This weekend’s trek was a short, sweet, delightful little 1+ mile roundtrip trek up the Salal Hill Trail in Newport’s Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.
Before I get to the trek, I was met this past week with some good news and some bad. The bad news is, my car is officially dead. Dead, donated to charity, and gone forever from my life. The good news is, as bad as the bad news was (quite upsetting), this didn’t stop me from taking my first ever vacation since moving to Portland – out to the coast at Newport! Thank goodness for super affordable rental cars. In more good news, it seems I have at least one other hiking friend with a working car who would like me to accompany her on future treks. This should suffice until I can save my pennies for an affordable used vehicle. (Aside: if any of you on the webs in or around PDX know where I can acquire some cheap wheels, do let me know!).
Alright, on to the trek!
The Salal Hill trail is found on top of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area on the northern tip of Newport. This jutting peninsula certainly earns its full title, as this natural area was truly outstanding. To see its glossy brochure (in handy pdf format), you can click here. You do have to purchase a pass, which was $7, but the pass is good for three days (and allowed us to come back and enjoy more of the area the following day). On the peninsula you will find a charming lighthouse with a 93 ft. climb you can take yourself (which I did), a place called Quarry Cove where you can see seal pups sunning themselves on rocks (which was super adorable) and a place called Cobble Beach where you can walk down to the shore along rocks and see starfish and other sucker sea creatures (which was fun, and you’re allowed to touch them).
The trail itself starts at the base near the lighthouse. There are signs at the start and all along the trail that tell you to stay on the trail, as there are dangerous cliffs. It becomes obvious just as quickly that there is literally nowhere else to go but to stay on the well worn gritty path. The trail itself is a series of turns and switchbacks that coil around Salal Hill. With each turn, you’re treated to a new view, either of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the rocks below, the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula, or the hilly view of Newport homes and seaside hotels in the distance. The trail itself is a gentle ascent 120 feet upwards, which I will say with complete confidence that this trail gets an easy rating. It’s short, sweet, easy to follow, easy to climb, and I wasn’t out of breath when I reached the top. Just awestruck at the view, which is fantastic. After snapping some photos and enjoying the 360 views of the ocean, I made my easy descent back down the hill to the base, enjoying all the switching views again for the second time.
There are three things that made this trek incredibly enjoyable. The first is that I was accompanied by my boyfriend Andrew. While the trek would have been fine and lovely done solo, it was a joy to share these sights with the man I love, who definitely enjoyed himself as well. The second contribution was the weather. It was 60 degrees and sunny. In early January! It was the kind of weather that just begged to be active in, begged to coax you out and enjoy the day. It was perfect trekking weather, for sure. The third is lack of stress. I wasn’t working against the elements or against my own fitness level. It was simply a pure joy of a trek which left me with plenty of energy to continue to explore the shore and the seal coves.
This is a trek I would 100% recommend to anyone who is more interested in capturing the sights of the ocean than getting in a mean work out. And if you bring binoculars, there’s a chance you can spot some whales, too!
Treks Down: 2, Treks to Go: 50