A January Hike in the Coastal Mountains

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Gales Creek Trail

On the promise of a fairly nice wintry day in the Coastal Mountains, I drove to the Reehers Camp Trailhead west of Timber, a great name for a small logging town in Western Oregon.

My goal was to follow the Gales Creek Trail to the crest of the Coastal Mountains.

The trail followed the Nehalem River for a distance before crossing the river and beginning the 1,500-foot climb to Bells Camp Road. It had rained almost every day of the last three weeks, and it showed. There were huge puddles in the muddy trail and even a few places where streams had begun flowing down the trail.

I had to take a short detour on the Step Creek Loop Trail to get around one pond on the trail that was deeper than the top of my boots.

As I began nearing the top, I encountered snow on the trail from about a week prior. It was up to eight inches in places. Amazingly enough, only blacktail deer and I had been on the trail since the snow fell.

After a short break I began the hike back to the trailhead just as the heavy rains began. I’m sure I looked like a drowned rat by the time I arrived back at the car.

A rainbow on the drive to the trailhead

One of many large puddles on the muddy trail

Blacktail Deer and I had been the only hikers on the trail

Tiny, soft Hemlock cones scattered on the muddy trail (one Doug Fir cone too)

Abandoned Tillamook Railroad tracks becoming overgrown with Hemlock trees

Snow on the upper trail

Lots of signs of old logging operations

Sloppy, muddy trail lined with Sword Ferns

The trail map




Categories: Oregon Coastal Mountain HikingTags: , , ,


  1. These are amazing, John. The rainbow is my new background. I can’t tell you how tempting it is to throw off my worldly responsibilities and come up and go hiking for a bit with you! I love how nature starts taking things over once they become unused. Is this part of the same one that was damaged in 2007?


  2. You captured the wild beauty and the winter weather so beautifully here, John. The rainbow photo is stunning, and great to see the effects of the rain in the muddy puddles, moss and lichen. I liked the pine cone trail photo, with that one douglas fir cone and all the little hemlock cones. You sure are an intrepid hiker.


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