Elowah Falls

North­west Ore­gon includes three coun­ties: Clat­sop, Tillam­ook, and Colum­bia. Each one has large spaces ded­i­cat­ed to remain­ing wild, and avid hik­ers can eas­i­ly find many enjoy­able, scenic hik­ing routes. Here are five of the best short hik­ing routes in North­west Oregon.

The Clat­sop Spit Loop Hike
This 4.6‑mile hike winds along a beau­ti­ful beach, so you’ll be treat­ed to stun­ning views of the ocean and sea­side wildlife. This includes Caspi­an terns, brown pel­i­cans, and dou­ble-crest­ed cor­morants, so it’s ide­al for hik­ers who also enjoy a bit of bird watch­ing. The hike trav­els down the long beach before loop­ing back, and as the route isn’t too hilly or steep, it is a fair­ly relax­ing walk with lots of beau­ti­ful views. It is worth not­ing that the route can be pret­ty windy so you may want to bring your wind­break­er along.

Kings Mountains

The Elk Hike in the Kings Mountains
There are two dif­fer­ent hikes to two choose from in the Kings, but one is much short­er. If you cov­er both moun­tains it’s about a 12-mile loop, so this trek should be avoid­ed if you are look­ing for a short hike. Instead, you can fol­low the Elk Moun­tain hike path as this route is only 3.2 miles long, so you can eas­i­ly com­plete the whole hike in an after­noon. How­ev­er you should be aware that this is fair­ly intense for a short hike; most of the jour­ney takes place up a steep hill, and the ter­rain is very bumpy and rocky!

The Mosier Plateau Hike
The Mosier Plateau hike begins at Mosier, an East­ern Gorge town filled with nat­ur­al beau­ty. The hike is around three miles long, and it fol­lows the creek right up to the Mosier Plateau, a place with stun­ning views of the falls and the canyon walls. This is a fun, leisure­ly hike that starts in a pub­lic place before head­ing out into nature, so it is ide­al for peo­ple who want to stop for a drink or some food before they begin. There are also lots of cool things to look out for as you hike, includ­ing wild­flow­ers in spring and bald eagles in Jan­u­ary. You can even take a break to swim in the creek if the weath­er is warm enough.

Elowah Falls

Elowah Falls Hike
The Elowah Falls hike may be the last hike on this list, but it is still one of the best hikes in Ore­gon. The hike is less than a mile long, but expect to see canyons, forests, and water­falls dur­ing this time, as well as lots of beau­ti­ful birds. The hike also ends at a giant amphithe­ater made from stone, and this is the per­fect place to sit down and enjoy a pic­nic. It may only be a short hike, but it is ide­al for fam­i­lies with chil­dren and beginners—and the views are def­i­nite­ly worth the trip.

The Steiger­wald NWR Hike
This hike takes place along the Gib­bons Creek Wildlife Art Trail, and any­one who choos­es to do this hike will be reward­ed with scenic views of the for­est and water­falls. The 2.2‑mile hike fol­lows a flat path that winds through the for­est, and you may spot geese, wood­peck­ers, owls, and great blue herons as you hike. The area is peace­ful and relax­ing, but be aware that the route is closed between Octo­ber and April.

outdoor organization oregon

outdoor organization oregonAlmost every­one who loves the out­doors as an adult spent time out­side as a kid. If we don’t get kids out­side, and away from their com­put­er screens and phones, all of the out­doors will suf­fer in the future. Here are five local orga­ni­za­tions that get kids out­side in nature and that need and deserve your support.

Friends of Out­door School
For thou­sands of kids in Ore­gon, a week of Out­door School is a life-chang­ing rit­u­al: learn about ecol­o­gy for a week while stay­ing at camp on the coast or in the Cas­cades dur­ing their for­ma­tive mid­dle-school years. When Out­door School bud­get cuts made Out­door School a priv­i­lege for kids from well-off school dis­tricts, Friends of Out­door School stepped in to fight for fund­ing to send every kid to Out­door School. Fund­ing for Out­door School passed by an over­whelm­ing land­slide in 2016, and they’re con­tin­u­ing the work.

The Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Association
A nation­al orga­ni­za­tion, the Stu­dent Con­ser­va­tion Asso­ci­a­tion is to out­door careers what Out­door School is to lov­ing nature. By plac­ing high school stu­dents, gap years, col­lege stu­dents and recent grad­u­ates in out­door intern­ships and jobs—from build­ing trails to col­lect­ing data on wildlife and teach­ing young kids—that often lead to out­door jobs and careers.

Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Council
Most North­west­ern­ers live in cities, and we need to get kids out­side where they live. The Colum­bia Slough Water­shed Coun­cil helps peo­ple redis­cov­er one of Portland’s most forgotten—and sur­pris­ing­ly wildlife-rich—waterways, via canoe­ing, hik­ing in parks and urban wildlife refuges, and catch­ing bugs and oth­er crit­ters. They’re a great exam­ple of many oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that help kids find nature around them every day.

The African Amer­i­can Out­door Association
In the Pacif­ic North­west, access to nature has unfor­tu­nate­ly been found to be lim­it­ed by income and racial dis­par­i­ties. Get­ting to the moun­tains or the rivers requires trans­porta­tion out of the city, time off from jobs, and some­one who knows the outdoors—all of which are eas­i­er when you have finan­cial secu­ri­ty. The African Amer­i­can Out­door Asso­ci­a­tion tries to break this cycle, pro­vid­ing fam­i­ly out­ings for Portland’s African Amer­i­can community.

Port­land Audubon Society
Housed on the edge of For­est Park, the Port­land Audubon Soci­ety is prob­a­bly best known for either the Wildlife Care Cen­ter, where they reha­bil­i­tate injured wild ani­mals, or advo­ca­cy on behalf of wildlife habi­tat. But they also run edu­ca­tion pro­grams that take kids out­side in urban areas, bring nature into class­rooms, train teach­ers, and teach adults about the nat­ur­al world.

Shi Shi Beach

From Sun­set Cliffs to Cape Ara­go, some of the best hik­ing trails run along the coasts of Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton. Here are sev­en must-hike trails along the West­ern coast.

Shi Shi BeachShi Shi Beach, Washington 
The hike on this beach could be one of the most gor­geous walks you will ever take. Sit­u­at­ed on the Wash­ing­ton coast, this stretch of sand fea­tures tide pools, sea stacks, and head­lands, all sur­round­ed by coastal forests. This eight-mile hike round trip starts at the trail­head near the fish hatch­ery on a new­ly refur­bished part of the trail. You’ll even­tu­al­ly cross bridges and board­walks as you descend deep­er into the Olympic Nation­al For­est, Even­tu­al­ly, the sand will dis­perse. After walk­ing anoth­er mile you will arrive at Point of Arch­es, a mile-long parade of rocky sea stacks. Be sure to check in at the ranger sta­tion for park­ing and permits.

Ecola State ParkEco­la State Park, Oregon
This Ore­gon State Park has a net­work of trails includ­ing an eight-mile seg­ment of the Ore­gon Coast Trail, and a two-and-a-half-mile his­tor­i­cal inter­pre­tive route called the Clat­sop Loop Trail. Whichev­er you choose, you’ll encounter tide pools, surfers, elk, bald eagles and drift­wood bleached white by the sun and the salt water. Views are breath­tak­ing and be sure to watch out for migrat­ing whales in the win­ter and spring.

Lost Coast, CaliforniaThe Lost Coast, California
The Lost Coast is so named because of the dif­fi­cul­ty of putting a road through, and even walk­ing over the cliffs and the beach below is a slow-go. For­tu­nate­ly, there are some trails along the coast­line that will get you down to the beach where the sand is both soft and rocky at points. The trail stretch­es 25 miles, from Mat­tole Beach in the north to the vil­lage of Shel­ter Cove in the south. You can walk small stretch­es of the trail in an after­noon or grab your back­pack and take your time. Be sure to watch the tides and the weath­er, because both can put a damper on your hike if you don’t pay attention.

Point ReyesPoint Reyes Nation­al Seashore, California
Just a 90-minute dri­ve from the city of San Fran­cis­co in near­by Marin Coun­ty is Point Reyes Nation­al Seashore. After cross­ing the Gold­en Gate Bridge, you’ll find your­self wind­ing through farm­land with dairy cows and folks sell­ing organ­ic milk by the side of the road. All along the road the trails are marked, and there are plen­ty of them; the nation­al seashore has about 150 miles of hik­ing trails, so there’s a path for every lev­el of hik­er. If you’re up to it, con­sid­er hik­ing the Toma­les Bay Eco­log­i­cal Reserve, a 9.5‑mile trail with 482 acres of salt marsh and tidal flats con­sist­ing of pick­le­weed, arrow grass, gum plant, salt­bush, and salt grass, as well as plen­ty of birds includ­ing Osprey. This is only one of the trails at the nation­al seashore, so if you have a month to wan­der the shores of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, this is the place to be.

