Rockaway Beach Old-Growth Cedar Wetlands Preserve
If you read my romantic getaway post about Rockaway Beach, you know I had searched long and hard to find things to do in the area. Since we went in the off-season, beach activities (which is the main attraction in the summer) were kind of limited. While we loved enjoying the awesome vacation home we were staying in, I still thought it would be nice to have some outside activities during our stay. We had already stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory on our way there, so that didn’t leave much more to do unless we wanted to drive up to Seaside.
Luckily, I came across an article about the Rockaway Beach Old-Growth Cedar Wetlands Preserve. It is a 45-acre home to some of the remaining giant red cedar trees in Oregon – how lucky that it’s right in town! It is somewhat of a hidden gem, mostly only known by the locals.
Makes sense, as it was pretty hard to find any information about it, even just how to get to there! The article I found was written in 2009, and unfortunately it seems the trail has changed a lot since then. By following the directions from the article, we ended up entering a trailhead that you really don’t want to go through.
Very overgrown and fallen trees everywhere, it would be very easy to get turned around, as the trail is no longer a clear path.
One upside of going the wrong way was that we got to see this humongous trunk and all of its roots!
After taking pictures, we were about to give up since we really weren’t sure where the actual trail was. Fortunately, we heard a couple coming towards us! They told us how to stay on the path and where the real trailhead was! The trail you want to take is on Washington and Island. Directions: Take Washington St., which is right off the 101 freeway. You want to take Washington away from the ocean and towards Island St. Turn left on Island, and there you will find the trailhead.
It’s a very easy and beautiful hike, and it’s only about 1-mile. Tip: There are some flat stones on the path that, what I believe, are meant to be stepping-stones. Be very careful if you step on them, as they are incredibly slippery. I would also advise dressing in layers, and in shoes you don’t mind getting muddy.
When you get to end of the trail, you will find one of the biggest trees in Oregon, with a circumference of 49 feet! Take a look at these photos!
So hard to get the scale of this tree in pictures, it really needs to be seen in person. As you can see from some of the photos, there is a boardwalk surrounding the tree for viewing, and there are benches on the boardwalk as well (not shown). It was such a beautiful, quiet, and peaceful spot – it would make a great place to eat lunch. We are definitely going to pack some sandwiches next time we go! This tree, as well as others in the Wetland Preserve, were truly amazing to see. If you are in Rockaway Beach, I hope you get the chance to visit this spot. It is worth it!