Randy May Family in Hillsboro Oregon

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This page is about our outdoor adventures and what we learned and where we went.

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  1. All roads lead to adventure on the Nehalem River

    A campground set amid an old-growth forest of Douglas fir, cedar, spruce and hemlock awaits visitors who make their way to a beautiful location in the Tillamook State Forest, about 10 miles inland from Manzanita on the Oregon coast.

    Main attraction: The Nehalem River Road, mostly paved but gravel in places, follows its namesake’s curves as the river flows through the Coast Range to empty in Nehalem Bay. The Nehalem Falls campground has 14 drive-in campsites, not a lot for a summer weekend but usually enough for other days. Campers who can’t find a spot head north on the river road to Clatsop County’s Spruce Run Park, or pitch a tent in an undeveloped site along the river.

    Trails/users: Nehalem Falls campground has one mile of trail that loops through the old trees, never far from the river’s beautiful pools. For more hiking, look for the parking area at the Salmonberry River, eight miles north of the campground. Hikers can walk the lightly used railroad tracks upriver into one of the wilder parts of the Coast Range. Be cautious because freight and excursion trains occasionally use the tracks.
    Season: Nehalem River Road is open all year. Busiest times are whenever the salmon and steelhead are running. Hot summer days bring out swimmers, while the golden leaves of fall have their own beauty. The campground is open May 1 through September.

    Getting there: Nehalem River Road connects U.S. 26 near Elsie with U.S. 101 near Mohler. Finding the north entrance is a bit tricky when hurrying along at 55 mph. The turnoff is in the Coast Range, east of Oregon 53 (the cutoff highway between U.S. 26 and Manzanita).

    When driving west from Portland, look for the Nehalem River Road’s north entrance at milepost 20.4, about 55 miles west of the city. When driving east from Seaside, the turnoff comes at milepost 19.8. Due to sharp curves and limited visibility, each traveling direction has its own approach. If you miss the turn when heading west (it comes up very fast), continue driving west one mile to the Elsie restaurant, then turn around.

    Mileposts are measured from the U.S. 26-U.S. 101 junction at the coast.
    Nehalem Falls campground is 20 miles south of U.S. 26.

    To reach the southern end of the Nehalem River Road, drive north on U.S. 101 from Wheeler for a half mile. Turn right on Oregon 53 toward Mohler. At 1.3 miles from U.S. 101, turn right, drive 0.9 miles, then turn left on Foss Road. Nehalem Falls campground is seven miles north.

    Trail tips: Anyone who plans to spend much time in the Tillamook State Forest should have a copy of the Tillamook State Forest Visitor Map and Guide, along with the book “50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest” by the Sierra Club.

    Cost: Day recreation is free in the Tillamook State Forest. The map sells for $6 from the Oregon Department of Forestry, the book for $14.95 (plus shipping) from the Columbia Chapter of the Sierra Club. Camping is $10 per night.

    Information: Oregon Department of Forestry, Forest Grove, 503-357-2191, or http://www.odf.state.or.us

    Comment by rmay4 — May 20, 2008 @ 12:08 am | Reply


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