Throwback Thursday – Shevlin Park

On 8/5/2011, during a vacation in Central Oregon, we headed to Shevlin Park on the outskirts of Bend for an easy day hike. The 4.8 mile loop was a perfect break in the midst of a week of longer hikes.

We parked in a large lot at the park entrance and walked across the park’s road to a trail that passed through a meadow for 100 yards before crossing over Tumalo Creek on a footbridge.
Shevlin Park sign

Bridge over Tumalo Creek

The trail climbed just a bit to a rim on the canyon above the creek. A fire in 1990 was stopped at the rim which still showed a few signs of the blaze. Birds and chipmunks were plentiful along this stretch.
Paintbrush

Loop Trail in Shevlin Park

Lewis's Woodpecker

Chipmunk

Chipping sparrow

Tumalo Creek flowed through the forest in the green canyon below.
Tumalo Creek

At approximately the 1.75 mile mark we forked to the right and followed a trail back down into the canyon and crossed a side creek on another footbridge. We began encountering mosquitoes at that point and having had given enough blood already that week we picked up the pace quickly covering the next .6 miles where yet another bridge led us back over Tumalo Creek.
Tumalo Creek

The trail once again climbed away from the creek which provided relief from the mosquitoes. From the bridge it was 2.2 miles back to the parking lot. At the 1.5 mile mark a side trail led down to the Hixon Crossing covered bridge which we had a nice view of from above.
Hixson Crossing Covered Bridge

The trail passed Ponderosa Pine trees and some interesting rock formations where golden-mantled ground squirrels and gray Douglas squirrels watched us as we passed by.
Rocks along the Loop Trail in Shevlin park

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel

With a relatively short distance and only 300′ of elevation gain the Shevlin Park loop was a great choice for a recovery day. It’s proximity to Bend also meant we had plenty of time left in the day to pursue other activities in town. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Shevlin Park

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Throwback Thursday -Shellburg Falls

This weeks Throwback Thursday hike features the some lesser known and visited waterfalls near Salem, OR not far from the more famous falls of Silver Falls State Park.

On 5/22/2011 we headed out for a short hike to a pair of waterfalls on Shellburg Creek.  Two trailheads offer access to the falls. The Shellburg Falls Trailhead is open year around while an upper trailhead located at the Shellburg Falls Campground is only open from May 20th through October.  We started at the upper trailhead. To reach the campground from Highway 22 turn north on Wagner Road, which is just east of Mehama, OR, and follow signs for 8 miles to the campground.
Shellburg Falls Trailhead

From there a .8 mile trail crossed Shellburg Creek twice on it’s way to Shellburg Falls and then Lower Shellburg Falls. From the looks of the creek we didn’t expect much from the falls but as is often the case looks can be deceiving.
Shellburg Creek

Shellburg Falls

The trail dropped down and passed behind the falls before continuing downhill to a short side trail to the bottom of the falls.
Shellburg Falls

Shellburg Falls

Shellburg Falls

Less than a quarter mile later we arrived at a closed road (the route up from the lower trailhead)which crossed Shellburg Creek via a concrete bridge. Lower Shellburg Falls lay just on the other side of this bridge.
Lower Shellberg Falls

We turned left (east) on the road and followed it for .3 miles to the August Mountain Trail. The August Mountain Tail climbed just over a mile to junction with the half mile Vine Maple Trail which led us back to the upper trailhead.
Shellburg Creek Trail sign

Much of these trails crossed logging roads and passed through thinned forests.
View from the Shellburg Creek Trail

From the upper trailhead the loop was right around 3 miles while starting from the lower trailhead would have added about 2.6 miles to the days total. While Silver Falls State Park sees plenty of crowds Shellburg Falls sees far fewer. If you’re in the area and love waterfalls it’s definitely worth the visit. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Shellburg Falls

Throwback Thursday – Alsea Falls

Now that we are in the midst of our offseason it’s time to bring back our Throwback Thursday posts. This installment of Throwback Thursday features our final hike of 2012 and the last hike we took before starting this blog.   On 12/19/2012 we headed for the Alsea Falls Recreation Area which is located in the Coast Range west of Monroe, OR.  To reach the area from Highway 99w we turned west near Monroe at a sign for Alpine.  Signs for the recreation area kept us headed in the right direction.  We could have started our hike in a couple of places including the most popular trailhead at a day use picnic area practically next to Alsea Falls. We opted to instead to begin further up the South Fork Alsea River at a small trailhead along Miller Road.