Salt Point Bluffs State ParkSalt Point Bluffs Bluffs State Park, California
The panoram­ic views of this 20-mile trail will take your breath away. Pound­ing surf, mas­sive kelp beds, and open grass­land forests can be enjoyed by hik­ing, horse­back rid­ing, and camp­ing. The trail boasts six miles of rugged coastal trails that lead to the ocean. Sand­stone from these bluffs were used to make the streets of San Fran­cis­co back in the 1800s. The weath­er in San Fran­cis­co is always unpre­dictable, and even more so along this trail, so pack for cold and wet weath­er even if the sun is shin­ing as you set out for your hike.

Cape FlatteryCape Flat­tery, Washington
This trail is found at the fur­thest north­west tip of the con­tigu­ous Unit­ed States and is a won­der to behold. It starts on a grav­el road, and quick­ly leads into a for­est and then onto a board­walk so that hik­ers won’t be stuck in the mud. Make sure you check in at Washburn’s gen­er­al store for a per­mit, which is run by the Makah Tribe. This area is one of the most pop­u­lar on Wash­ing­ton State’s Olympic Penin­su­la and this trail, while short at 1.5 miles, is worth run­ning into a few oth­er hik­ers to enjoy this coastal beauty.

Tillamook HeadTillam­ook Head, Oregon
Like many trails in this area, the Lewis and Clark expe­di­tion was here and the men were awestruck by the grandeur of the Pacif­ic North­west. Upon arriv­ing at Tillam­ook Trail, Clark mar­veled, “I behold the grand­est and most pleas­ing prospect which my eyes ever sur­veyed.” For the best hikes at Tillam­ook Head, it’s best to start at the Indi­an Beach pic­nic area, which is clear­ly marked. After walk­ing 1.2 miles, you will find an area for back­pack­ers with open sided shel­ters and bunk beds. You will also pass a World War II bunker cov­ered in dark green moss, and even­tu­al­ly, end at an aban­doned light­house nick­named “Ter­ri­ble Tilly.” You can return the same way, fol­low­ing some switch­backs that will take you past Clark’s favorite viewpoint.

oregon trail

oregon trailOre­gon is a mag­nif­i­cent state with so many fan­tas­tic hik­ing spots. If you want to get out of the house this week­end to do some hik­ing, we’ve got your back. Here are six of the best week­end hik­ing treks in Ore­gon, includ­ing trails that take a few hours and trails that will require an overnight stay.

Mount Jef­fer­son
Mount Jef­fer­son is one of the most famous hik­ing spots in Ore­gon, and it offers a few dif­fer­ent routes that are per­fect for a week­end wan­der. Most of the trails link via the PCT, so it’s fair­ly easy to try more than one route if you fancy.

There are some routes you might want to avoid dur­ing the week­end due to how busy they are. One of the most pop­u­lar areas is Jef­fer­son Park where vis­i­tors can camp near the lakes, so it’s always very busy.

Some good trails to check out are at Opel Creek Wilder­ness, as they start near swim­ming holes and con­tin­ue to qui­eter forests where you can camp. You can also check out the trails at Serene and Rock Lakes, but make sure to bring mos­qui­to repel­lent dur­ing the warmer months.

Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge
The Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge has trails that take at least eight hours to com­plete, but there are also short­er trails that are per­fect for an afternoon—watch out as of late for­est fires have been active in the area.

Three Sis­ters
The Three Sis­ters are seri­ous­ly impres­sive peaks, boast­ing sights such as beau­ti­ful alpine lakes at the foot of giant vol­ca­noes. There’s no short­age of trails at the Three Sis­ters that are per­fect for a week­end hike, includ­ing a fun overnight trip that starts at the Bend, goes through Green Lakes, and includes a camp­ing area beneath the South Sister.

oregon trail

Mount Hood
One of the best overnight hik­ing treks in Ore­gon is The Salmon Riv­er Trail at Mount Hood. The trail is filled with beau­ti­ful views, includ­ing old growth forests and rivers. Many camp­ing spots along the trail allow you to make it overnight. This hik­ing trail is also great for fam­i­lies as it isn’t too con­sis­tent­ly stren­u­ous or challenging.

East­ern Oregon
East­ern Ore­gon con­tains one of the best hik­ing treks in the state…and only 6 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion live there, so the hik­ing routes are very qui­et and peace­ful. One great week­end hik­ing trails you can find in East­ern Ore­gon is the Elkhorn Crest Trail, which trav­els through ancient forests and around icy blue moun­tain lakes. This hike will give you a real sense of soli­tude, so it’s per­fect for any­one who wants to get away from the rat race for a few days.

