Cook's Ridge--Gwynn Creek Loop,
Day Hike, August 6, 2010

Although most of the trails that attract me are in the interior parts of Oregon and Washington, there are also some nice hikes on our coast.   This is one of those, and a trek that I should have done years ago when we first started visiting the Yachats area.   This loop hike is about 7 miles long with an elevation gain of only 1100 feet over good trail, so it is fairly casual.   The ridge is named for Captain James Cook who visited the area in March, 1778.  The hike begins at a parking lot for the Cape Perpetua area, which includes several trails.   Most folks visiting the trailhead do either a short hike to visit a very large Sitka spruce tree, or descend to the beach to examine tide pools and their many creatures.    I saw few folks on my selected hike.

The weather had been bleak with little sun appearing on the Oregon coast for a couple of days.    This often happens in August.   I started the hike in mid morning and didn't really know what to expect, so I had rain gear with me in my pack.  The trail was especially dreary as I left the parking area.  However, after perhaps a mile, things started to look up.  I emerged in an area with numerous large Sitka spruce.
Canopy of the coastal forest.

The hike progressed on a wide path until it was past a heavy use area.   A trail junction pointed to Cook's Ridge and Gwynn Creek.
Trail junction.

Shortly after the junction, the trail started to change character.   The wider, heavily trodden path gave way to a good trail that was now climbing to the ridge top.   The Sitka spruce were joined by Hemlock.   And my travel up and to the east, away from the coast, brought me to some sun light.
Typical trail along Cook's Ridge.

After a while, another trail junction was encountered.   This exited the ridge and headed down toward Gwynn Creek.   The trail hooked to the west, again approaching the ocean.   Gwynn Creek itself was not seen much from the trail, although it was possible to tell that there was actually some sort of stream.   Several small feeder creeks were encountered on the trail.   Eventually, another junction was encountered, taking me on to a section of trail that was an old, 1895 wagon road between Florence and Yachats.

The trail is now heading NW with fog in the distance.

After a short walk in the woods, viewpoints are encountered allowing me to see down to the ocean and to US Highway 101.
 
The coast, with a few tide pools, as seen from the trail.