Lincoln City Outdoor Guide

Beauty Abounds in Lincoln City!

Visitors to Lincoln City appreciate that they live in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We are bordered on the North by the foot of the magnificent Cascade Head. To the East is Devils Lake, a 680-acre freshwater lake that offers swimming, windsurfing and boating. It rests at the base of the Coast Range foothills. Our Southern boundary is marked by Siletz Bay, the outlet for the Siletz River as it flows into the sea. To the West, Lincoln City is bordered by the mighty Pacific Ocean punctuated with 7 1/2 miles of beautiful, sandy beaches.

Animals

Humans aren't the only creatures who thrive in the beautiful scenery of the central coast. The forests, beaches and marshes around Lincoln City are home to millions of insects, birds, frogs, squirrels, deer, elk and bear. The mature forests and estuaries in the region support a large population of wildlife in a complex ecosystem that we can watch in wonder. The forest-dwelling blacktail deer can be seen all over town, but the best location to spot them is around Devils Lake. They range over the coastal forests, traveling singly or in family groups.

The evergreen and riparian zones also harbor chipmunks, rabbits, porcupines, weasels and badgers. Raccoons and possums are also common.

Another resident of North Lincoln County is the coyote, which preys on insects, birds, rodents and small animals. Every year, a few residents report seeing black bears in remote areas. Other carnivores, more seldom seen, are mountain lions and bobcats.

The streams that feed Devils Lake, such as Rock and Thompson Creeks, and the tributaries of the Salmon River host populations of beaver, muskrat, nutria and otter. Beaver dams can be seen on the creeks feeding the Salmon River in Otis and Rose Lodge.

On Devils Lake, populations of geese, wood ducks and egrets delight anglers and waterfront residents.

One of the most beautiful places to see waterfowl and wildlife is in the Siletz Bay beginning in the south part of Lincoln City on SW 51st. There you can see herons and seagulls, as well as other birds and mammals. Other permanent residents of the bay....leave them alone.

South of the Bay, on the inland side of Highway 101, is the Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is not open to human visitors at the present, but wildlife may be seen from the Highway.

Wherever you go, don't forget your binoculars and a windbreaker. The wildlife are out there, waiting to catch a glimpse of you.

Biking

If you're tired of the vacation cycle from car to hotel to car and back again, we invite you to experience Lincoln City from the seat of a bike. Savor the clean breeze, get a little exercise and see stunning views that are easy to miss from the passenger seat of your car.

Bike riders welcome in the marked lanes on many thoroughfares in and around the city, including the length of Highway 101; but one of the most popular rides is the bike lane encircling Devils Lake. Start at nearly any point to take the 10-mile long loop. In areas located outside the incorporated limits, Lincoln County has provided paved shoulders along the road for bicycle traffic. Riders can reach West Devils Lake Road by bike lanes on N. 22nd and Holmes Road. From a signaled intersection in the Oceanlake district, NE 14th Street becomes West Devils Lake Road as it heads towards the lake. The best way to reach the back side of the lake is the turn east by the Tanger Outlet Center onto East Devils Lake Road.

If the Ocean is what you're looking for but you don't want to travel the highway, take the western shore bike route from N. 39th Street south to N. First Street, where it exits onto Highway 101 at Kyllo's Seafood Grill. For a little less traffic, head east on S. 51st Street in Taft. This road passes the area's oldest elementary school before becoming Schooner Creek Road. Take this tree-lined lane to Anderson Creek Road, then turn right on Drift Creek Road. Ride west on Drift Creek Road to Highway 101 and back into Lincoln City. Many off-road opportunities are offered in the hills north, south and east of the city. There are many unsurfaced logging roads in the area.

Bird Watching

Nature's topographic mix of sea, beach, marshlands, coastal forests, hills and rocky cliffs combine to create an ideal habitat for a common American species – the bird watcher. Home to a breathtaking range of fliers, from a majestic peregrine falcon to a delicate murre, the Lincoln City area is definitely for the birds.

Unlike the sunshine tourists from the north, a few Canada geese spend the winter around Devils Lake and its tributaries. Look for them and other migratory waterfowl in Schooner and Drift Creeks, and in the estuaries of the Siletz and Salmon rivers. Swimming alongside the geese in these areas will be widgeons, gadwalls, coots, mallards, shovelers, canvasbacks, grebes and cormorants. Big waders, like the great blue heron and the rarer green-backed heron, dip for small fish in the shallows.

