Siltcoos River Canoe Trail
There is something special about seeing the great outdoors from a river’s point of view.
This week, we visit the Southern Oregon coast to explore a river that is filled with wonder and surprise as he paddles from freshwater to the ocean along the Siltcoos River Canoe Trail (pdf) in the heart of the Oregon Dunes. The outdoor life doesn’t get much simpler than a kayak, a paddle and a PFD (Personal Flotation Device.)
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches more than 42 miles from Florence to Coos Bay and it is an Oregon landmark for outdoor recreation. Many visitors plan vacation time at one of the oldest parklands in the state called Jesse Honeyman State Park, located just south of Florence. Camping in the park’s campground reaches back nearly 80 years to the days of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) that was made up of thousand of young men from the east coast who built the park in 1933.
Our starting point was the USFS Lodgepole Wayside; a day site along the Siltcoos River and just a stone’s throw from Honeyman State Park. Yet along the Siltcoos River it felt a million miles away from human hub-bub and noise. The river zigs and zags sharply at low tide and many of the river bends are framed by huge sandbanks.
Cyndy Williams and her husband JC Campos had never done anything like this trip before, but they loved each minute of it. The couple traveled from their home in Portland to be our guests on the daylong adventure. They won Travel Oregon’s annual “Grant’s Getaways Photo Contest” last spring and they selected this trip as their prize.
Before long, our downriver journey slowed across a much wider waterway with tall sedge grasses that seemed to wave us along from shore. We noticed important warning signs along the estuary shore too – plus, roped areas that marked a beach closure in effect from March 15 to September 15. It’s an important area to protect nesting sites for small shorebird called Snowy Plovers that are protected as endangered species.
We were soon three miles from the start and in the heart of the estuary – it was a view that offered sneak peeks across the sand of the crashing ocean surf. We also noted varied shorebird species that were probing muck of the marshes – often they were right by our sides. It is the sort of adventure that will set your clock back – guaranteed!
Perhaps to a time that will leave you refreshed and ready for more adventures. The Siltcoos River Canoe Trail is open anytime. No permits are required to paddle the Siltcoos River Trail but a US Forest Service Northwest Forest Pass (available for day or annual purchase) is required at Lodgepole Wayside.
Central Coast Watersports in Florence provided our boats, paddles and PFDs – they even delivered to our launch site in the Lodgepole Recreation Site and picked them up at the end of our trip.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.