Tahkenitch Dunes Trail (Oregon Coast) 29-Jul-2018

Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Thanks (?) to all the wildfires burning in our region, the best air quality we’ve had in the past two weeks has been only “moderate” and it’s often been much worse. That, combined with triple digit (ºF) air temperatures, has made the daily routine tough and hiking nigh near impossible. The LovedOne was clinging to A/C like a shipwreck survivor to a leaky life raft. Finally, finally, it was just too much and we cashed in some hotel coupons we’d been saving for something special (like breathing) and headed for Reedsport on the Oregon Coast for a few (too few) days of cool air and particulate-free air (plus seafood). We used Bonnie Henderson’s Day Hiking Oregon Coast (2nd Edition, 2015) as our guide and, for our first hike (her #62), picked a loop starting from the Tahkenitch Dunes – Threemile Lake North Trailhead (not to be confused with the Tahkenitch Creek Trail further north) in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. We went out on the Threemile Lake North Trail (USFS #1338), walked north along the beach, and returned via part of the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail (USFS #1353).  If you want to skip the beach walk (why?), you can return via the #1353 entirely within the dunes. We started on the #1338 in lush, dense coastal forest and reached the dunes at fog-shrouded Threemile Lake. From there, it was a short walk across the dunes to the beach, which we arrived at just as the morning’s fog was giving way to sunshine. Brilliant! We strolled north along the beach (staying on the wet sand to protect sensitive snowy plover nesting habitat) to where the #1353 starts inland across a wider expanse of dunes and followed it back to the trailhead. This stretch of beach is closed to motorized vehicles and has very limited road access, so we saw just one other person here. A wonderful hike (6.5 mile loop; 1,000 feet of elevation) through an amazing variety of habitats. It felt good to breath again!

Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Starting off on the Threemile Lake Trail
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Along the Threemile Lake Trail
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Towering trees along the Threemile Lake Trail
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
A beautiful golden frog along the trail
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Towering trees and lush vegetation along the Threemile Lake Trail
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
The thickness of the ground cover here is hard to believe
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
The northern end of Threemile Lake
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Fog clung close to Threemile Lake…
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
…and beaded the surrounding grasses
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
From Threemile Lake, we went across the dunes toward the beach
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Arriving at the beach through dune grasses
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
On the beach…
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Blue sky and fresh air for the first time in days and days!
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
An old crab dead of natural causes
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
A lone hiker heads south…
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
While we stroll north…
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
To where the Tahkenitch Dunes Trail reaches the beach
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Hiking back through the dense vegetation that guards the coast
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
The vegetation starts to give way to the dunes
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Across the dunes
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Toward the coastal forest
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
A short stretch of forest enroute to the trailhead
Tahkenitch Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Our loop hike through forest and dunes

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2 thoughts on “Tahkenitch Dunes Trail (Oregon Coast) 29-Jul-2018

    1. Yes, go north by northwest. As with last year, some of these fires may burn into October. So book your spot at the beach now!

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