Alsea Falls trailhead

The level trail followed the South Fork Alsea River for a mile to the Alsea Falls Campground. At the .7 mile mark a trail joined from the right which was to be our return route. Had it been earlier in the year there probably wouldn’t have been many views of the river along this stretch but with the leaves gone from the trees the river was often visible.

South Fork Alsea River

South Fork Alsea River

We didn’t take the footbridge across the river into the campground opting to stay on the east side of the river for another .6 miles to a second footbridge ignoring a side trail to the right (our return route) shortly before the bridge.

Bridge over the South Fork Alsea River

This bridge led to the day use picnic area. We crossed the bridge pausing to look downstream at the top of Alsea Falls.

South Fork Alsea River

A .3 mile path continued downstream on the south side of the river below the falls. The photos we’d seen of Alsea Falls had obviously been taken at other times of the year. The pictures we’d seen were of a terraced fall gently cascading over rocks, but what we found was a whitewater cascade.

Alsea Falls

Alsea Falls

Alsea Falls

After admiring just how much more water was flowing now than what we’d seen in the photos we recrossed the footbridge and turned left continuing downstream. The trail climbed a bit before dropping back down near river level and another split in the trail after .6 miles. A trail here descended to the river bank before petering out.

South Fork Alsea River

From here the trail soon joined an old road which we followed briefly toward McBee Park to another trail which led slightly uphill to the right.

Alsea Falls Trail

Trail to Green Peak Falls

This trail ran parallel to Peak Creek but stayed far enough away to keep it hidden most of the half mile to Green Peak Falls.

Trail to Green Peak Falls

Meadow on the way to Green Peak Falls

Peak Creek

Having not seen any pictures of Green Peak Falls we weren’t sure what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by this 60′ waterfall.

Green Peak Falls

Green Peak Falls

Green Peak Falls

Almost as mesmerizing as the waterfall was a tree on the far side of the creek that was covered in light green lichen.

Lichen draped tree

On the way back we had a couple of loop options. We could have taken a .6 mile section of trail from the picnic area to the campground, but we chose a slightly longer loop with a little extra elevation gain. Just beyond the footbridge to the picnic area we turned left at a trail sign and headed uphill into the forest.

Trail sign in the Alsea Falls Recreation Area

This path climbed for a half mile to a road where we turned right for another half mile before descending on another half mile trail to the junction we had passed that morning .7 miles from Miller Road. This mile and a half was view less but the trails were well maintained.

Forest in the Alsea Falls Recreation Area

The Alsea Falls Recreation Area is popular in the warmer months when the river is more inviting but we had basically had the area to ourselves and the strong flow over the falls made a Winter visit worthwhile as well. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Alsea Falls

Nehalem Bay State Park, Kilchis Point Reserve, and Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint

We didn’t waste any time starting on our 2018 list of hikes as we took advantage of favorable weather on New Year’s Day and headed for the Oregon Coast. Our plan for the day was to make three stops near Tillamook. First at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, then at Kilchis Point Reserve, and finally at Nehalem Bay State Park. As we neared Tillamook though it became apparent that we were a bit ahead of the Sun so we decided to swap the first and final stops to avoid sitting at the Cape Meares Trailhead waiting for light.

We drove north through Tillamook on Highway 101 to mile post 44 (one mile south of Manzanita) where we turned west at a sign for Nehalem Bay State Park. After paying the $5 day use fee we parked at the large day use area. We waited briefly for enough light to take a short path to the ocean.
Nehalem Bay Trailhead

Pacific Ocean

The view from the beach was a good one with some of our previous destinations visible to the north.
Neahkahanie Mountain
Neahaknie Mountain, Angora Peak, and Cape Falcon

To the south our final destination of the day, Cape Meares, jutted out into the Pacific.
Looking south from the Nehalem Spit

We walked south along the quite beach for 2.25 miles to the jetty at the end of the spit. We were joined by a lone jogger, some seagulls, and a curious seal.
Morning glow on the Pacific

Seagull

Seal

Jetty on Nehalem Spit

A mass of driftwood near the jetty forced us to backtrack a bit along the beach to a hiker sign where we turned inland.
Morning light hitting Neahkahanie Mountain

Hiker post on Nehalem Spit

We crossed the spit to the bay and turned north along the water on a worn path.
Swell heading into the bay

We were eventually able to get down onto the sandy Nehalem Beach which we walked along as far as we could before the high water forced us back up into the vegetation.
Neahkahanie Mountain across Nehalem BayNehalem Beach ahead

While we walked along the beach we spotted a bald eagle, more seals, and a varied thrush.
Bald eagle

