3 Great Winter Hikes
Winter may be here, but there are still plenty of opportunities to hit the trail. We’ve put a hit list together of the best spots in Lincoln City to scuff those boots.
Drift Creek Falls
This choice hike can get crowded in the summer months, but in the winter it can be a nice retreat. Drift Creek Falls is 8 miles inland from the shore and its forest canopy protects you from the coastal winds and heavy rain. This easy hike wanders through Sitka spruce trees to a gorgeous 75-foot waterfall. The trail leading to the falls is wide and well-maintained, making it ideal for couples and families looking for a leisurely stroll. From the parking area, the trail contours downward for a mile and a half. As you make your way down, the sound of water slowly starts to build, eventually turning to a shower. Cross a footbridge, wind a corner and you’ll abruptly come to the falls. Overlooking the falls is a 240-foot suspension bridge, a sight in and of itself. Walking across the bridge, take a selfie with the falls in the background. The views are certainly spectacular from the bridge. However, the best view is just beyond the bridge. Walking to the other side of the suspension bridge, a switch-back trail leads you to the base of the falls. If you’re feeling daring, walk along the giant rocks to the falls for a truly drenching experience.
The iconic Cascade Head Preserve is an Oregon Coast staple. Two trails lead to the top, a grassy hill where rare species of butterflies and flowers grow. The upper trail, which is only open July 16th through December 31st, but the lower trail is open year-round. Starting at Knight Park, which is located off North Three Rocks Road, you will be treated to an easy stroll along a paved road to the trailhead. From there, the real challenge begins. A steep, upward climb through old-growth forest and streams. Before long, the forest opens to a meadow, where the trail levels off. From there, continue upward to the top. On a clear day, you can see 30 miles out to sea. Bring binoculars…you never know when a gray whale might pop up offshore. Leave Fido at home, as dogs are not allowed on the trail.
Considered by many locals as a mini version of Cascade Head, this hike is located in town, in the Roads End district. To reach the trailhead, turn north on NE Devils Lake Blvd from Highway 101. Follow the road past a gate until you reach a cul-de-sac. Park on the street and the trailhead to the Knoll is just beyond the road and takes you through fields and forests. At the top, you are treated to a gorgeous view of the town, Devils Lake, and the ocean.