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First Day Hikes: New Year's Walks Beyond the Oregon Coast

Published 12/09/2018 at 1:49 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

First Day Hikes: New Year's Walks Beyond the Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – It used to be that the New Year’s Day hikes called First Day Hikes were more of a big deal on the Oregon coast, right along with those crazy polar plunges that happen in places like Arch Cape, Manzanita and Newport. (Above: Cape Lookout State Park).

This year, however, even though the First Day Hikes have been around since 2012, these guided sojourns into nature are publicized equally around the state, happening in places like state parks near Portland, the Willamette Valley, eastern Oregon and the Cascades.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is inviting all Oregonians into the state’s outdoors, providing you the ability to choose 32 hikes in 31 parks. All hikes will be guided by a park ranger or volunteer who will share stories about the park’s history, geology, wildlife and plants.

There are no day-use parking fees that day (and that day only), and the hikes are free.

Hikers can register for specific hikes online at the Oregon State Parks Store page. While online registration isn’t required for participation, visitors are encouraged to register. It helps park staff plan the hike and provides them with participant contact information should hike details change.

The agency advises anyone who participates to keep inclement weather in mind, preparing to dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. You’re also urged to bring water and binoculars to catch better views of wandering wildlife.

First Day Hikes have been under OPRD’s umbrella since 2012, all part of a larger national event organized by America’s State Parks.

In the Portland Metro area, Tryon Creek State Park is having everyone meet at 9 a.m. at the nature center. Near Portland, in the Coast Range, meet at 10 a.m. at the Hilltop Day-use area.

In the Columbia River Gorge, the schedule is:

Deschutes River State Recreation Area: 9 a.m., meet at Oregon Trail kiosk.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: 1 p.m., meet at Mark O. Hatfield Visitors Center West trailhead.
Latourell Falls (Guy W. Talbot State Park): 10 a.m., meet at Latourell Falls parking lot.
Starvation Creek State Park: 10 a.m., meet at Starvation Creek Falls trailhead.

Along the Oregon coast, they happen along just about the entire 382 miles of shoreline.

Near Bandon, Bullards Beach State Park: 1 p.m., meet at the meeting hall. At Reedsport’s Umpqua Lighthouse State Park: 10 a.m., meet at Lake Marie swim area. In Portford, at Port Orford Heads State Park: 1 p.m., meet at Port Orford Heads lifeboat.

Farther up on the north Oregon coast, you can find the walks around Oceanside, Depoe Bay, Warrenton, Florence, Newport and Manzanita.

Cape Lookout State Park: noon, meet in the Lookout Trailhead parking lot.
Fort Stevens State Park: 10 a.m., meet at parking lot A.
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park: 10 a.m., meet at Cleawox Lodge.
Oswald West State Park: 8 a.m., meet at Elk Flats Trail parking lot. Parking is limited; please arrive early, carpool, or use another nearby lot.

South Beach State Park: 10 a.m., meet at the park day-use area.
Whale Watch Center at Depoe Bay: 10 a.m., meet at the Whale Watch Center.

For southern Oregon:

Collier Memorial State Park: 9 a.m., meet at Logging Museum parking lot.
Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area: 11 a.m., meet at the group camp.
OC & E Woods State Line Trail: 9 a.m., meet at Switchbacks trailhead.
TouVelle State Park: 1 p.m., meet at TouVelle area F parking lot.
Valley of the Rogue State Park: 1 p.m., meet at Valley of the Rogue program area.

Willamette Valley and the Cascades hikes:

Champoeg State Heritage Area: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., meet at the visitor center.
Dexter State Recreation Site: 11:00 a.m., meet at the information kiosk for disc golf.
Elijah Bristow State Park: noon, meet at the equestrian parking area for horse riding (bring your own horse.)
Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area: 11 a.m., meet at the main parking lot.
Silver Falls State Park: 10 a.m., meet at South Falls Lodge porch.

In Eastern and Central Oregon:

Cottonwood Canyon State Park: 10 a.m., meet at the experience center.
Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area: 11 a.m., meet at the day-use parking lot (right of park entrance.)
LaPine State Park: 11 a.m., meet at south loop.
Smith Rock State Park: 10 a.m., meet at the welcome center.
Tumalo State Park: 11 a.m., meet at Deschutes River Trail trailhead, near the day-use parking lot.
Wallowa Lake State Park: 10:30 a.m., meet at the parking area across from the south entrance of Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site.

More information about participating parks, including maps and directions, is on oregonstateparks.org. - Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour







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