Hiking in the Reedsport and Winchester Bay area means tackling the scenic Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
The dunes are massive with stunning views. The hikes can be easy, or extremely challenging, with several hikes over the Sahara like dunes. Some hikes are around picturesque lakes or marshes, while others are a march to the sea.
The Oregon Coast Trail also travels through the dunes with most of the trail on the wide sandy, secluded beach, perfect for those who wish to backpack along the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
There are a large number of campsites located in the dunes. Some cater to quiet backpacking while others are for those who wish to ride the dunes in an ATV, so select carefully.
Bluebill Lake Trail is an easy 1 & 1/4 mile hike around Bluebill Lake. The forty-acre lake is dry much of the year, but the hike offers ample opportunities to view wetland habitat. The hike is located next to Bluebill Campground.
Directions: From Coos Bay / North Bend, proceed north on route 101 for 1.5 miles. From Reedsport, proceed south for 22 miles. Turn west at the Horsfall Dunes and Beach road sign at Jordan Cove Road and proceed 1 mile, turning right on Transpacific Highway. Travel 100 feet, turning right on Horsfall Beach Road. Travel 1 & 1/2 miles down Horsfall Beach Road to a left turn.
Hall / Schuttpelz Lake # 1357 trail offers a 1.5 mile hike around the Schuttpelz and Hall Lakes. It is located in the Suislaw National Forest across from Tugman State Park, 8 miles south of Reedsport in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The hike includes views of waterfalls, the Pacific Ocean and the dunes.
The John Dellenback Trail is a 5-mile round trip hike, starting at route 101, that climbs the dunes to the sea. The elevation climbs from 100 to 1500 feet. The hike starts out easy enough, with a short trip that travels through the edge of Eel Creek Campground. Then the challenge begins as the "trail" crosses the wide open dunes where the markings are just a few well spaced wooden posts. Hikers need to be careful to keep the posts in mind in order to find their way back to the trailhead. It is best hiked earlier in the morning before the winds pick up.
The trailhead is located near Lakeside, just south of mile marker 222 on Route 101 in the heart of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
The Oregon Coast Trail south of Reedsport has, perhaps, the least amount of variety of the trail but that does not mean it is not beautiful. After leaving Reedsport, hike south along US 101 to Winchester Bay. Then follow the road on the south side of Winchester Bay and out to Umpqua Lighthouse. Follow south along the beach almost all the way to Coos Bay. At Horsefall Beach, turn towards the mainland and follow the road back to US 101 and cross the McCollough Bridge into North Bend and Coos Bay.
As always when walking the beach, plan for high tides, storms and keep a sharp eye out for 'sneaker waves'.
There are some smaller rivers to cross. During rainy season or early in the summer, there maybe too much water to ford and require returning to the road to continue.
The Oregon Dunes Information Center has visitor information, interpretive exhibits and an introductory video. Helpful guides can answer questions about camping, hiking, sightseeing, fishing, ATV - dunebuggy riding, and RV parks.
The Oregon Dunes Information Center is located in Reedsport on Route 101, 855 Highway Avenue
Visitor Center Hours:
* Winter (mid Sept – mid May):
Monday – Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm
* Spring/ Summer (mid May – mid Sept):
Seven days a week
8:00am – 4:30pm
855 Highway Avenue (US 101) TEL: (541) 271-6000