Winter hikes on Oregon’s Tillamook Coast brings the gift of movie-worthy vistas
Winter is arguably the best time of year to hit the trails in Oregon. Before you scoff too loudly, hear me out. For starters, the mosses and lichens that carpet the forest floor and adorn the trees are full of life and at the height of their color. Vibrant greens of every conceivable hue occasionally bordering on supernatural, make Northwest hiking trails look like a scene out of an elfin wonderland in winter. And those colors are made all the more unreal after a good rain.
Think about it…it’s an old trick that’s been employed by the movie industry for years. When they wet down a set, everything appears clean and colors look richer. The same holds true, even more so, in a natural setting. Now add the fact that fewer people are out on the trails because they don’t like to go hiking during “inclement” weather and you’ve got a set of gifts given straight from the hiking gods. Oregon’s Tillamook Coast is busting at the seams with these gifts right now. Here are a few prime examples.
Wilson River Trail
The trail system that explores the Wilson River drainage meanders along the river through a thick forest canopy. It also ascends, in thigh-burning fashion, to breathtaking coast range summits. It is without a doubt one of the most underrated trail systems in Oregon.
One of the Tillamook Coast’s most classic, sweeping vistas can be had by summiting Neahkahnie Mountain in Oswald West State Park. Legends abound regarding the mountain and the surrounding area, from shipwrecks to buried treasure; all good reasons to visit. But consider that Neahkahnie translates to “place of supreme deity.” Take in the view from the summit and you’ll understand why.
There may only be between three and four miles of hiking trail at the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. But within that handful of miles, there packs a wallop. The lighthouse at Cape Meares would be motivation enough, but hikers will also revel in the stunning ocean views, a stand of stately old-growth spruce, and the enigmatic Octopus Tree.
For more information on hiking on the Tillamook Coast, visit tillamookcoast.com/hiking
Photo: The view from Neahakahnie Mountain