STATE PARKS AND WAYSIDES are part of the charm of this neighborhood. Adjoining Nehalem Point is Nehalem Bay State Park on the ocean side of Nehalem spit. There are camp sites for tents or recreational vehicles and a community of yurts which have long waiting lists of weekenders wanting to try this old-new idea in camping. Up highway 101 you can hike from the parking lot of Oswald West State Park to a delightful beach called Short Sand or, at one time, Smugglers Cove. This park has overnight campgrounds, carved out of the forest, and miles of spectacular trails to Cape Falcon, Neahkahnie Falls and on up to the peak of Neahkahnie mountain.
GREAT GREEN FORESTS are everywhere and you are overwhelmed with the many shades of green surrounding you. There are stands of spruce, cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir and shore pine, interspersed with alder, salal, huckleberries, rhododendrons, blackberries, elderberry, wild strawberries, salmon berries, and a large variety of mushrooms. The coastal rivers and streams are inhabited by anadromous fish—coho, chinook, chum and pink salmon and steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout are prized by fishermen.
SOME CALL IT SHORT SAND BEACH, others know it as Oswald West State Park. Old timers call it Smugglers' Cove. Whichever name, it's a magic place. Most people get there by car, only about four miles from Nehalem Point, with lots of parking spots. If your legs are in good shape you'll see more if you hike along Highway 101 around the view points from Neahkahnie Mountain, down through the meadow above the cliffs and into the park. Once there, you have a choice of two trails down to the cove. Each is spectacular. The one to the south serves the overnight camping area. The north trail reaches the beach along a wondrous stream. The trails are easy and well surfaced with good footing for walkers of all ages. Take your swim suits. There's a pond for youngsters and a perfect little beach for body surfing, board surfing, swimming or wading. Other trails toward the north take off in many directions. The climb to Cape Falcon is worth the small effort.
THE PARK NAMED OSWALD WEST was to honor an early Oregon governor who advocated that all the beaches in Oregon belonged to the people, and that access should be made available to all. The name Smugglers Cove came from the days of Prohibition when rum runners tied up in the small bay and left their cargo to be picked up by accomplices on land. Today fishing boats often take harbor there and spend the night sheltered from the wide, open seas. During the years of President Lyndon Johnson a congregation of laid-back flower children built a temporary colony along the beach. Their Peter Pan-like structures were made of driftwood and ingeniously designed. Each housing unit had appropriate names, one being called "L. B. J. Ranch". At summer's end they were requested to dismantle their summer shacks and leave. Where are these young beach people now? On the way back there is a trail which will take you up the north side of Neahkahnie mountain to the peak and back down on the south side to Highway 101. From Neahkahnie mountain the view is spectacular- on a clear day you can see forever.
NEAHKAHNIE MOUNTAIN is the real treasure of this area and at least five generations of Oregonian families who love it have climbed to its summit. Wait for that beautiful, clear day, grab your hat and camera, and go! About 3 miles north of Nehalem Point on Highway 101 there is a trail marker on the right. You can drive in and park your car near the trail head. But don't ever be tempted to climb the cliffs from the sea up! The cliffs, beaten by centuries of raging waves can crumble beneath you. Unfortunate and unknowing climbers have fallen, been pulled up by ropes or picked off by helicopter. So climb the safe amiable trail at your own pace, and enjoy. You can take the kids and grandmother, too. The view is breathtaking. During World War II, a Coast Guard post watched from the top for invaders. The beach below was patrolled by guards on horseback and huge blimps from the Tillamook air base toured the coast. All is peaceful today. Photos of the past can be seen at the Air Museum in Tillamook.
Two large and outstanding Oregon State Parks, for day
use, boating, windsurfing, hiking or camping:
|Nehalem Bay State Park||Oswald West State Park|
83000 3rd St Necarney, Nehalem, OR 97131; (503)368-5154 or 5943. South of Hwy 101, a couple miles south of Manzanita on Oregon 91s North Coast. The Park is located on a wide strip of sand, with trees and grass, situated between Nehalem Bay and Pacific Ocean, with 6 miles of ocean beach frontage. Sand-dune sheltered campground open year round; includes popular horse camp. Campsites: 291 electric (max. RV length 60'), 17 primitive in horse camp, 6 primitive for fly-in campers using adjacent air strip, 2 yurts. Trailer sanitary dump station. Showers. Boat ramp. Bike trail. Meeting hall. Accessible campsites, restrooms, picnic area, boat dock for people with disabilities.
8300R 3rd St Necarney, Nehalem, OR 97131 (503) 368-5153. On U.S. 101, about 10 miles south of Cannon Beach and 4 miles north of Manzanita, on north Oregon coast. This large State Park is on a heavily forested slope of the coastal range and has miles of ocean frontage. Walk-in campground; wheelbarrows provided to haul equipment. Trails lead to (a) a cozy, secluded beach; (b) to summit of 1,700-foot Neah-kah-nie Mountain, and through old growth woods to tip of Cape Falcon on the Ocean. 36 primitive campsites.