Top five hikes to watch winter storms on the coast


Want to find a great place to watch winter storms? The Oregon Coast has some of the best views. Here are five hikes worth trying, put together by Willamette Week:

Fort Stevens State Park:

For Stevens was once a military defense installation, from the Civil War through World War II. Now it’s a 4,300-acre park with a military museum, historic fort, biking and hiking trails. The South Jetty Observation Deck can be dangerous in the winter, but has some great views for storm-watching.

Among the hikes is one along the beach where you’ll find remains of a shipwreck.

Ecola State Park:

Visit Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach to watch storms batter Tillamook Rock Light, the lighthouse on a rock in the middle of the ocean. Take the 2.5-mil Clatsop Loop Trail starting at Indian Beach trailhead. You’ll pass through a forest of Sitka until reaching Hikers Camp and more WWII bunkers, where you’ll have a view of the lighthouse Oregonians also call “Terrible Tilly.”

Oswald West State Park:

There are two viewpoints you can hike to at Oswald West State Park. Neahkahnie is more popular but Cape Falcon lets you visit a forest of Sitka spruce and western red cedar. Cape Falcon also will treat you to great views of the ocean along the Neahkahnie Mountain and Smugglers Cove.

Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint:

Another view of a lighthouse in a storm makes this hike even more dramatic. There are plenty of overlooks at the 240-acre park as well, and over three miles of hiking trails. Near the main parking area is where you can start on a short trail to the lighthouse.

Cascade Head Preserve:

The lower trailhead at Knight Park, open year round, takes you through a coastal forest of Douglas fir and Sitka spruce. Be prepared for a climb, as there are a steep set of stairs before continuing along a trail with a few footbridges until reaching the headland meadow with views of the ocean, the Salmon River Estuary and Lincoln City’s Devil’s Lake.

Do you have a coastal hike to recommend? Let the Oregon Forests Forever community know, and share your pictures for #PhotoFriday!