Whether New Year’s Day is the first of many outdoor adventures or your one and only foray into the wilds before retreating under a blanket to wait out the winter — Oregon State Parks has you covered.
Rangers at 31 parks across the state will be putting their best foot forward on Wednesday, Jan. 1, for First Day Hikes, sharing details about each area’s history, geology, wildlife and plants. All hikes are free and day-use parking fees will be waived.
While online registration isn’t required for participation, visitors are encouraged to sign up at https://store.oregonstateparks.org to help organizers plan appropriately. Walkers should prepare for inclement weather, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and remember to carry binoculars for viewing wildlife.
Oswald West State Park • ManzanitaMeet at the Cape Falcon trailhead, 8 am
A moderate, 5-mile hike starting at the Cape Falcon Trail Head and heading to the Kramer Memorial, which gives way to a brilliant overlook of Short Sands Beach. Choose to stay and enjoy the beach or journey on to Cape Falcon and enjoy views spanning from Tillamook Head to Cape Lookout. Dogs permitted on a 6-foot leash. Terrain not suitable for baby strollers past Kramer Memorial.
Seal Rock State Recreation Site • Seal RockMeet in the Seal Rock parking lot, 9:30 am
A moderate, mile-long hike offering the chance to explore exposed tide pools, the wrack line and rock formations and discuss marine organisms and tidepool ecology along the way. This path has some moderately steep sections and can be slick. Dogs permitted on a 6-foot leash. Not recommended for strollers.
Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint • NetartsMeet in the Cape Meares parking lot, noon.
This easy hike will start with a quarter-mile trail to the octopus tree that is accessible for all users. From this point, visitors looking for a longer hike can continue on through the old growth Sitka spruce forest to the junction with Lighthouse Road and the Big Spruce trail. From here, walkers can turn back or continue to the Big Spruce Tree, the largest Sitka spruce in Oregon. Those still looking for more can continue north on the Oregon Coast Trail a mile downhill to the beach at the base of Cape Meares. Visitors will learn about local lighthouses, World War II history, get the chance to watch for migrating Gray whales and more. Dogs permitted on 6-foot leash. Strollers are welcome on the first segment to the Octopus Tree only.