Spruce Island trailhead is easy to find. It’s well marked, right alongside the highway.
Follow the Oregon Coast Trail signpost. Views of Arch Rock to the northwest come and go as the trail weaves in and out of the forest. Arch Rock Viewpoint is also visible, as is a cave below. I did not explore the cave, but I was intrigued.
The trail becomes wet ground, marshy blade grass and ferns like in a Jurassic jungle. Spring is in full effect and the trail is overrun with vegetation. So much greenery it shocks the senses. With all the water around, the trail can be slippery at times, so keep an eye out.
The hike to Arch Rock viewpoint only lasts about 15 minutes. There are no side paths to explore. Pretty straightforward hike to the first viewpoint with “facilities.” There’s an outhouse and several benches and picnic tables scattered along a circular, paved path.
The entire park is enclosed by a fence made of wooden posts and chain-link. If you have children and/or pets and want to see great views of the Southern Oregon Coastline while keeping everyone safe, this is the place to go. There’s plenty of open grassy area, perfect for a picnic or tossing a Frisbee around. Plus it’s a safe distance away from Highway 101.
For the thrill seekers out there: climb over the fence where the viewpoint faces south to access the aforementioned cave and a beautiful stretch of beach. There are plenty of loose bits of rock to make it more difficult.
As unbelievable as it may be, this was my first visit to Arch Rock. When Jessica and I went, the waves were high and forceful. We sat and watched from a bench as the water pushed its way through Arch Rock like champagne from a bottle.
When you’re ready, the trail picks back up at the end of the paved loop. Along the way to Windy Point, two small footbridges host streams and waterfalls. The second bridge is warped and twisted like a troll bridge. If you’re comfortable stopping, the waterfall behind is very nice.
Down the path, several alders lost their grip on the hillside. A mudslide washed a path to the beach. Watch out for stinging nettles near the bottom. My legs were on fire all day just so I could get one picture.
Just before the parking lot, the end of the trail is overgrown with grass and brush. Probably one of the scraggliest patches I’ve encountered. I don’t think it has been worked on lately. Which, by the way, is a nice segue.
I was recently contacted by two people about the stories I write, one of whom is named Monica Adams. She called me and we spoke for a while about how much we both enjoy hiking the coastline. She has helped maintain the trails for many years.
Her request is that I appeal to anyone reading for volunteers in maintaining the Samuel Boardman Corridor trail. Anyone looking for a positive and constructive way to get involved in the community, here is your opportunity. For more information call Monica at 541-412-8633.
Also, I received a letter from Walt Schroeder, who lives in Dallas, Oregon. He used to live here in Curry County. I was excited to receive a letter, so I told a few people, all of whom knew Walt. My guess is he is a fairly well known former community member.
Walt shared that he had helped build and maintain sections of the Samuel Boardman Trail. He wrote to inform me that there is, in fact, a trail heading up from the north end of China Beach. He helped build it. I went back just the other day, and sure enough, it exists. Thanks for keeping things straight, Walt.
He also mentioned having seen the feral goats. That was exciting news because I don’t know too many people who have seen those crazy goats! I had a laugh about that.
I was pumped to get a letter, so I wrote back. And then Walt wrote back again.
His second letter was filled with treasure! He wrote about at least 25 or 30 hikes between Gold Beach and Brookings, throughout the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and beyond. Some of which I had hiked or heard about. All of which I intend to hike this summer and in summers to come. I am sure it will keep me busy for years.
I say thank you, to both Walt and Monica. Their hard work and dedication helped make our sections of the coastal trails what they are today. And what they are is amazing.
Hiking to the parking area south of Windy Point from the Spruce Island takes about 30 minutes. If you go straight there and back, you put together a nice little hour-long hike. The trail ends at an unmarked turnout. This one, for sure, was unmarked. I promise.
The most beautiful grassy hillsides and views await at Windy Point. I’ll write more about that next time.
Don’t forget your water, snack and a jacket.
Story and photo by Gabe Chatman • Curry Coastal Pilot