Tuesday, May 7, 2019

DESTINATION: Reedsport, Oregon, and the Umpqua River

We left Florence, Oregon, and headed south, again, trying to see as many interesting sights as we could but still make it to Brookings, Oregon, to check into our hotel in the early evening.  

Umpqua River at Reedsport, View to the west (to coast) from top of the Discovery Center

Umpqua River looking east (inland)

Our first stop was Reedsport, Oregon, a tidewater community.  Reedsport and neighboring Winchester Bay are known as the “Heart of the Oregon Dunes.” Reedsport, with a population of about 5000, is the headquarters for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a forty-seven mile stretch of sand dunes running from Florence on the north and to North Bend on the south. Lovely, quiet hiking trails lead through the forest, out onto the dunes, and through the beachgrass – straight to the beaches. ATV enthusiasts can enjoy riding the most majestic and challenging dunes on the coast. 

Totem Pole outside Discovery Center

Reedsport is also home to the Umpqua Discovery Center, with creative displays on the region’s cultural and natural history and an excellent place to use the facilities and view the Umpqua River.

Sea Lion sculpture, Umpqua Discovery Center in background

Just east of Reedsport, along highway 38, more than 1,000 acres of the lush pastureland have been set aside by the Federal Bureau of Land Management to provide high quality forage for Roosevelt elk. At the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, we spotted a few members of the herd. Native to Oregon’s coastal mountains, the Roosevelt elk is the largest of four North American elk species. Males, called bulls, can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and carry antlers up to 4 feet/1.2 meters long. Bulls are known for their remarkable bugling, a loud, warbling mating call you might hear in autumn.



Roosevelt Elk at the Dean Creek Viewing Area

Just a few miles south of Reedsport, at the mouth of Winchester Bay, Oregon, the first Umpqua River Light was built in 1855 and lit in 1857. Visitors can tour the lighthouse and adjacent Coastal History Museum from May through September. The museum is located in a historic U.S. Coast Guard station and features exhibits on the lighthouse, local history and the U.S. Coast Guard history on the Umpqua River.

Umpqua River Lighthouse and U.S Coast Guard Station

Umpqua River Lighthouse and U.S Coast Guard Station

Umpqua River Lighthouse and U.S Coast Guard Station Garage

Umpqua River Lighthouse and U.S Coast Guard Vessel


Couldn't resist photographing this sweet dove



Onward to our next stop, Sunset Bay and Shore Acres State Parks!