Paddlers keep a lookout for wildlife at Beaver Creek State Natural Area.
The forest meets the sea by Oregon’s new Beaver Creek State Natural Area. Coastal plains and spruce forests just inland from sandy beaches form a natural gathering place for all kinds of wildlife. Now, when the water is low and animals abound, is an ideal time to visit these 375 acres near Waldport.
Seven miles of gentle trails meander from the visitor center through wetlands to upland meadows and alder forests. Hikers might spot elk, deer, muskrat, and occasionally a black bear or cougar when they’re not taking in a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.
A trip on the water can be just as thrilling. From July 4 through Labor Day weekend, guided kayak tours put in at Ona Beach and paddle through marshlands with cutthroat trout and coho salmon swimming below. Blue herons, red-tailed hawks, and bald eagles crisscross the water, while river otters and the park’s namesake beavers bob alongside. (541) 563-6413, oregonstateparks.org/park_261.php.
Photography courtesy Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
This article was first published in July 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.