Common murres skim over the waves of the Pacific in speedy flights, and many species of gulls beg for food from passersby. Careful observers will also find the big brown pelicans at certain times of the year on Siletz Bay. The offshore rocky islands, cliffs, and rocks are home to puffins, murres and guillemots.

Many varieties of perching land birds inhabit Lincoln City, but the best spots are in the shrub-covered lands and forested hills on the outskirts. One of the local "trophies" for birders is to see a pileated woodpecker, a spectacular crow-sized bird with a red plume on its head, digging for worms in a dead tree. Its first cousin, the flicker, inhabits the area along with sparrows, juncos, wrens and thrushes.

If you're looking for the bigger specimens, hike the Cascade Head trails to find the peregrine falcons who roam the cliffs hunting for food. Other raptors in the Lincoln City area include hawks, owls and the bald eagle, which nest in the area east of Devils Lake and near Schooner Creek.

Bird watching is such a common pastime for residents and visitors that there's even a shop dedicated to their passion. Songbird Supply in Lincoln City, has books, tools and birdhouses galore.

Connie Hansen Gardens

Constance P. Hansen, a well-known member of the regional horticultural community, moved to Lincoln City in 1973. She developed her acre plot at 1931 NW 33rd Street with her own hybrid and exotic plants, creating an oasis of blooms, ponds and trees. As a botanist trained at the University of California, Berkeley, and an avid natural collector, Hansen knew plants intimately. As an artist, she created a delightful arrangement of colors and textures around her beloved Lincoln City home.

Before her death in 1993, visitors from around the region and the world came to view her extensive collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese and Siberian iris and geraniums. But as any recent visitor can tell you, Connie's acre is much more than a botany lesson. Paths and bridges meander in the shade of maple, magnolia and styrax japonica trees. Water lilies bloom in several ponds.

She never made a formal plan for her garden; it grew naturally as she collected and planted her beloved varieties. From dawn to dusk during the last 20 years of her life, she worked ceaselessly in her garden, turning an overgrown marshlands meadow and creek into a showcase for more than 300 varieties of rare rhododendrons, as well as azaleas, primroses and a selection of hardy perennials. It was in Lincoln City that she hybridized a "Connie's Variety" geranium.

But perhaps Hansen was best known for her irises, cultivated from seeds from around the world and a source for her dedicated experimentation. Her garden journals and slides show that she spent several years cultivating a rare and lovely species of iris called "Lightly Touched," which was officially registered in 1991. A tour of the garden during the spring is a class in beardless iris genealogy.

Today, the Connie Hansen Garden is still a wonder to behold. The Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy, a group of dedicated volunteers, continues to plant, prune and tend her creation, guiding visitors and conducting horticulture classes. Recent donations of land have increased the size interest of the garden.

The reputation of the garden, which has been featured in The Oregonian, Sunset Magazine, Great Gardens and Fine Gardening Magazine, is on the rise. The number of visitors to this horticultural destination grows every year, and the local Chamber of Commerce has named it one of Lincoln City's "jewels."

Special features at the garden include newly-developed beds and berms around the parking lot. In 1997, the conservancy began an ambitious remodel of the home to provide visitors with a library, classroom and reception facility.

The garden is host to a year's schedule of events, including flower arranging and horticulture classes, open houses, parties and plant sales. Although the garden is most famous for its irises and rhododendrons, there is something in bloom all year round.

The acre is open to visitors at all times, but the grounds are hosted on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, group tours (available anytime), or renting the Garden House, call (541) 994-6338.

Help make sure this gem is around for future visitors to enjoy. As you leave, drop a donation in the white box near the parking lot.

Fishing

Fishing can be great family fun. And there are plenty of different finny creatures to catch around these parts. It's a matter of choosing between freshwater streams or salty waves, river or bay or lake. The premier freshwater fishing spots in North Lincoln County are Devils Lake, the Salmon and Siletz Rivers as well as Schooner Creek and Drift Creek. Dedicated salmon and steelhead anglers regularly land big ones on the local rivers; salmon of 50 pounds or more have been landed on the Siletz Rivers.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife stocks Devils Lake several times a year with rainbow trout. The most popular means of getting them back out again is fishing from the bank with worms or salmon eggs. Many people troll with their own boats or those rented from Blue Heron Landing (on the northern end of West Devils Lake Road). Local trout fishing is especially good during the spring and summer. Anglers have found that Devils Lake also hosts many fine largemouth bass, and clubs hold fishing derbies at the season's peak. In addition to trout and bass, the lake also has a good population of yellow perch, crappie, bluegill and catfish.

