Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston in Coos County are an adventure waiting to happen. Grab your hiking boots and take in nature. There are many levels of difficulty, so whatever your skill level, we think you’ll find a way to breathe in the fresh air and explore.
We have a whole system of hiking trails in the immediate and surrounding area, but listed below are some of our favorites:
Located off Cape Arago Highway through Charleston, you’ll find four miles of trails (one way) winding along one of the most spectacular coastlines in Oregon. From the Sunset Bay, the trail winds around the coastal bluffs offering spectacular views of the rugged Oregon coastline, past Shore Acres Botanical Gardens and Simpson Reef viewing area to the captivating Cape Arago State Park. Visit the Oregon Coast Trail website (Sunset Bay to Cape Arago). Click here for a trail map.
Located almost an hour by car from Coos Bay at the end of Coos River Highway, Golden and Silver Falls is 24 miles off Highway 101. A hidden gem in the dense coastal forests of southwest Oregon, Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area may be hard to find, but it’s well worth the drive. A small parking and picnic area is located along the banks of Glenn and Silver Creeks, set in an old-growth forest of Douglas fir, Big Leaf Maple and Oregon myrtle trees. Hiking trails wind through scenic canyons to each of the waterfalls that plunge over sheer rock cliffs to moss covered boulders 100 feet below. Hike 1.4 miles to the top of Golden Falls to get an eagle’s-eye view of the cascading waterfall and giant old-growth firs and cedars. Visit the Golden & Silver Falls Page on the Oregon State Parks website.
Located off Horsfall Road in the Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area just out of North Bend, this trail loops around a seasonal lake which is home to different species of birds and aquatic animals. At times, it looks like a grassy meadow and at other times, lake waters lap at the boardwalks. The eastern portion of the trail provides views of Bluebill Lake as it winds through Western hemlock trees and huckleberry and salal bushes. At the southern end of the lake, an extensive boardwalk protects the wetlands while allowing you to look closely for tadpoles and aquatic insects. The western part of the trail divides, giving you a choice of following the edge of the lake for a look at marsh plants and animal tracks, or following a parallel trail through open shorepine forest. Either route has good birding opportunities. Bring your camera and binoculars to view the sights. Visit the USDA Forest Service website for Bluebill Trail information.
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is located off Cape Arago Highway near Charleston along Seven Devils Road, covers 19,000 acres and offers hiking trails for all ability levels. Beginning in the uplands, this trail system follows Hidden Creek down the valley to the slough. After crossing the creek a few times the trail turns into a boardwalk that winds through fresh and saltwater marshes, including a portion called the skunkcabbage walk. Vegetation includes salmonberry, thimbleberry, Lyngby’s Sedge, and Eel grass. The “Saltwater Overlook” and “Lookout” offer views of mudflats and open-water channel, ideal for wildlife observation. On the edge of the estuary are several trails that lead to the shoreline including Rhodes Dike, Sloughside Pilings and the Marsh trail. Heading back towards the interpretive center is the Big Cedar trail which has remnants of the former train trestle. Visit the South Slough Reserve webpage for more information. Click here for the a Estuary Study Trails map (pdf).
Be sure to wear comfortable and appropriate gear, including a helmet while biking, and always carry water.