Cascade Head Preserve
  • Location: Cascade Head Scenic Experimental Forest, south of Neskowin on the Oregon coast 
  • Map: USGS 7.5' Neskowin quad
  • Access: From Neskowin, drive south approximately 3 miles to FR 1861 (on the right/west side of the highway), which is not labeled, but is the only road near the crest of the hill. It has a gate that should be open from July 16-Dec 31. Take this road about 3.5 miles to the well-signed trailhead, and park (limited parking here). The road is closed January 1 - July 15.  This is the same road from which the Harts Cove trail begins. There is also a lower parking area that I have no experience with, but that is described at the Nature Conservancyís Cascade Head Preserve website. This area is day-use only.
  • Trail: From the upper parking area, it is an easy 1-mile walk to the upper viewpoint. I didnít actually see anything but fog from this viewpoint, but I hear the view is great. The trail continues downhill to another overlook and beyond to the lower TH, but Iíve no experience with it. I hope to get back on a clear day and do the whole trip.
  • Fees: None 
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Weather: Local NWS Forecast
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August 8 2015

After spending a nice night in Tierra Del Mar, we drove south on Hwy 101 through fog and rain past Neskowin, then turned off the highway into the woods. We drove our rented Toyota Corolla up the familiar Cascade Head road and parked at the Nature Conservancyís Preserve Trail parking. This is the same road that leads down to Harts Cove, but today we didnít have plans to visit there. Instead, we quickly threw on rain gear, trying to avoid getting any wetter than necessary, and by 9AM, we were walking west on the wide path through a spectacular spruce-fir forest. The drizzle was light, but steady, and it was chilly, at only 57 degrees. Still, the damp fog was fitting in so lush a forest, where every root is carpeted in moss, and ferns drape the contours like green cake frosting. 

We walked slowly, enjoying the closed-in silence, but even so it took only 40 minutes to reach the edge of the woods. From there the trail went out into a grassy meadow that, because of the fog, extended as far as we could see in all directions, which was about 50 feet. We could hear the ocean, but there was no chance of seeing it. Instead of continuing through the meadow, where our pants were getting very wet from the drooping wet grass, we turned around and walked back to the car, reaching it at 10:15. I hope to return one day when there is a bit less fog.

Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon

Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
This seemed to be the high point of the hike, 
but the fog was so thick we could see 
nothing at all beyond the meadow.

Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon
Hiking on Cascade Head Preserve, Oregon


 


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