An Enjoyable Late Summer Hike in the Oregon Coastal Mountains

It’s no secret I enjoy hiking in the Coastal Mountains. It is verdant and beautiful country.

In late summer on a cool and sunny day, I returned to the trailhead at Gales Creek Forest Camp. You may remember I did the Storey Burn Loop from this trailhead in June and unfortunately encountered many trailrunners engaged in a 50K race. I was going to try the Storey Burn Loop again but it was closed due to active logging.

So, this time I followed the Gales Creek Trail all the way to a trailhead on Bell Camp Road on the crest of the Coastal Mountains, roughly seven miles from the Forest Camp. Along the way I met one mountain biker, three trail runners, two large groups of hikers and two horseback riders. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the day as much as I was.

Bears had apparently been eating ripe Oregon grape berries, but I didn’t spot any of the critters. But, chipmunks, pine squirrels and blue jays kept me company along the way.

The tributaries crossing the trail had dried up since spring, eliminating the few tall wispy waterfalls along the trail. To my delight, bright green sword, deer and maidenhair ferns were seemingly everywhere I looked.

A superb way to enjoy 6 1/2 hours on a pleasant summer day.

Maidenhair Ferns

Sun-dappled trail

Oregon Grape

Alders lining the trail (heavy snowfall causes many of them to stay bent down)

Wood Sorrel

Fancy trail sign

Lots of ferns along the trail

Wispy waterfall from my hike in June




Categories: Oregon Coastal Mountain HikingTags: ,


  1. What a lovely hike, John, I’m glad you were able to find an alternative, and what a gem it was. Even though the waterfalls have dried up by now, there is still a rich array of ferns and growth, the beauty of Oregon. I liked seeing the snow-bent alders, and I found that first photo with the maidenhair ferns especially mesmerizing. Wonderful, as always.

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