Various tiny state natural areas

Today we needed to get gas and, after a stop in Tillamook to refuel both car (gas) and people (food), we explored some random places.

Munson Creek Falls State Natural Area. It’s not often that my life arranges itself so I can notice a sign and then take a detour to explore what’s going on with that sign. But this was vacation and I could!  We took the turn and were rewarded with a short hike to this lovely viewpoint, which the state website tells me is 319 feet tall, and the tallest waterfall in the Coast Range.

It must be something to see after a good rainstorm. Look at all those trees piled up. This area is also a salmon spawning ground.

Self portrait at the falls.

Sitka Sedge State Natural Area was our next stop.  Here’s what the website says about this park: “Sitka Sedge State Natural Area is all about the views–of open water, tidal flats, saltwater marshes and forested wetlands of Sand Lake estuary; of the estuary animals, birds and plants; and for those willing to hike, beach views stretching from Haystack Rock to the south and north to Cape Lookout.”

We did indeed see all those views.  Here’s a tidal flat.

And a salt marsh.

I became less enamored of the trail when it turned to sand. I don’t love hiking in sand as I learned on this hike in Olympic National Park in 2016. 

However, we did make it to the beach, just in time to see this contraption fly by.

The signs alert to a Western Snowy Plover management area. There are a few areas along the coast where activities are restricted during the Snowy Plover nesting season. I was excited to lay eyes on these areas because I remembered the letters to the editor published when these regulations were put into place. There were angry feelings.  “Why can’t I let my dog run on the beach?!?”

This natural area had a very nice bathroom, and also many places to lock your bike, as well as a bicycle assistance station. Being right on the Oregon Coast Bike Route, it makes sense to have these amenities.

Our last stop was Clay Meyers State Natural Area at Whalen Island. Here we took another walk until we found the ocean. 

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