Nature Tours In Seaside Oregon, Explore Endless Miles Of Scenery.

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Ecola State Park

One of Ecola State Park’s first attractions was a beached whale. In 1806, Capt. William Clark and twelve members of the Corps of Discovery climbed over rocky headlands and fought their way through thick shrubs and trees to get to the whale in what is now Ecola State Park. Today, a paved road from Cannon Beach makes your trek to the park much easier. Winding your way through towering Sitka spruce, you suddenly emerge upon a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to have your camera ready. 

 
 

Tillamook Head Trail

Wrapping around Tillamook Head between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park is a hiking and sightseeing mecca with a storied past. Trails for Explorers, Trails with cliffside viewpoints above nine miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline overlook picture postcard seascapes, cozy coves, densely forested promontories and even a long-abandoned offshore lighthouse. The trail network includes an eight-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT)—the park’s backbone—and a 2.5 mile historical interpretive route called the Clatsop Loop Trail.

 
 

Seaside Estuary

Visit the Necanicum Estuary behind Seaside High School on South Holladay off Highway 101.  Watch for Great Blue Heron - a common sight year-round along the North Coast. They can often be seen wading in shallow water, stalking fish and other prey. You will also find many types of other birds in the estuary. This park has a boardwalk, a viewing deck, estuary and beach access, and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

 
 

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain - 5.2 miles round trip Between the months of March and December, the serious hiker can venture to the top of Saddle Mountain, the highest peak in the Northern Coast Range.  Atop the 3,283 foot mountain, hikers can see the Coastal Mountain Range, including Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood, the Pacific Ocean, Astoria, and the Columbia River. Hundreds of rare and interesting wildflowers grow here as well. Saddle Mountain is located 10 miles East of Seaside off Highway 26.

 
 

Fort To Sea Trail

6.5 miles each way, this Lewis & Clark inspired trail was opened recently during the 2005 bicentennial celebration to commemorate the trek of the Corps of Discovery from their temporary fort to the ocean. Hikers travel on a nicely maintained trail through dunes, coastal forests, wetlands, country pastures, and other varied landscape. Footbridges take you over the numerous lakes and rivers along the way, and a pedestrian underpass has been created under Highway 101. You can begin the hike at the Sunset Beach Recreation area off Highway 101, or from the other end of the trail at Fort Clatsop. Shorter hikes are also possible around Fort Clatsop, and several are wheelchair accessible. 

 
 

Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens was the primary military defense installation in the three fort Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River (Forts Canby and Columbia in Washington were the other two). The fort served for 84 years, beginning with the Civil War and closing at the end of World War II. Today, Fort Stevens has grown into a 4,200 acre park offering exploration of history, nature, and recreational opportunities. And you can help fund historic programs and restoration at the park! The Friends of Old Fort Stevens will run Wood on Wheels this summer, selling and delivering firewood right to your site. Check it out when you arrive! Camping, beachcombing, freshwater lake swimming, trails, wildlife viewing, an historic shipwreck and an historic military area make Fort Stevens a uniquely diversified park. A network of nine miles of bicycle trails and six miles of hiking trails allow you to explore the park through spruce and hemlock forests, wetlands, dunes, and shore pine. Coffenbury Lake has two swimming areas, a picnic area, restrooms, and a boat ramp (10 mph boating speed limit). Two other smaller lakes offer boat ramps for fishing and canoeing. Throughout the year, you can browse through displays dating back to the Civil War at the museum, visit the only enclosed Civil War earthworks site on the west coast, and explore the gun batteries. During the summer, tour a rare 90-year old underground gun battery that served as a World War II command center, and take a truck tour of the fortifications spanning the Spanish-American War and World War II (tour available at a nominal charge).

 
 

Oswald West State Park

Step out of your vehicle and into a place with natural beauty that truly inspires. Just a quarter mile from any of the parking areas to the beach, yet the rigors of everyday life are stripped away by the time your feet hit the sand. Although the walk is short, there are several different trails to the beach that lead you to the Cape Falcon overlook or to the Oregon Coast Trail. Be sure to pick up a map on the way into the park. All of the trails to the beach are through a mature forest; one trail follows the winding path of the Short Sand creek. This trail gives way to the spectacular view of the ocean and the creek meeting. This is your first glimpse of the ocean and Short Sand Beach.  Located 20 minutes South of Seaside, Oswald West State Park features miles of trails that wind through old-growth coastal rainforests. Explore Cape Falcon, Short Sand Beach in Smugglers Cove, or cross a suspension bridge and hike 3.8 miles to the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain and view miles of Oregon coastline.

 
 

The Astoria Column

The Astoria Column has served for over 80 years as a beacon on the Pacific Northwest Coast. It sits in a wooded area 600 feet above sea level on Coxcomb Hill, Astoria, Oregon’s highest point. Majestic views of the countryside surrounding Astoria are the great Pacific Ocean to the west and the mighty Columbia River to the north. Snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise to the east and Saddle Mountain reaches to the sky on the southern horizon. The story behind the Column, its deterioration and rescue by the Friends of Astoria Column, rivals the history it depicts. Learn more about its past and become part of its future by highlighting the topics on the left side of this screen.

 
 

Sea Lions In Astoria

Sea Lions can often be found out on the docks, in Astoria and elsewhere in Oregon. Most likely you will find them at the East Mooring Basin, at the foot of 36th Street. You can hear them from the rooms in the nearby hotels.