Seals in Nehalem Bay

Varied thrush

Ideally we would have been able to keep on the sand all the way back along the bay to the park’s boat ramp but since that wasn’t an option we turned inland on what appeared to be a well traveled trail. We were hoping it would lead us to the horse trail that our map showed running down the center of the spit but after a short distance the path we were following became flooded.
More water on Nehalem Spit

We were forced to attempt to follow a maze of game trails.
Off trail travel on Nehalem Spit

We could guess who was responsible for the confusion of trails by the elk sign we continually spotted. We lucked out at one point when we came to another flooded area at a narrow point where we were able to cross on driftwood. Had we tried sticking to the bay we would have run into a spot too wide to cross and wound up where we were anyway.
Inlet along Nehalem Bay

Shortly after crossing the water travel became easier as we were able to reach another sandy beach and then pick up a wider more traveled trail back to the horse trail not far from the day use parking lot.
Nehalem Bay

Horse Trail in Nehalem Bay State Park

Our guidebook and called this a 5.2 mile loop but the time we’d arrived back at the car we had squeezed 5.7 miles out of it due to backtracking because of the flooded trail.

After returning to the highway we headed south to Bay City for our second stop of the morning – Kilchis Point Reserve. We turned towards Tillamook Bay on Warren Street near mile post 61 and followed pointers to the parking area on Spurce Street.
Kilshis Point Reserve Trailhead

Kilchis Point is the site of one of the largest Native American villages along the Northern Oregon Coast. It is also the location where the Morning Star of Tillamook, first ship registered in the Oregon Territory, was built. The small park is very nice with plenty of amenities and a plethora of information posted throughout. It was a little chilly out so we didn’t stop to read all the signs this time but that just gives us a reason to stop again and check it out in the Spring or Summertime.
Path at Kilchis Point Reserve

Interpretive sign at Kilchis Point Reserve

Interpretive sign at Kilchis Point Reserve

Interpretive sign at Kilchis Point Reserve

We followed the brick path from the parking area keeping right at junctions a total of 1.2 miles to a bird watching gazebo at Tillamook Bay.
Brick path at Kilchis Point Reserve

Gazeebo for birdwatching at Kilchis Point Reserve

Tillamook Bay

We didn’t spot many animals (other than dogs) along the way but we did get to listen to a pair of bald eagles for a bit.
Bald eagle

After a short break by the bay we returned to the parking area by following signs and staying right at trail junctions to complete two short loops.
Trail sign at Kilchis Point Reserve

Kilchis Point

We then drove south to Tillamook and followed signs to Oceanside on Highway 131. From Oceanside we followed signs to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and parked at a trailhead parking area at the park entrance.
Cape Meares Trailhead

A mudslide in January of 2013 closed the Three Capes Scenic Loop beyond the park entrance. That slide continues to slowly shift the area and has affected a trail between the trailhead and the beach to the north of Cape Meares. We decided to head down this trail to see the conditions first hand.
Cape Meares Trail map

Trail at Cape Meares

The upper portion of the trail was in reasonably good shape although there was a small tree that required ducking under.
Trail at Cape Meares

Shortly after passing a fairly nice view of another place we had previously hiked, Bayocean Spit, we came to a jumble of debris.
Bayocean Spit from Cape Meares

Washed out trail at Cape Meares

That was our turn around point,a little over half a mile from the trialhead. We headed back up to the trailhead and took the .2 mile Big Spruce Trail. The tree is estimated to be 750 to 800 years old and is the largest known Sitka spruce in Oregon.
Sign for the Big Spurce

Big Spruce

Big Spruce at Cape Meares

For a bit of perspective if the tree sprouted in 1217 it was there at the start of the fifth crusade.

After visiting the old tree we road walked .6 miles along the entrance road to the crowded parking area for the Cape Meares Lighthouse.
Cape Meares lighthouse parking

We stopped at a viewpoint platform overlooking Tower and Pillar Rocks to the north.
Tower and Pillar Rocks

A .2 mile path led from the parking area past more viewpoints to the lighthouse.
Cape Meares

Waterfall at Cape Meares

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares Lighthouse

A second .2 mile path led back to the parking lot allowing for a short loop and providing views south to Cape Lookout and the Three Arch Rocks Wilderness, one of the two off-limits wilderness areas in Oregon.
Looking south from Cape Meares

After returning to the parking area we headed for the Octopus Tree which was just a tenth of a mile away.
Sign for the Octopus Tree

Octopus Tree at Cape Meares

Octopus Tree at Cape Meares

Another Sitka spruce, this unique tree has no central trunk. Instead several limbs have grown vertically. After visiting this tree we walked back up the entrance road to our car and headed home, capping off our first outing of 2018. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Nehalem Bay, Kilchis Point, and Cape Meares