Tillamook Head's Clatsop Loop Trail a walk near William Clark's footsteps



Tillamook Rock Lighthouse may be seen from a mile away from the Clatsop Loop Trail on Tillamook Head.


The south trail on Tillamook Trail climbs to Hiker's Camp.


A misty curtain shadows the southern view from Ecola State Park.


Indian Creek splits Indian Beach into two halves.

Editor's Note: Part 2 of this report from the Oregon Coast appeared in this section last week.

CANNON BEACH, Ore. - Nora the Schnauzer and I angled northward on a level stretch of the Clatsop Loop Trail, a few yards from the summit of Tillamook Head at Ecola State Park.

So we thought. Well, I did.

Nora the Nose not so much. Too many distractions.

We had ambled up the loop's south side (1.25 steep and strenuous miles) for 74 minutes, 27 seconds. I expected the summit to appear in the mist at any moment, along with the primitive cabins of Hiker's Camp.

We had dawdled some, of course, especially when I pondered the fascinating Tillamook Rock Lighthouse a mile offshore.

Then, alas, another downpour arrived, and I re-donned the rain parka.

We continued uphill as two men hurried toward us.

"How much farther to Hiker's Camp?" I queried.

"You're about halfway," one man mumbled as they passed.

"Huh!" I grunted. "Halfway? No way."

Nora looked at me without blinking.

"Maybe we should just go back the way we came?"

Not the preferred choice, what with marshy spots to slog through and the steep cliffs to keep Nora away from.

Nevertheless, I explained to Nora that "halfway" meant halfway there and halfway more to go, and all the way back, albeit on an easier side of the loop trail.

She looked at me some more.

Then rain became sleet that rattled on my parka and bounced off the ground. Nora jumped to snap at bouncing bits.

"Oh, let's go back," I mumbled.

Nora shook all four feet off the ground, landed and scooted downhill. I followed.

That Thursday outing on our final full day at the Oregon Coast started at the park minutes after we munched bagels at the inn. A brisk south wind blew in a misty drizzle as I parked the truck.


Darlene chose not to trek along the trails. Nora the Intrepid and I chose to embrace the chilly elements.

We bucked the breeze to an overlook and squinted southward at mist-shrouded Haystack Rock, Arch Cape and the hills beyond.

A lengthy stretch of wide, mist-bound, rocky beach with a waterfall spread below our toes.

After a full tour, we drove over a steep, crooked road to Indian Beach. Nora and I ambled among ample driftwood on both sides of the Indian Creek until a hard rain drove us to shelter.

We found it and an early lunch at Mo's near Tolovana Park.

As we dined, the downpour dwindled, which meant Nora and I could re-deploy to the Ecola State Park's 2.5-mile, 800-foot, up-and-down on the park's Clatsop Loop Trail.

Darlene agreed. So we did.

In his Corps of Discovery journal, William Clark said a party left Fort Clatsop in early January of 1806 to search for the "monstrous fish" that had beached south of a high mountain headland. Clark described climbing the north side of the head (now Tillamook Head) as ". …the Steepest worst and highest mountain I ever assended. …"

Clark also wrote that the vista from atop the headland was ". … the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean. …"


I agreed, of course, despite a diaphanous curtain of mist.

I also found the lighthouse on the rock, unseen by Clark, an amazing site (Google Tillamook Rock Lighthouse for its captivating story).

So, we scurried downhill in sheets of sleet that became sheets of rain.

With soaked skin and muddy feet we rinsed the tootsies in the stream before we returned to the inn and rested for the journey home.

Contact Don Davis at dondavis@wwub.com . More of Don's photos can be found online at www.tripper.smugmug.com.

If You Go

Most visitors to the Oregon Coast drive on Interstate 84 from Pendleton to Portland and Highway 26 from Portland to the Seaside-Cannon Beach area. We drove Washington Highway 14 to Vancouver, I-5 to Highway 26 and due West to Highway 101 and south to Cannon Beach. We drove about 320 miles to the Cannon Beach area.

For more information Google Ecola State Park Clatsop Loop Trail.


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