Oregon - overlooks along the coast in winter

As I ambled down the Oregon coast back in February 2019 in a rental car, there were many opportunities to stop at overlooks. Some required a detour onto smaller coastal roads but many were just pull-outs along the main coastal highway 101. See also Peregrinations and Lewis and Clark

Cape Meares

Cape Meares

The weather kept on surprising everyone almost every day with warm days and clear skies. Only one day did we have any rain. And most of the time temperatures for this mid-winter drive were in the 60s.  

Across harbor and beach at Yachats

Across harbor and beach at Yachats

As I moved south, eventually I reached my own “no farther” moment at a little overlook and picnic spot called Bob’s Creek, just south of Cape Perpetua.

Bob’s Creek

Bob’s Creek

After a stay in Yachats, I said goodbye to the Pacific at a little beach turn-out off the highway. 

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I had considered several possible routes back to Portland, one of which would have retraced about a half of my drive back up the coast, seeing it once again but now traveling north. I opted instead for a route that would take me up the winding Alsea River and through the Drift Creek Wilderness and Siuslaw National Forest. I thought that would be sufficiently different from the coast to provide a different perspective on western Oregon.

The landscapes in these coastal hills mainly are sculpted by rain and moisture. 

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The road passed through stand after stand of moss covered trees. It looked as though these simply never dried out. Even on a sunny day the steep hills would shade some sun, while the updrafts of ocean air would draw out rain or mist. 

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As I passed out of the National Forest on the western side of the coastal hills the landscape immediately became pastoral. This was dairy country. 

Note a single large barren tree standing at upper right, that was an old tree trunk remaining from the old forest before cut or burned. The trees surrounding it are not small, they are about the size of the trees surrounding this house and barn, but they are dwarfed by many magnitudes by what was here before.

Note a single large barren tree standing at upper right, that was an old tree trunk remaining from the old forest before cut or burned. The trees surrounding it are not small, they are about the size of the trees surrounding this house and barn, but they are dwarfed by many magnitudes by what was here before.

The cows were eating fresh green grass, and it was February! Buy Oregon milk or cheese if you get a chance.

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Eventually I made my way to a highway and drove the relatively uninteresting Interstate 5 back to Portland. After checking in to the HI Hostel on NW Flison St, I settled in with a cider and BLT on toasted sourdough prepared by the hostel’s resident bistro. And watched the Super Bowl with the other guests in the common room.

 

Overall, I would do this trip again at this time of year. I was extraordinarily lucky with my weather. But even with more cloudy, rainy and windy days I think I would have enjoyed it still. The coast is so unpopulated at that time of year. It was relaxing and easy to get around and explore. And if you give it enough time, I expect you will have a good share of both good and bad weather days. And as the green grass indicated, even bad weather won’t likely be very cold.

Traffic was always light to nonexistent. Small independent inns or motels were available with reasonable off season rates. Diners and restaurants were never crowded. Yet, I didn’t really notice that many places were closed for the season, which is prevalent in other coastal vacation destinations such as Maine. I think this is because the weather really isn’t that extreme in winter along this coast.

Now within a week this area got snow, so there aren’t any guarantees. But by and large, this was worth taking a shot at some good coastal weather. And I was lucky. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©️ 2019 D Abbott