If lake and stream fishing sounds too tame, head out to sea on a sport fishing charter boat or cast your line from the rocky shore. Nearby Depoe Bay is home to a fleet of fishing excursion boats with experienced crews to help you catch the trophy of your dreams. The tuna runs of the fall bring thousands of tasty fish onto the decks of these craft every year. Or, head to the Siletz Bay, where it's easy to catch flounder. Take your craft to the Kernville Bridge, where the Siletz River empties into the bay, and use sand shrimp, clams or kelp worms as bait. There are also several species of salt water perch in the area.

During the summer on the Siletz River, up to about Coyote Rock, bank fishermen can catch pile perch using sand or mud shrimp. Expect to catch a lot of "mud cats" before you hook into a good-sized pile perch. They can run as large as three pounds. Redtail, or surf perch, are caught from the shore with sand shrimp. The best place to fish for them during the summer is from a rather steep-banked, sandy beach. Cast out into the surf line and wait for a bite. The striped sea perch is a pretty thing, with iridescent blues, greens and reds on its side. This species is usually found around rocks, and can be caught with sand or mud shrimp, kelp worms or clams. If you can find a good safe place to fish off the rocks, you can bring home plenty of good eating fish including sea bass, ling cod and greenling. Again, the best bait is often sand shrimp. Bait can be bought at L&L Tackle or at other convenience stores. For other outlets, call the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau at 994-8378.

Dungeness crab is a gourmet delicacy that is only as far away as the bottom of Siletz Bay. A recreational shellfish license must be obtained before catching or harvesting any shellfish, including crabs, clams and mussels. The annual resident license is $6.50 and the annual nonresident fee is $16.50 or $9 for a 3-day pass. Licenses may be purchased in Lincoln City at Bi-Mart or Rite Aid Pharmacies. Before you go crabbing, find a store selling fishing licenses and get a copy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations. You can rent gear and bait at Eleanor's Undertow on SW 51st in Lincoln City. Crabs are caught in a trap, called a crab ring. Bait - usually fish heads or carcasses - is placed in the center of the ring, a rope attached to the ring, and the rig is thrown out into the water. After 20 to 30 minutes, the crab ring is hauled back in to see what the bay has provided. Male crabs that are big enough are taken out, and all those that are undersized or female are thrown back into the water. When you have enough crabs to made a meal, take them home, plunge them in boiling water until they are cooked, then serve. Yumm! Crab, surf perch, Chinook salmon and rainbow trout whatever you want in your cooler tonight, we've got it here in Lincoln City. Just grab a line and head out.

Golfing

The coast is particularly fortunate in regard to the climate for golfers. Enthusiasts can play year around. When other courses in the Northwest are covered with snow, the mild rain and unlimited mud are not counted as obstacles.

Lincoln City's location provides the perfect Mecca for golfers. The mixture of courses in the area supplies the most enjoyment for the greatest number of golfers. These courses are interesting, requiring strategy as well as skill. They will give the average player a fair chance and at the same time require the utmost from the expert who tries for sub-par rounds. Lincoln City's courses have preserved the natural beauty of the land and introduce a minimum of artificial.

The two "18 hole" courses in town compliment each other well. Lakeside's 5000 yard course is off Highway 101 on the north end of town. Lakeside with its beautiful red rhododendrons provides the players with a gentler rather than spectacular beauty. Salishan, on Highway 101 at the south end of town, exemplifies golf's "two games in one" – one to reach the green and the other to figure the ever-challenging contours after reaching them.

People who prefer the quiet and ordinary will enjoy more golf in the immediate area. Three additional '9 hole' courses are within a half hour drive; Neskowin and Hawk Creek to the north and Agate Beach to the south in Newport.

An Indoor Driving Range (the largest in the Northwest) has been constructed at Lakeside Golf & Fitness Club in Lincoln City. The 12,000-square-foot hitting area overlooks the golf course. Especially for those who prefer to control the climate year around, this coastal setting is a special place to warm-up, practice and tone your 'golf muscles.' PGA instructors are available six days per week giving special classes, schools and private lessons. In addition, Salishan, which is also open to the public, has a very nice driving range with grass tees and mats, PGA instructors and a large practice green close by.

Miniature golf is played indoors at Lincoln City's All American Putt-N-Bat located at NW 12th & Highway 101.

Hiking

Area residents from Depoe Bay north to the Nestucca River make use of the great hiking trails that feature views of evergreen rain forests, native plants, mosses and fungi, white, sandy beaches, fish and wildlife.

