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Camping on the Oregon Coast June 1, 2010

Posted by stacyb17 in Excursions.
Tags: , , , ,
Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast (photo Slone)

The plan was to mix backpacking and car camping on the Oregon Coast this weekend. We were going to start at Cape Lookout on Thursday and hike to Sand Lake to camp. Friday we were going to hike to Pacific City and meet some friends for two nights of car camping. It didn’t exactly work out that way.


We ended up getting a late start on Thursday because I had an interview, but we figured there is daylight until about 9 PM now. We arrived at Cape Lookout just after 5 PM and drove to the trailhead. Unfortunately the parking at the trailhead is day use only. So we went to the campground to see about paying to leave the car there until Friday evening. They will not let you leave a car there unless you pay for a campsite. And due to the holiday weekend, all camp sites were booked from Friday through Sunday. And the rangers told us there was “nowhere in Tillamook County” we could leave the car to do the hike.

I am going to take a moment to rant here. All of the campgrounds along the coast, including Cape Lookout, have hiker/biker sites available at a discounted rate for those who leave the vehicles and backpack or cycle from campground to campground. And the Oregon State Parks site has a map of the backpacking route down the coast. How are you supposed to backpack if you cannot leave the car anywhere?

We started talking about where we should car camp that night to figure out the plan for the following day when it came to light that my friend had left her backpack in her garage in Beaverton. And that had our only tent as well as the stove and all of her gear. So I “camped out” in her guest bedroom in Beaverton.

Friday morning we drove to Pacific City and did a day hike. We were going to try and hike up to Cape Lookout and have our friends pick us up on their way out. But we hit Sand Lake at high tide and were unable to ford it without getting completely soaked so we just did an out and back. We met our friends in the evening at the Pelican Pub. We had the sampler of all the beers. The beers were not bad, but nothing to write home about (despite the impressive collection of medals that line the walls of the pub). The location is terrific though. We sat next to the window overlooking the beach and Haystack Rock (the other Haystack Rock- not the world’s third largest free standing monolith which is off Canon Beach).  The food was a bit pricy so we waited to cook dinner until we returned to our campsite.

We camped on Friday night at Webb Park Campground. The park is super convenient if you want to explore Pacific City. It is located right across the street from the Pelican Pub and a few blocks from the main downtown area. However, the sites are tiny and the park itself has a trailer park feel to it. I was not a fan and probably will not camp there again.

Saturday we did a day hike to the south down to Cape Kiwanda. We went back to the Pelican to meet another friend and I tried the clam chowder which was quite good. Then we made our way about 10 miles north to Whalen Island to camp for the night. The campground at Whalen Island was much nicer than Webb. The sites are not all on top of each other and you feel like you actually have a little space. The campground is spread out as well. There is a nice walking trail that goes around the island and is adjacent to the campground- we hiked it on Sunday morning. Note that camping on the coast gets rather pricy if you have more than one tent or vehicle. They all charge $20 a night per site (with an additional $5 reservation fee if you reserve in advance) and then charge $5 per extra tent and $3 per extra vehicle.

All in all it was a great way to spend the holiday weekend. Good people, outdoors, some exercise, s’mores, beer, and a nice fireside BBQ on Saturday night. The rain was sporadic and light which helped as well. I am definitely excited for summer when I plan to be outside every weekend. Hooray summer in Oregon!



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