Category Archives: Washington Coast

Best Of 2015!

Here is our list of the top hikes we did in 2015!

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side): *Tunnel Falls* We love the Eagle Creek Trail and this year we finally made it all the way out to Tunnel Falls. We definitely weren’t disappointed!

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Columbia River Gorge (Washington side): *Strawberry Island* This was a nice secluded hike that had amazing views of the Gorge and lots of birds.

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Mt. Hood: *Zigzag Canyon* This hike is absolutely beautiful. You get amazing views of Mt. Hood all throughout the hike. We did this hike in late June and the Lupine were in full bloom!

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Oregon Coast: *Bayocean Spit* Who doesn’t love a hike that’s right on the beach?

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Washington Coast: *North Head Lighthouse* You can actually go up in this lighthouse. The views are great!

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Portland Metro/Outer Portland: *Oak Island* This is one of our favorite hikes on Sauvie Island, the place is covered with cows!

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Washington: *Lacamas Creek (Camas Lily Fields)* Go here in the spring when the lilies are blooming, it’s very pretty!

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Willamette Valley: *Abiqua Falls* This waterfall is becoming more and more popular and we definitely understand why. It’s not the easiest waterfall to reach, but it’s definitely worth the scramble.

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Central Oregon: *Smith Rock* We absolutely love this place. There is so much to see you almost need more than one day.

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Kayaking: *Scappoose Bay* This was the first place we took our new kayak. There’s lots of places to explore here.

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*Overall best hike of 2015*

Painted Hills!

Hands-down the most interesting place we’ve ever been to. The colors are beautiful and the views up at Carroll Rim are amazing! We HIGHLY recommend this hike!

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Honorable Mentions: *Lower Twin Lake, Youngs River Falls, Lost Lake (hike and kayak), Tom McCall Nature Preserve (go in the spring!), and The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.*

We’d love to hear what some of your favorite hikes of 2015 were!

Wishing everyone happy hiking in 2106!

North Head Lighthouse (Summer)

Directions: From Astoria, Oregon cross the bridge and take a left onto Highway 101. Follow 101 into Ilwaco and then follow signs for Loop 100/Cape Disappointment/North Head. There will be signs directing you to North Head Lighthouse.

This hike starts at the end of the parking area and you have three choices for how you want to start the hike. Heading to the left takes you straight down to the lighthouse, going straight will take you to the three keepers quarters and gift shop (as well as to the lighthouse), and going right will take you up to a viewpoint.

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We chose to start this hike by going straight and seeing the keeper’s quarters first. Follow the signs for the gift shop and you’ll soon be on a gravel path that takes you right in front of the three buildings. The trail continues on past the gift shop and down around the cliff edge dropping you at the lighthouse. DSC_0095This is one of our favorite lighthouses because you can actually go up in it. You must be 7 years of age or older and not wearing open toe shoes. It’s free for anyone 7-17 and $2.50 per person 18 and older. They allow 8 people up at a time. You get to walk the spiral staircase up to the top and there is a volunteer up there with information about the lighthouse. The views are great and it’s a nice picture taking opportunity.

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DSC_0092      DSC_0106We then took the other path back out, it’s wide, paved and well maintained. It takes you gradually uphill back to the parking area. Finally, we took the trail up to the viewpoint. It’s paved as well and you’ll pass by a water tower and an old bunker. The trail ends at a deck with great views of the ocean. DSC_0128

Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 100 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: We love that you can go in the lighthouse and you can’t beat the views on the trails.

Cape Disappointment (Summer)

Directions: From Astoria, Oregon cross the bridge and take a left onto Highway 101. Follow 101 into Ilwaco and then follow signs for Loop 100 and Cape Disappointment. There are signs directing you to the lighthouse.

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This hike starts at the parking area for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The paved trail starts at the end of the parking area. The path starts out uphill as you switchback once and end up at the Battery Harvey Allen bunker. It’s worth the quick side trip to wander around and check out the bunker. Once you’re finished exploring the bunker continue on the paved path that skirts around the interpretive center. Keep walking to the end of the paved path where you pick up a dirt and gravel trail that takes you into a wooded area.

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Once you’re back in the trees the trail starts heading downhill gradually as you wind you’re way around Dead Man’s Cove. Soon you’ll come to a sign marking a viewpoint for the cove or directing you left for the lighthouse. Stay heading towards the lighthouse and the trail will drop you at an access road used by the Coast Guard. Follow this road uphill, at some points pretty steeply, and you’ll soon reach the lighthouse.

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There is a little Coast Guard building in front of the lighthouse where they watch the Columbia River bar. The lighthouse isn’t in the best shape but it’s still pretty. It’s only used by the Coast Guard, so there’s no access for the general public.

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Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This isn’t the best lighthouse in the Cape Disappointment area and in our opinion not worth the $10 fee. It’s a good side trip if you’ve already purchased a day pass for other places in the area (like North Head Lighthouse).