG_8836

We passed Broadway Street and continued north toward 12th St. passing the Seaside Aquarium along the way.

IMG_8841

IMG_8843

We turned up 12th St. and returned to our car. Our distance for the morning was 5.7 miles which was perfect for a short hike before driving home. As we crossed the coast range we popped out of the clouds into bluer skies. Smoke on the horizon from the many wildfires reminded us of why we’d chosen the coast as our alternate vacation spot. It had been a good choice, nice hikes with plenty of wildlife and a lot of history thrown in. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Seaside

Categories
Hiking Northern Coast Oregon Oregon Coast Trip report

Fort-To-Sea Trail – Fort Clatsop

We have officially started our 2016 hikes. As we have done for the past several years we headed to the Oregon Coast for our first hike of the year. Our goal this time was to hike the Fort-To-Sea Trail following a route initially blazed by Lewis and Clark in 1805 from Fort Clatsop to the ocean. Fort Clatsop was built near what is now the Lewis and Clark River and the Fort-To-Sea Trail was used by the expedition to gather salt by boiling saltwater. The area is now part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park complete with a replica of the original fort.

We decided to start our hike at the Sunset Beach Recreation Site near the ocean north of Gearhart, OR. From there we would take the trail to Fort Clatsop and back. Things got off to a rocky start at the trailhead when we found the restrooms devoid of toilet paper and discovered that I had not yet switched our toiletry supplies from my backpack to my daypack. After a quick trip back to Gearhart for supplies we were back at the trailhead and ready to begin.
IMG_2837

Before heading to Fort Clatsop we headed toward the ocean on the Fort-To-Sea Trail. There used to be a viewing deck overlooking the ocean 1/3 of a mile from the parking area but it has been removed leaving a sandy circle on the grassy dune.
IMG_2842

IMG_2846

The Sun was still rising behind us creating some nice colors on the western horizon.
IMG_2847

IMG_2851

After returning to the trailhead we headed inland toward Fort Clatsop which was 6.2 miles away. The first portion of the trail passed through storm damaged trees skirting several bodies of water. Ducks paddled about on the water as it reflected the colors of the sunrise.
IMG_2861

IMG_2865

IMG_2864

The path then led up and over a small sandy hill and down to an arched bridge over Neacoxie Lake.
IMG_2870

IMG_2876

IMG_2877

IMG_2874

To the SE of the lake was the Astoria Country Club’s golf course, a popular morning stop for elk. We hadn’t seen any elk during our hikes in 2015, but on the far side of the course on a small hill were three.
IMG_2869

We watched them for a bit from the bridge as they made their way along the hillside.
IMG_2885

IMG_2887

Beyond the bridge the trail passed through a mile and a half of pastures. The fenced route was well marked as the trail led to East Neacoxie Lake.
IMG_2890

IMG_2897

Smaller than Neacoxie Lake, East Neacoxie Lake was full of wildlife. A pair of Bald Eagles watched over the many ducks and small birds enjoying the lake.
IMG_2898

IMG_2906

IMG_2918

The trail crossed this lake on a floating bridge.
IMG_2917

As we were making our way across something swam out from under the bank near the far end of the bridge. Our minds immediately went to otter or beaver, neither of which we have spotted yet during a hike. Instead it turned out to be a nutria, a large rat-like semiaquatic rodent considered an invasive species by the ODFW.
IMG_2921

IMG_2925

The trail then led past a pioneer church and cemetery to an underpass of Highway 101.
IMG_2928

IMG_2929

After passing under the highway and skirting another field we crossed the Skipanon River before heading into a forest.
IMG_2932

IMG_2933

IMG_2935

At the 4.7 mile mark we reached the Clatsop Ridge Overlook which was a nice ocean viewpoint with a picnic table and several benches.
IMG_2936

From the viewpoint the trail followed old roads down to the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center.
IMG_2938

IMG_2943

We passed through the center and continued 100 yards to the replica fort.
IMG_2945

IMG_2949

We were surprised at just how small a structure the fort was especially considering it was home to 33 people for 106 days. We spent some time poking around the fort and checking out the other nearby displays.
IMG_2950

IMG_2952

IMG_2953

IMG_2956

IMG_2957

IMG_2958

IMG_2959

IMG_2960

A 200 yard path led from the fort down to the site of the expedition’s canoe landing.
IMG_2962

IMG_2967

We could have turned back here and retraced our steps, but the park has several other trails which allow for various loop options. From the canoe landing we followed the Netul Trail south along the river. Part of the year a shuttle bus stop along this trail allows hikers to ride back to the fort or back to Sunset Beach. We were heading for the South Slough Trail though which we could take back to the Fort-To-Sea Trail. This trail loop around a slough filled with ducks and a couple of red-tailed hawks.
IMG_2970

IMG_2973

IMG_2978

The South Slough Trail was the only trail marked as difficult on the park maps. It headed steeply uphill from the Netul Trail but the climb didn’t last long. The trail wound around the slough to a signed junction with the only real viewpoint of the trail.
IMG_2985

From this junction we could take the Lower South Slough Trail downhill to the Fort-To-Sea Trail about a half mile from the Visitor Center, or the Upper South Slough Trail which would meet the Fort-To-Sea Trail closer to a mile from the center. We took the upper option and made our way back to the Fort-To-Sea Trail and then took a second detour. Earlier that day just after entering the forest there was a signed trail forking left from the Fort-To-Sea Trail. It was named the Kwis Kwis Trail and it wasn’t shown in our guidebook or on any of the park maps we’d seen. The park maps did show a trail by that name but that trail showed as a wide arc leading from the Fort-To-Sea Trail near the junction with the Upper South Slough Trail and rejoining the Fort-To-Sea Trail about a third of a mile from the Visitor Center. Given the name and the fact that the signage for the mystery trail matched those of the park we theorized that it was a newer trail. We had also spotted sections of trail from the Fort-To-Sea Trail on the way up to the overlook which we suspected to be part of this trail.

From the Upper South Slough Trail junction we headed east on the Fort-To-Sea Trail to the signed Kwis Kwis Trail junction.
IMG_2987

This trail also followed an old roadbed. After winding downhill for a little more than .3 miles we spotted a sign for the Kwis Extension.
IMG_2988

We turned up this path which ran roughly parallel to the Fort-To-Sea Trail at a lower elevation. This was indeed the path we had seen earlier. A nice long boardwalk traversed a large marshy area before rejoining the Fort-To-Sea Trail in the forest near the Skipanon River.
IMG_2991

From there we retraced our steps along the Fort-To-Sea Trail to the Sunset Beach Trailhead. Later we learned the Kwis Kwis Trail Extension was completed in 2014. The scenery and wildlife along the trails were both quite varied, and the history surrounding the area made it a very interesting hike. The various loops and trail distances make this a great option for hikers of any age. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157662826694040