Wal­lowas
The Wal­lowas are found in North­east Ore­gon, with lim­it­less vis­tas of beau­ti­ful peaks and alpine lakes to explore. Some of the hikes here can take days and are chal­leng­ing, but there’s also a fan­tas­tic overnight week­end trail at Glac­i­er Lake that won’t break your back. The trail is 13 miles long with breath­tak­ing views of the peaks and the lakes—and a few camp­ing spots you can choose from to set up base­camp. How­ev­er, it’s worth not­ing that you may be shar­ing the trail with horse packers.

While most peo­ple are spend­ing their win­ters cozied up inside wait­ing for the world to thaw, surfers in the Pacif­ic North­west are head­ing out to Nelscott Reef, an off­shore break in Ore­gon so mas­sive peo­ple jour­ney around the globe to surf it.

It’s no secret that the west coast has some of the best ski­ing and surf­ing in the Unit­ed States. Year round you can find snow high up in the glaciat­ed peaks of the Cas­cades and Sierra’s, along with waves break­ing from North­ern Wash­ing­ton to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. I have been ski­ing since the age of 3 and start­ed surf­ing about 9 months ago after mov­ing to Port­land, Ore­gon. Life used to be sim­ple when all I had to think about was chas­ing win­ter storms, but now when the snow and swell hit at the same time it leaves me with a tough deci­sion: head east to the moun­tains, or west to the coast. With the first win­ter storms already bring­ing heavy snow and pow­er­ful swell into the Pacif­ic North­west, I decid­ed to for­go the all or noth­ing approach. Instead, I’ve been doing my best to pack in both ski­ing and surf­ing adven­tures every week­end. Head­ing direct­ly from the coast to Cas­cades and vice-ver­sa. Here are a few of my tips on catch­ing waves and snow in the same day.

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The Go-Bag

When a storm is hit­ting and you are try­ing to squeeze in two out­door activ­i­ties on the same day, you don’t have time to wor­ry about mak­ing sure you packed all of the right gear. Have a bag ready with all of your camp­ing essen­tials, a bag with your ski gear, and a bag with your surf gear. This way whether you’re dip­ping out of work ear­ly on a Fri­day or play­ing hooky dur­ing the week, you’ll be ready to quick­ly hop in your car and hit the road. Try to keep it min­i­mal with camp­ing gear. You don’t want to wor­ry about unpack­ing and repack­ing unnec­es­sary items. A sleep­ing bag, sleep­ing pad, camp pil­low, down jack­et, head­lamp, spork, small stove, jug of water, and a few dehy­drat­ed meals is real­ly all you need to make it through the night and morning.

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Mois­ture Management

Coastal and high-ele­va­tion weath­er can be very tem­pera­men­tal. It’s often a fine line between snow and rain. Dress in tech­ni­cal lay­ers for the moun­tain and bring along your neo­prene booties and gloves to go with your wet­suit. At some point you are going to have a damp wet­suit along with sweaty out­er­wear and base­lay­ers. My rec­om­men­da­tion is to bring a large wet/dry bag or a cheap plas­tic bin with you on all of your trips. After you are done surf­ing or ski­ing toss your dirty, wet, and stinky items into your bag/bin so they don’t drip in your car or all over your dry gear. Rinse, wash, and dry your gear right when you get home to pre­serve its lifes­pan and so it’s ready for your next trip.

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Tech­nol­o­gy Is Your Friend

At some point you need to make the deci­sion whether to head to the coast or moun­tain first. Yes, fore­casts can be a flop and weath­er can unex­pect­ed­ly change, but there are a lot of weath­er apps and web­sites ded­i­cat­ed to surfers and skiers. I use OpenSnow.com and PowderChasers.com for snow fore­casts. I use SurfLine.com and MagicSeaweed.com for surf­ing. Tides, snow lev­els, road con­di­tions, swell direc­tion, and winds are just some of the impor­tant fac­tors when decid­ing where to head first. It does­n’t hurt to edu­cate your­self on some mete­o­rol­o­gy terms either.

