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N. Oregon Coast's Saddle Mountain Trail Reopens After Two Years

Published 09/07/23 at 5:37 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Saddle Mountain Trail Reopens After Two Years

(Seaside, Oregon) – One of the most scenic and beloved spots in the Oregon Coast Range is back open this week, after being shut down since 2021 for repairs.

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Trails and a footbridge had become fairly damaged over time, and at least one restroom was nonfunctional. Now, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has fixed various issues along the 2.7-mile trail to the summit, where huge swaths of the Oregon coast come into view.

OPRD said one section of the trail has had to be rerouted, keeping safety in mind for both hikers and any rescue crews that may need to get up top. Hazardous trees were cleared, picnic areas were spruced up, and two vault toilets replaced a flush restroom that was broken.

It took two years and lots of personnel, said OPRD.

“In order to complete the work, teams had to carry every piece of lumber, strand of cable, length of pipe, chunk of rebar and tool by hand up the mountain, which measures 3,290 feet tall. Volunteers, contractors and staff worked more than 1,000 hours on the repairs, which are still ongoing,” OPRD said.



Park Manager Ben Cox said he's proud of the work that was done, and he's grateful for all the help from employees, contractors and volunteers.

The hike to the summit is a longtime favorite among outdoors enthusiasts. That spot is also renowned for its views on the Fourth of July: Oregon coast locals like to head up there because you can watch the displays at Manzanita and Seaside simultaneously.

“Visitors can now hike the coastal mountain peak east of Cannon Beach anytime from dawn to dusk,” OPRD said. “The natural area is known for rare wildflowers, a stunning viewpoint that stretches from the Cascade Mountains to the coastline and a recovery site for the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly. “

However, issues remain. OPRD said there is still no overnight camping or drinking water at the park, so hikers will have to plan ahead. In fact, camping is likely gone permanently. Officials had to remove the 10-site primitive campground because of that lack of water, but also because of theft and vandalism. These issues could no longer be kept up with by park personnel and resources.

Cox said guests should bring their own water, as well as the proper equipment and footwear for the hike. Saddle Mountain is a difficult trail with a gain of over 1,600 feet in elevation. Many will not find any cell reception there – depending on carrier – so Cox said it's a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

“With the reopening of the trail," he said, “let’s work together to be good stewards of this special place. Please stay on the trail to protect unique species including the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly.”

Saddle Mountain lies just east of the Seaside / Cannon Beach junction on the north Oregon coast's Highway 26.

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Trail repairs at Saddle Mountain, courtesy OPRD

 

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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