Our last hike on this trip to the coast had us visiting Pistol River State Park and Crook Point, and taking a loop around Lola Lake. This hike is also called the Crook Point Upland Trail. This one isn’t in all of the coastal hiking guides and all of the trails in this area aren’t in the hiking guidebooks either. This is likely because some of the trails are designated as equestrian trails (which you can hike on if you practice good trail etiquette). We ended-up cobbling together a loop out of the Oregon Coast Trail (OCT), the beach, some equestrian trails, and a little cross-country (when we lost an equestrian trail in the trees). It proved to be a short (4.5 mile) but interesting hike that let us see a lot of birds, a few new flowers, some sand, a good chunk of coastal forest, and Lola Lake (which is dry this time of year).
We started this hike where the OCT intersects the west side of Highway 101 at an unsigned dirt pull-out 11.7 miles south of Gold Beach, Oregon. You can also start this hike from the Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint. From the pull-out, we followed the OCT through the forest and down to the beach near Crook Point. The beach end of the trail, at the mouth of Sand Creek, is obscured by a big pile of driftwood.
Once we were on the beach, we were directly across from a rock (Point 147) covered with seabirds. After trying to identify all the birds (and dodging seagull poop), we strolled up the beach for about half-a-mile to where one of our maps showed an equestrian trail running parallel to the beach inland of the foredune.
So we turned inland, crossed into a sandy valley between two dunes, wandered around a bit, and finally connected with a marked (post with a white tip with a black horseshoe symbol on it) equestrian trail going south. We followed it. And it was easy to follow until we got within about 200 feet of the trail around Lola Lake, at which point the horse trail faded. Our guess is that it dodged left here and we missed that move and went right instead. Some cross-country thrashing, enriched with colorful – aye, salty – language ensued, until we finally reconnected with the Lola Lake Trail.
A quick spin around now mostly dry Lola Lake brought us back to the dirt pull-out where there were now five other cars crammed around ours. Yet we saw no one else on the trail or on the beach. But then we’ve noticed that we can usually beat any “crowds” by starting just an hour earlier than we otherwise might like. This short hike took us through a botanically diverse forest and along a seabird-rich beach. 🙂 If we ever did it again, it would be worth going as far as the Pistol River and back – or starting from the river and going south. Ah, so many hiking possibilities, so little time… 🙂RETURN TO FRONT PAGE