ODF, Recreation, Tillamook State Forest

Tillamook, Clatsop State Forest recreational sites begin to reopen

The Four County Point Trailhead on May 10, 2021. Photo: Chas Hundley

Several campsites and recreation areas in the Tillamook State Forest are reopening after an extended closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

The Tillamook State Forest’s recreation team moved forward on May 6 with opening two sites, the Diamond Mill OHV Campground and the Jordan Creek OHV campground, while fee collection resumed at Cedar Creek designated sites and the North Fork Wilson River designated sites.

More information and locations for a variety of campgrounds, trails, trailheads, and other outdoor recreation facilities in the Tillamook State Forest can be found on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s website.

On Thursday, May 13, the Northrup Creek Horse Camp — located in the Clatsop State Forest north of Jewell — will open. Campers wishing to to stay at the site are required to book their campsite through ReserveAmerica.com prior to arriving, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Many of the campsites are only available to those with horses, ODF said. 

The Spruce Run Campground and Beaver Eddy Campground in the Clatsop State Forest and Morrison Eddy Campground in the Tillamook State Forest will open on Thursday, May 20.

“Please be sure to read all information boards when you visit forest facilities to learn about site operation changes and COVID requirements,” Tillamook State Forest staff with ODF said. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry plans to reopen the Gales Creek Campground by Memorial Day weekend, according to ODF spokesperson Jason Cox, but he recommended that would-be campers check the agency’s list of recreation sites impacted by COVID-19-related closures before heading to the campground.

A reopening date for the Tillamook Forest Center has not yet been determined.

Here’s a short hike you can do while waiting for a recreation site to open

A unique cartographical feature of the region is the point in northwest Oregon — located in the Tillamook Forest — where four county corners meet, the only such location in Oregon. 

While not as glamorous as the more well-known Four Corners Monument where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet, the Four County Point Trail is a roughly two-mile out-and-back trail that leads to the point where Washington, Tillamook, Clatsop, and Columbia counties meet.

The trailhead is located three miles west of the Timber Junction on Highway 26.  

The trail is short, with very little elevation gain, and there’s ample space to park at the trailhead. A geocache is located nearby for an extra activity. There are no restrooms at the site. 

The Four County Point Trail in the Tillamook State Forest on May 10, 2021. Photo: Chas Hundley

Tracking through the Tillamook State Forest and mostly covered by the forest canopy, the trail leads past a lush landscape — Douglas Fir, trillium, mosses and mushrooms, redwood sorrel and more — to a space with a small granite slab marking the titular spot. There’s a single bench, and a couple of survey markers as well. 

The hike is not the most tranquil of treks, with the highway nearby and footsteps often punctuated by the sound of gunfire, thanks to the close proximity of the North Fork Wolf Creek Public Range across the creek.

To reach the trailhead, head west on Highway 26. Three miles past the Timber Junction, the trailhead is on the right-hand side of the highway headed westbound. 

This story has been updated with more information on the opening of the Gales Creek Campground.

This story has been updated on May 18 with new openings announced for May 20.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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