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Choos­ing Where To Camp

If you’re any­thing like me you get your fix of city life dur­ing the week. Get out of the city for a few nights and sleep at either the moun­tain or coast the night before you plan to ski or surf. There is noth­ing worse than being stuck in traf­fic on a pow­der day, and in my opin­ion noth­ing beats wak­ing up, hav­ing a quick cup of cof­fee, and being the first one into the water or on the moun­tain. There is no point in pay­ing for a camp­site (if they are even open), espe­cial­ly when you don’t plan on hang­ing around in the morn­ing. If you are car camp­ing at the coast your best bet is to come in late and leave ear­ly. Whether you choose to park on an old log­ging road, in an aban­doned park­ing lot, or chance it in a state park park­ing lot is up to you. At the moun­tain you have few­er options. Your best bet is prob­a­bly to sleep in your car, and sur­pris­ing­ly there are a grow­ing num­ber of ski areas that allow overnight park­ing. That being said, one of the best sun­ris­es of my life was the morn­ing after sleep­ing halfway up Mount Hood. I’ve also slept in a jan­i­tors clos­et and a cafe­te­ria at var­i­ous ski areas. Be cre­ative and remem­ber, igno­rance is bliss.

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Bring A Friend, Or Two

I do not rec­om­mend ven­tur­ing out on a sea to sum­mit adven­ture by your­self. Friends will make it a more mem­o­rable and safer expe­ri­ence. Long dri­ves by your­self can get lone­ly and dan­ger­ous when you are exhaust­ed after a long day of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. Try to lim­it the group size to 3 or 4 so you can main­tain some lev­el of stealth when camp­ing and so you can fit into one car. Before extend­ing an invi­ta­tion to a friend, make sure they are ready and will­ing to take on the adven­ture. Inclement weath­er camp­ing, alpine starts, and cold water are not for every­one. Final­ly, make sure they have the right gear. You don’t want them to slow down the group or get injured. It’s an added bonus to take a friend with you that is a skilled photographer.

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In Sum­ma­ry

These are just a few things I have learned dur­ing my trips between the coast and moun­tains. Do your research on where you plan to stay and know the risks asso­ci­at­ed with ski­ing, surf­ing, and camp­ing in inclement weath­er and the back­coun­try. You don’t need to spend a lot of mon­ey to have an epic week­end of ski­ing and surf­ing, you just need ded­i­ca­tion and the abil­i­ty to go a few days with­out show­er­ing. If you haven’t already skied and surfed in the same day, I high­ly rec­om­mend it. Just remem­ber to have fun, the rest will work itself out.

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Writ­ten by Kyle Mag­gy     |     Film Pho­tog­ra­phy by Nate Duffy


 

In 1971 five men from Port­land, Ore­gon head­ed out to the Deschutes Riv­er in cen­tral Ore­gon for what they called “a cheatin’ death affair.”

They planned to descend the Deschutes River’s most for­mi­da­ble obsta­cle; a 14-foot water­fall called Sher­ars Falls, in a raft of tied togeth­er inner tubes.

Sher­ars Falls is not just anoth­er rapid on the riv­er known for its class III and IV thrills. It’s a manda­to­ry portage where the entire­ty of the mus­cu­lar riv­er plunges head­long over a cliff.  Native Amer­i­cans have erect­ed wood­en gang­planks over the churn­ing pool of water to dip net for salmon. And many res­i­dents in the town of Maupin, which lines the Deschutes’ banks, have heard the sto­ries of hap­less adven­tur­ers who have tempt­ed fate along the riv­er only to nev­er be seen again.

Drop­ping the falls in a kayak might be pos­si­ble, but on a flotil­la of inner tubes?

Watch this vin­tage video that cap­tures the essence of fool­hardy adventurers.

The ultra-inno­v­a­tive gang over at Shwood con­tin­ue to push the line between design and nature.

Mak­ing the most of what was around them, Eric Singer and Joe Bletcha teamed up to build a ful­ly func­tion­al surf­board using only wood scraps found around the Ore­gon Coast.

Check out a lit­tle surf­board build­ing 101 as Shwood encour­ages oth­ers to “Exper­i­ment With Nature.”

Film by Joe Stevens.

[Via: Exper­i­ment With Nature]

Now Hiring- Where to Move to Work in the Outdoors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s every enthu­si­ast’s dream, to get paid to do what we pay to do. Park rangers, advo­ca­cy direc­tors, con­ser­van­cy plan­ners, brand mar­keters, and on and on. The out­door indus­try rep­re­sents a mas­sive amount of employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties if you know where to look for them. To get your dream job, you’ve got to go where the dreams live. Below is a list of the best places in the coun­try for out­door indus­try jobs. Con­tin­ue read­ing