Good trails provide long nature walks only a short drive from Lincoln City, and there are many shorter hikes, on well-marked routes within the city limits.

One of the most stunning areas open to hiking is the Cascade Head National Scenic and Research Area. Four miles north of Lincoln City off Highway 101 on Three Rocks Road, Cascade Head has three major hiking paths: The Nature Conservancy Interpretive Trail, the Cascade Head Trail and the Hart's Cove Trail. The Nature Conservancy Interpretive Trail is two miles long and courses over the north and south side of the monolithic headland. Rocks jut as high as 1,700 feet above the Salmon River Estuary and provide magnificent views of the coast.

In the area north and east of Lincoln City, the Siuslaw National Forest maintains trails that include Hebo Lake, Pioneer Indian Trail and the Niagara Falls Trail. Old logging roads also provide opportunities for hiking. Contact the Hebo Ranger District at (503) 392-3161 for information.

If you don't want to leave the city, that's OK. There's plenty to do on foot nearby. Some hiking trails in and around the city include the following:

The North Lincoln Hospital Optimist Trail

Three-tenths of a mile long on gravel, starting at the hospital (3043 NE 28th Street off West Devils Lake Road). The easy, level walk provides a great view of the water. Regatta Grounds Park Nature Trail. One-half mile long hike of moderate difficulty on a natural surface, winding through old-growth forest. The park is located off West Devils Lake Road (from central Lincoln City) near the junction of NE 15th Street.

Spring Lake

Off West Devils Lake Road across the street from the Indian Shores entrance, just west of Regatta Grounds Park, it's a one-mile moderately difficult hike on a natural surface, crossing hills and a stream. The route heads around a small, gem-like lake in a beautiful, natural woodland, protected by the local Friends of the Wildwoods and Trails.

Devils Lake State Park

A one-half mile long, moderately difficult hike on a natural surface heads through wetlands to give hikers a good look at tree and shrub ecology. The trail is only one-third complete, but it can be found in the park on NE 6th Drive.

East Devils Lake State Park

This facility, located near the southern tip of the lake, is a one-half mile, moderately difficult walk on a natural surface. The hike features views of natural forest land with ferns, wildflowers and mushrooms. Take East Devils Lake Road from the Tanger Outlet Center, look to the west for a dock and parking area.

Other great nearby hiking opportunities include Drift Creek Falls, Trail No. 1378. It's a 1.5 mile, moderately difficult hike on a trail surfaced with rock and native materials. The trip includes a 240-foot suspension bridge that overlooks a 75-foot high waterfall and a bird's-eye-view of forest canopies. For information and directions call (503) 392-3161.

When you're hiking on the central Oregon coast, remember that there's a reason they call it a rain forest. Carry waterproof gear and emergency first aid supplies, and use common sense when hiking on rocks or on the beach. Avoid climbing on or around beach logs. Even the largest logs can easily be swept away or roll when caught by the surf or rogue "sneaker waves" and cause serious bodily injury or even death.

Even on vacation, you sometimes need to get away from it all. There's no better way to do that than to take a brisk walk through a misty forest, ending up with your own private, serene Pacific view.

Skateboarding

Lincoln City has a spectacular skateboard park named one of the "gnarliest" parks in the United States. The 8,000 square foot facility in Kirtsis Park has more than 100 lines and a unique 9-foot bowl to challenge boarders of all levels. It is the site for "Board Games Skateboard Tournament", a tournament for professionals, amateurs and beginners held in September and October.

The first section of the park was completed in 1998. Located behind Kirtsis Field on NE 22nd and Highway 101. But wait-there's more. The Lincoln City Parks and Recreation Department wanted boarding to be encouraged in all kinds of weather. So it is currently building a second park, only a short distance from the first, which is covered to facilitate boarding in inclement weather. The new park is expected to be completed in May or June 2003, and will ultimately be connected to the first park by a transitional sidewalk.

The Lincoln City Parks and Recreation Department wanted boarding to be encouraged in all kinds of weather. So it is built a second park, only a short distance from the first, which is covered to facilitate boarding in inclement weather. The new park, the Cradle, opened June 2, 2003, and will ultimately be connected to the first park by a transitional sidewalk. The Cradle is 8600 square feet with 5600 square feet under a roof. Part of the park is dome shaped, called a cradle, and allows the boarder to skate upside down if his/her speed is sufficient. There are only 3 such cradles in existence in the world.

You can receive additional information about visiting the Oregon coast by contacting the Lincoln City Visitors Association at 1-1-800-452-2151 or by visiting their website.