Words by Brett Farrell
Photos by Steven Mortinson
I was craving to get out of town for a weekend trip and truly soak up all that the northern Oregon Coast has to offer. I got some friends together and we made it our goal to hit as many trails as we could, become tourists-go to the hole in the wall shops and indulge in coastal cuisine. We also had to test out and capture photos of some new gear so our friend and photographer, Steven Mortinson came to document.
We left on a Friday afternoon after work and drove to our first destination, Saddle Mountain, with the hopes of getting a sunset from one of the best view points near the coast.
When we arrived, the area around Saddle Mountain was sitting in dense fog and our sunset hopes were crushed. As experienced Northwesterners, we easily accepted the eerie fog as a great consolation prize behind an epic sunset.
Mileage:5.2 miles round trip
Trailhead: Saddle Mountain Trailhead
Pro tips: Make sure to tag Humbug Mountain along the way up to Saddle Mountain.
Post Run Eats
Public Coast Brewing, Cannon Beach
A perfect post Saddle Mountain dinner spot with great grub, beer and we also had excellent live music.
Camping close by:
Nehalem Bay State Park
Saturday morning we hit our second trail run destination, the Tillamook Head Trail just after we loaded up on a coffee and baked goods. This is my favorite section of trail on the Oregon Coast filled with rolling hills, single track and an assortment of views of the great big blue Pacific.
Insomnia Coffee, Cannon Beach
Tillamook Head Trail
Mileage: 12.6 Out and Back
Trailhead: Indian Beach Trailhead
Pro tips: Add on another 1.3 miles each way by starting from Cannon Beach and taking Ecola Park Road to Crescent Beach Trail.
Driving Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast is an adventure in itself. It is a meandering highway with view points of the rugged rocky coastline that brings you to small towns filled with character.
Cannon Beach and Manzanita are polished towns that have all your modern tourist vibes but Rockaway Beach is like stepping back in time. You find shops unconcerned with hip offerings and a tendency to focus more on those who are building a collection of knick knacks from the places they have been.
We were transported back to our childhood in one of these shops called Flamingo Jims.
We walked in with curiosity of what may be inside and walked out with saltwater taffy, pop rocks and a kite. We followed it up with over sized ice cream cones.
We left Rockaway Beach and our childhood behind to check off another must-do on the coast- shoot some oysters.
The Knick Knack Shop: Flamingo Jim's
Pacific Oysters- Bay City, OR
The van doesn’t quite sleep three so we pulled off the highway to Netarts Bay to find some local lodging. The basic-ness of an old school hotel overlooking the bay and ocean was the perfect balance of affordability and epic views. It was the ideal spot for kite flying, a dinner looking at the Pacific and a campfire on the beach.
The Terimore Hotel
Sunday morning we drove out early through the fog towards Cape Lookout State Park for our final run of the weekend that rewarded us with views above the marine layer below, a whale sighting at the cape, and a rocky climb down toward the ocean.
Cape Lookout Trail
Mileage: 5 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead: Cape Lookout Trailhead
Pro tip: At the cape, look for a trail that descends down toward to the water for some closer views of the ocean and maybe a passing whale.
We left the trailhead over hungry and in need of coffee. On Highway 6 we stopped at a side of the road dining joint offering precariously hung logging equipment from the ceiling, gargantuan pancakes and amazing breakfast burritos.
Post Run Eats
Alice’s Country House, Tillamook, OR
Pro Tip: Share your pancakes.
As we drove back into town with sun burns and full stomachs, we talked about how much we packed into the weekend. We noticed that even a trip close to home brings out the spirit of travel-where we observe the world around us a little closer, have the space to open up to the people around us and tell stories brought out by the changing scenery. It is a break from our busy schedules and essential for regaining our sense of wonder.
A trail that we missed but should be on our list:
Neahkhanie Mountain: The best viewpoint on the Oregon Coast.
Mileage:6.6 miles Out and Back
Trailhead: Short Sands Trailhead
Pro Tip: Make sure to check out Devil's Cauldron on the way up.