After a spell behind the wheel of your RV, it’s always good to stretch your legs and move the body. If you’re driving the Oregon stretch of Highway 101, there are a lot of places to pull over for a rest. However, a short hike is often the best remedy for hours of driving, and easily accessible hikes can be found on the Tillamook Coast.
This 70-mile stretch along rivers, bays, oceans and forests offers access to three hikes with parking areas that can accommodate RVs. One includes the payoff of a gushing waterfall, one takes you by a lighthouse, and yet another offers a view unspoiled by civilization.
Munson Creek Falls
If ever there was a leg-stretch of less than a mile worth taking, this is it. The stroll to Munson Creek Falls is set among massive old-growth western red cedars and Sitka spruce that literally drip with moss and lichen. The falls are 319 feet of three-tiered, awe-inspiring, cascade goodness. Munson Creek is the tallest waterfall in the Coast Range and perhaps the tallest in the state, west of the Willamette River. To get there, travel south of the Tillamook Air Museum on Hwy. 101 and look for signs to turn east. Parking is easy, although the road is a bit narrow in places.
Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint
This viewpoint is situated on a headland more than 200 feet above the ocean. There are three miles of hiking trails and a mile-long walking trail. A visit to the lighthouse at Cape Meares would be motivation enough, but hikers will also revel in the stunning ocean views (where you can spot whales during their twice-yearly migration), a stand of stately old-growth spruce, and the enigmatic Octopus Tree. The viewpoint and lighthouse can be reached by taking Hwy. 131 through Netarts to Oceanside and following the signs to Cape Meares.
Kilchis Point Reserve
The hike through Kilchis Point Reserve may rate on the easier end of the hiking scale, but the payoff is nothing short of spectacular. This 200-acre reserve along Tillamook Bay is a dedicated county heritage area, and is home to one of the largest Native American village sites on the Oregon Coast. The first loop of the trail is paved and wheelchair-friendly, and includes interpretive trail signs. If you continue on to the end of the trail, you’ll look out on a view that is much the same as the native people once enjoyed. And if you’re an avid birdwatcher, this is the place to be. Kilchis Point is in Bay City, north of Tillamook.
The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum owns the property, and its director, Gary Albright said, “I’ve had people cry, come out here and cry about the beauty of it. It really is something that touches people’s hearts.”
There are a number of RV parks in the area including Tillamook Bay City RV Park and Pleasant Valley RV Park. RV camping is also available at Camp Lookout State Park.