Williamson State Park, Oregon

Williamson State Park, Oregon
Williamson State Park, Oregon

Located 12 miles north of Salem on Highway 221 is Williamson State Park. It is a small parcel of land donated to the State of Oregon in January 1934 by Maud Williamson in the memory of her mother Ruby T. Williamson. The park is equipped with toilet facilities, a covered picnic area and lots of room to run. The ease of access from the main road makes this an ideal site for a quick picnic.

Ecola State Park, Oregon

Rest on a bench while watching Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
Rest on a bench while watching Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park is a very popular spot to visit, especially if you live near Portland, OR. Almost a straight shot west from Portland on Highway 26 Ecola State Park offers a wide variety of activities.

  • Turn left just after entering the park for Crescent Beach access. Here you will find a nice spot to picnic and enjoy breathtaking views.
  • Turn right for easier beach access at Indian Beach. Hiking trails up the coastal bluffs give you better views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
Sea Lion Rock - home of many different species of wildlife, Ecola State Park Oregon
Sea Lion Rock – home of many different species of wildlife, Ecola State Park Oregon

Crescent Beach

There are lots of picnic tables but on the weekends things can be a bit crowded so bring a blanket on which to sit.

A short walk from the parking lot, a well paved trail, will take you out the viewpoint where the picture of Sea Lion Rock was taken. This is a prime spot for whale watching. If you forget your own binoculars the park has provided some coin (quarter) activated viewers.

Trails lead from the parking area down to the sandy beaches below. The trails can be steep and footing unsure on loose rocky ground.

Indian Beach

A short one mile drive from the park entrance, on a narrow winding road, is Indian Beach. Here you will find easy beach access a few yards from the parking area. Lots of water addicts come here to swim, surf and just plain enjoy the sun.

If hiking is your thing you can hike north along the coastal bluffs for less than a mile and look STRAIGHT down to the ocean and beaches below. There are several looping points, or if a long hike is what you’re looking for, the full six miles to Seaside, OR., will give you a great workout. This six mile trail was thought to have been originally hiked by Louis and Clark while locating Native American tribes to trade with for supplies.

Directions

Ecola State Park is located just north of Cannon Beach, OR. Highway 101 will give you your easiest access to the Cannon Beach. A slow but short drive through a villa of tourist traps winds through town on your way to the park.

Helmick State Park, Oregon

Helmick State Park, Oregon - Oak Tree
Helmick State Park, Oregon – Oak Tree

Located 5 miles south of Monmouth, OR, near Highway 99 (15 miles north of Corvallis) is Helmick State Park. Established in 1922 from a donation by “Grandma Helmick,” this was originally part of a homestead claim made in 1846. This plot of land was the first deeded to the State of Oregon for park purposes. Originally only five acres, Helmick Park has been enlarged to over 30 acres.

There are many large oaks which provide shelter for the picnic tables beneath them. The view of the river which borders the north edge of the park was unimpressive. The park is equipped with toilet facilities, picnic areas and lots of room to run. The ease of access from the main road makes this an ideal site for a quick picnic.

Willamette Mission State Park, Oregon

National Champion Black Cottonwood Tree, Willamette Mission State Park
National Champion Black Cottonwood Tree, Willamette Mission State Park

This old mission site has been turned into a park which lies between Mission Lake and the Willamette River.

Mission Lake was created when the main channel of the Willamette River moved west during the great flood of 1888 to it’s present location, leaving the lake in the old riverbed.

Willamette Mission State Park has an Oregon State Park day use fee of $3.00. The automated permit system accepts $5, $1 and $0.25. The park is closed from dusk to dawn, cars left inside the park after hours may be towed.
Moterized boats are not allowed on the lake.

Old Walnut orchards border the west edge of Mission Lake. Filberts may be found to the east, nearer the Willamette River.

Points of Interest

Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

Looking south from Cape Lookout towards Sandlake
Looking south from Cape Lookout towards Sandlake
Looking from Cape Lookout south towards Cape Kiwanda
Looking from Cape Lookout south towards Cape Kiwanda
Cape Lookout looking north to Netarts Bay
Cape Lookout looking north to Netarts Bay

Cape Lookout State Park has many things to offer to both the casual day hiker and overnight camper.

The campground has 176 tent sites, 10 Yurts and 38 RV spots. The campground is a very short walk from the sandy beach. Mosquitoes can be very pesky in the evening hours, bring your repellent.

From the campgrounds you can make a short drive south to the Cape Lookout trail head. It is about a 2.5 mile hike from the trailhead to the edge of Cape Lookout. As the trail meanders out to the Cape you are treated with spectacular views. If you make this hike in the spring you will be treated to a plethora of wildflowers.

If you look closely in the southern view you can see Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda. (For another view of Haystack Rock near Cape Kiwanda go to Mount Hebo.) In the northern view you can see Nearts Spit, the beach on which the Cape Lookout campground is located. Once you reach the end of the trail you are treated with a breathtaking 180 degree view of the Pacific ocean. Hold on to your stuff though, it is usually quite windy here. Children and small animals should be attended to closely.

This is a popular spot for hang gliding.

Cape Lookout State Park is located about 15 miles west of Tillamook, OR.

Cape Kiwanda State Park, Oregon

Beach at Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
Beach at Cape Kiwanda, Oregon

Pictured here is the beach at Cape Kiwanda. The beach is a wonderful fine sand, ideal for building a sandcastle. Surfers and windsurfers alike flock to this park because of the sheltered cove offered by Cape Kiwanda. Just to the left of this picture you will find Haystack Rock.

Cape Kiwanda State Park is located near Pacific City, OR.