Living in the Pacific Northwest, residents are very familiar with the scenic and beautiful views right outside their doorsteps.
But what really sets the Northwest apart from other regions is the abundance of state parks that are easily accessible to the public. With hundreds of miles of hikes to choose from and each one holding more beauty than the last, it’s easy to lace up your boots, breath in the fresh air and get lost beneath the trees for a day.
Beards Hollow trailhead at Cape Disappointment State Park is home to more than eight miles of trails, including the Discovery Trail, which are almost all paved and bike friendly. The 2,023-acre park is located on the Long Beach Peninsula and overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River.
The park requires a $10 Discover Pass for day use. However, Washington State Parks offer free days when a pass is not required. The next free day is Aug. 25 for the National Park Service’s 103rd birthday.
The park also offers camping sites, cabins, yurts, vacation houses and more where a Discover Pass is not required for overnight accommodations.
Beneath the tree canopy of the Beards Hollow trailhead, the flat and relatively easy and paved trails are filled with tidbits of history.
English captain John Meares named Cape Disappointment after his own disappointment in 1788 after unsuccessfully crossing the river bar entrance.
American captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the cape in 1792 and named the Columbia River after his own ship, the Columbia Rediviva. And in 1805 the famed Lewis and Clark expedition arrived at Cape Disappointment, adding to the rich history of the region and the cape itself.
Scenic trails, stunning views
But what is even more spectacular than the abundant history of Cape Disappointment is the views along the trails.
The dried pine needles crunch between the pavement and the shoes walking above them.
Distant birds, squirrels and chipmunks can be heard all around the marshy wetland forest. Frogs can also be heard leaping from one lily pad to another as the clouds get a little more ominous on a typical cool and beachy August summer day.
The smiles of bikers, other hikers and dogs alike are never far on the paved path.
Even the most seasoned knees and ankles can enjoy this easy hike and still feel the salty breeze on their face.
But above the crunching of the pine needles and the passing by smiles, the sound of the ocean is constant and never wavers between the trees. As sand replaces the needles on the winding path, the crashing of the waves becomes more prominent.
The deep green and blue hue of the ocean can be seen through the beach grass and short trees planted in the sand. The colors contrast each other as more paths open up leading to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Beards Hollow is the perfect getaway from everyday life. Hear nature’s songs of the Northwest as you listen to the melody of the waves, breath in the fresh salty air and marvel at the tall green trees all around.