Cape Mountain (Oregon Coast) 13-May-2019

Cape Mountain, about five miles north of Florence, Oregon, is home to some 17 miles of well-graded, well-maintained trails. Although primarily intended for use by equestrians, they are perfect for hikers too. No brush, no poison oak, no ticks. We came across this trail system when we were looking for hikes along the coast that didn’t necessarily involve a beach. And, since most of the day was overcast anyway, it didn’t matter that we spent most of it in a green tunnel through an old-growth forest. Thanks to hiker’s irony, the sun popped out (briefly) just before we got back to the trailhead. 🙄

We started at the Dry Lake Trailhead, ascended the Princess Tasha Trail to the Scurvy Ridge Trail and followed that to a junction with the Berry Creek Trail. Then down across Berry Creek and up the Nelson Ridge Trail, which we followed past Dry Lake back to the trailhead. Nelson Ridge gave us some huge old-growth, a brief view of the ocean, and startlingly close views of two large black bears 🐻 🐻 foraging in the meadow. We’ve now seen more black bears (4) in the wild in the last 30 days than in the last 30 years! Hey bear! There were some ups and downs and ups, so our loop consumed 7.6 miles and gained 1,200 feet.

Dry Lake Trailhead and horse camp
On the Princess Tasha Trail
Through a towering forest
The moss gave the trees a Dr. Seuss-like quality
A re-constructed Siuslaw hunting cabin (hitsi) along the Scurvey Ridge Trail
Descending the Berry Creek Trail
Luxurious growth along the Berry Creek Trail
The lower crossing of Berry Creek
Crossing upper Berry Creek on the Nelson Ridge Trail (past giant skunk cabbage)
Climbing Nelson Ridge
Old-growth on Nelson Ridge
Foraging black bears (arrows) in the meadow on Nelson Ridge
Our best view of the ocean from Nelson Ridge
Another huge old tree on Nelson Ridge
Part of the trail follows a now grassy old road
Descending the Nelson Ridge Trail toward the trailhead
The presently wet Dry Lake (with a sprinkle of sunshine)
Our loop around Cape Mountain

Thus endeth this year’s escape to the coast. Despite the overcast, it was a good one – with sunshine to start, beaches, old-growth, bears(!), and views. We managed to dodge a heat wave in the interior and it didn’t start raining until the morning we started for home. 😀

Farewell (for the moment) to the Oregon Coast
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4 comments

  1. Well I feel like we play follow the leader as we either hike what you have hiked or vice versa. We are heading up north of Florence later this summer, so we will look into Cape Mountain trails too. 4 Bears! Wow. At least none have chased you yet!

    1. Thanks! It was fun (despite the overcast). The trails were designed for horses, so nice and wide, no brush, and a gentle grade when climbing. And who would have guessed there’d be bears! The meadows are supposed to attract elk. 🙄

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