 
 

Cullaby Lake

Clatsop county maintains two day use parks on Cullaby Lake, one half mile east of Hwy 101. Carnahan Park has 30 acres at the north end of the lake. Cullaby Lake Park is the site of the historic Eric Lindgren home. This 165 acre park has a boat ramp, restrooms, picnic shelters, and barbecue pits.

 
 

Del Rey Beach State Park

Ever wanted to drive on the beach ? In the good old days people used to use the beach to get from one town to another.  Motorized vehicles are allowed on the beach on this 10 mile stretch between Gearhart and Warenton. The road leads west to a large parking lot with vehicle access to the beach. Be sure to take along plenty of sand toys, buckets for collecting shells and small rocks that might wash up on shore, keep a lookout for seals and whales that frequent this area and make a day of it !

 
 

Hug Point State Park

This wayside just south of Cannon Beach provides easy beach access. Visitors can hike to a waterfall or walk along the original trail carved into the point by stagecoaches. The wayside was named after the trail because it hugs the point. Early wagons drawn by horses used this stretch of beach as it was the only way up the coast.  The park also includes two caves. Be alert for high tides if crossing this beach.
 
 
Ecola State Park & Haystack Rock Just 10 minutes south of Seaside, the beach community of Cannon Beach is known for its many art galleries and surrounding natural wonders. On the beach, Haystack Rock rises 235 feet above the shoreline, with fascinating tide pools at its base and observable puffins and seabirds nesting in spring and summer. At the north end of Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park. Take camera and binoculars to the viewpoint with views encompassing Crescent Beach, Bird Rocks, the town of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. The park offers several miles of hiking trails and vantage points for great bird watching or observing seasonal gray whale migrations. Ecola State Park is a day use facility and a fee is charged for entry.
 
 
Pacific Vista Drive Unforgettable vistas can be enjoyed at several waysides and viewpoints within 20 miles as you drive south of Seaside on Highway 101. Just south of Cannon Beach, a turnout at Silver Point offers views of the ocean, Haystack Rock and Tillamook Head. Farther on, you'll find the Arcadia Beach State Recreation Area beach access. A few minutes farther south investigate Hug Point where there is beach access, along with caves, a waterfall and a marvelous view. Just past the Arch Cape tunnel is Oswald West State Park, with viewpoints and hiking trails through scenic moss-covered forest to Short Sands Beach and rugged Cape Falcon. If you're not prone to vertigo, stop at several turnouts along the edge of Neahkahnie Mountain offering spectacular views of the coastline from hundreds of feet above the crashing surf.
 
 
Astoria & Columbia River History The historic seaport of Astoria on the Columbia River is the oldest United States settlement west of the Rockies. Located 18 miles north of Seaside, Astoria has a riverfront walk and a restored trolley that follows the historic waterfront district. Stop off at the Columbia River Maritime Museum to see excellent maritime displays and tour a real Coast Guard ship. Visit the Flavel House, a well-preserved Victorian mansion of a former sea captain. Follow the signs on Coxcomb Hill to the Astoria Column for fantastic views of the city, Youngs Bay and the mighty Columbia. Follow in the ­footsteps of the Lewis and Clark expedition at the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center just south of Astoria. Near Hammond, southwest of Astoria, Fort Stevens State Park, features the remains of the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach, a Clatsop Indian longhouse replica, historic military fortifications that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River and a military museum. The park also offers miles of biking and hiking trails.
 
Cape Disappointment & Lighthouses The Northwest's lighthouses are inspiring symbols of the region's rich maritime history. About an hour drive from Seaside, on the north side of the Columbia River, is Cape Disappointment, where two lighthouses mark the entrance to the river.
 
 
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (1856) is one of the Northwest's oldest structures and nearby is the North Head Lighthouse built in 1898. Both lighthouses are located in Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, Washington. Also located within the park is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center recounting the journey of the Corps of Discovery. 
 
Tillamook & Three Capes About an hour drive south of Seaside, you can visit the home of Tillamook Cheese. The Tillamook County Creamery features an extensive visitor center where you can learn about the ­history of the 100-year-old brand and sample famous Tillamook cheese, ice cream and fudge. If you'd like to make a full day's trip of it, head west to the Three Capes Scenic Route, where visitors can see the lighthouse at Cape Meares State Park, find day use beach access and hiking trails at beautiful Cape Lookout State Park and continue south to the sculpted sandstone headland of Cape Kiwanda before returning to highway 101. Just south of Tillamook is the Tillamook Air Museum. 
 
Mountains & Meadows About 18 miles east of Seaside is the Saddle Mountain State Natural Area off Highway 26, known for its rugged trail to the top of Saddle Mountain, offering expansive views of the Northwest. Spring and early summer seasons display colorful and diverse wildflowers, many unique to this area. Another side trip of interest is the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. The open pastures border a state highway, offering dependable viewing of herds of Roosevelt Elk during winter and spring. The main meadow is a year-round refuge. The wildlife area has two paved parking areas, four viewing areas and interpretive signs. Best chances of spotting herds are just after daylight and again in the early evening. Columbia River Eco Tours:www.columbiariverecotours.com View Astoria’s historic waterfront from the decks of the Christina Cousteau, a 40’ Tollycraft Yacht with heated cabin and restroom facilities.
 
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