Sutton Creek Trails (Oregon Coast) 12-May-2019

Clear skies and sunshine deserted us the morning we reached Florence, Oregon and our venue for our wilderness talk at the Siuslaw Public Library. This lack of sunshine was not unusual for the Oregon Coast (even in summer) and probably made for a larger audience at our talk. 😉 Today was similarly overcast but, no matter, we went for a hike anyway. The choice was between the Oregon Dunes and Sutton Creek – we went with the creek because it promised (and delivered) a greater variety of habitats.

You can get into the Sutton Area Trails from four places: the boat ramp on Highway 101 or Loops B or C within the campground or Holman Vista. We went with Loop B because it was away from busy 101 (but parking is much more plentiful at the boat ramp or the vista). From there we went out on the Sutton Creek North Trail, visited the viewpoint via the Sutton Creek Loop Trail, and returned on the Sutton Creek South Trail. The South Trail goes entirely through the trees, while the North Trail has a brief break-out into the sand dunes north of the campground.

Pondering our options at the Loop B trailhead
Sutton Creek
Along the North Trail
Skirting the sand dunes along the North Trail
Colorful, but invasive, Scotch broom along the North Trail
Colorful, and native, rhododendrons along the North Trail
The bridge across Sutton Creek near the start of the loop
Along the Loop Trail
Sutton Creek
Through fresh growth along the Loop Trail
Hanging ferns along the Loop Trail

The Loop Trail passes the parking lot and viewing platform at Holman Vista. There’s no trail to Baker Beach from here but it is possible to ford the creek and go cross-country over the fore-dune to the beach. Maybe if it had been sunny we would have given it a go. Instead we headed back on the South Trail.

The view from Holman Vista
Sutton Creek below Holman Vista
Buldoc’s Meadow, site of a vacation resort from the 1930s to the 1970s
The South Trail is almost all in forest
Sutton Creek from the South Trail
Our path along Sutton Creek

The whole loop came to 4.5 miles with only 400 feet of gain. While the campground was fairly busy (in two weeks it’ll be full every weekend), we only saw six other people on the trail. Despite vague promises of a sunbreak, the cloud cover along the coast never fully dissipated. So after we returned from Sutton Creek and had some lunch, we headed inland and into sunshine for two short hikes to see some old-growth (Pawn Trail #1317) and an historic trail that became a pioneer road (Pioneer Hill Trail #1316). Huge old trees and bit of history, all in sunshine. Brilliant! 😎

The LovedOne among the old-growth (her wing span is 5 feet)
The sunset we would have gotten had the coastal cloud cover relented 😦
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