In case you haven’t heard, there’s an abundance of wide, open spaces in Coos Bay, North Bend & Charleston for visitors to safely explore while following Oregon’s Safe+Strong guidelines. We are, after all, known as “Oregon’s Adventure Coast”! For those of us fortunate enough to reside here, we can’t get enough of beautiful outdoor destinations like The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (South Slough NERR), 5,000-acre natural area located in the Coos estuary.
What is an estuary you ask? It’s defined as a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meets and mixes with saltwater from the ocean. Estuarine environments are among the most productive on earth, creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland, or agricultural land. The tidal, sheltered waters of estuaries also support unique communities of plants and animals especially adapted for life at the margin of the sea. Source: www.water.epa.gov
Whether it’s for a few hours or a full day, South Slough NERR is the ideal destination to find some peace and reconnect with nature. Families, hikers, kayakers, wild-life watchers and everyone in between all seem to agree that this special destination is perfect for walking along wooded trails, exploring open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas, and forested uplands. Take a self-guided tour through this protected area of land and estuary and you’ll likely spot a variety of birds like Bald Eagles, Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Belted Kingfishers.
“Love the tranquility of this pristine environment–a place to be one with nature” says one visitor on the South Slough NERR Facebook page. “I have been hiking the trails at South Slough for almost 30 years. It is one of the few places where I can spend 4 or 5 hours completely alone with Mother Nature and her amazing creatures,” writes Evelyn L on Facebook. Another visitor from San Mateo, California visited South Slough NERR with her husband and young children recently and had this to say:
“We drove down to the Trailhead and followed the signs for the Hidden River. It took us through three ecosystems and to the estuary viewing platform. I loved the walking platforms. They are charming in their design. Not just in a straight line but meander in a lovely Oregonian fashion. To the observation deck and back took us an hour. It’s probably more filled with animals in Spring or Summer but still a lovely walk in winter.”
“The property covers such a diverse landscape and the trail is so well placed, you’ll be thrilled at each change in landscape and water as you hike along.If you don’t want to do the entire loop, do the Sloughside Trail - walk to the point and enjoy the beautiful water viewpoints and on the way back, the trail becomes a boardwalk over Hidden Creek Marsh. So stunning is this piece of nature.”- Kathy H
“What an asset to this area! Beautiful trails, very friendly and helpful staff, great for all ages!!” - Heather R.
Ready to visit? South Slough NERR is located at 61907 Seven Devils Road Charleston, OR 97420. For more information, go to www.oregon.gov or call (541) 888-5558 for info.
COVID UPDATE (As of 10/22/2020)
South Slough Estuarine Research Reserve trails and waterways are open. Restrooms are open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more. The Reserve Visitor Center remains closed until further notice. All South Slough Reserve programs, field trips, events, and meetings have been canceled until further notice. Learn more.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston. For more travel inspiration, see our Adventures page and our Trip Ideas page to see all there is to do on Oregon’s Adventure Coast! Or request a visitor’s packet today. Please be sure to follow Oregon’s Safe+Strong guidelines when you visit to keep our community safe and remember that face coverings are required in public spaces. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.