Bob Straub State Park
Cape Kiwanda Fat Bike Route
Sometimes you want to go to the beach to be among people – the raw energy of all those folks congregating in one spot, each bent on enjoying it in their own way, can be pretty electrifying. And sometimes you want to go to the beach to enjoy some isolation in natural splendor – just you, the sand and the vast reaching ocean.
Here’s a ride that offers both environments – and with a fat bike, you can easily spend as much time as you want in either atmosphere.
This is an out-and-back-and-out-and-back route – meaning, you start in the middle and pick a direction. When you hit the end of that, turn around, return to the start, and try the other direction if you want.
Find your way to Pacific City, the heart of the Three Capes Scenic Drive, tucked in below Cape Kiwanda. Here’s where you’ll embark on your adventure. Before you head out, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants if you need to stock up or fuel up, plus parking is free – it’s a great launching point for a ride.
When you first hit the sand, be aware that vehicles are allowed on the beach here. Be careful, because some drivers throw out normal driving behaviors and do questionable stuff; they may not be able to stop quickly in the soft sand. In addition to the cars driving on the beach, dory boats launch and land in this area. Give all motorized vehicles a little space and you’ll be fine.
Let’s arbitrarily have you head south first; if you started at the north end of town by Pelican Brewing Company, you’ll pass along the entire stretch of Pacific City; if you start at the south end by the bridge over the Nestucca River, you’ll be out of town right quick. Make your way down to the North Spit, which is almost entirely occupied by Bob Straub State Park. The sound of vehicles will fade away, and you’ll enjoy some peaceful shoreline isolation. The sand here can be soft and coarse, making it slow to ride on; consider riding at low tide to take advantage of the hard, smooth sand – it’ll make the going much faster and easier.
At the end of the spit, the Nestucca River squeezes out into the Pacific; here you’ll have the beach to yourself, with a view of a spectacular mansion atop the cliff across from the inlet. Looking west, it’s all ocean. Looking east, it’s all the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Soak in the natural wonder of special places like this. And then, as Queen so succinctly put it: get on your bike and ride. As you head back, you may even run into some horse tours. Make sure not to spook the horses by jumping off your bike.
In just a few miles you’ll be back in Pacific City, where you can next-level your ride by climbing the steep, imposing and ridiculously fun dunes of Cape Kiwanda. As you head up and over, make sure to look back and out, to appreciate the various awe-inspiring viewpoints. Once you hit the top, check yourself: Are you ready to try something wild? If the answer is “Heck yes,” or at least “Um… sure?” then grab your brakes, get your weight as far back as you can, and do your best X-Games impression as you bomb down the side of the dune.
Once you’re back on flat ground, make your way north, skirting around the rock features and once again leaving the masses behind, until you hit the small town of Tierra Del Mar. If you want, continue another mile or so until you hit another isolated dead end at the mouth of Sand Lake. Wherever you turn around, simply head back the way you came and experience the dunes from another angle.
Bike resources: The nearest location to rent fat bikes is in Lincoln City at Safari Town Surf.
If you go: Wherever you go fat biking on the Coast, check the tides and try to go during low tide as much as possible. Beware of sneaker waves and stay off rocks and small, enclosed beaches. Respect the sensitive micro-environments, whether it’s birds or anenome you encounter. In particular, it’s critical for people and pets to avoid areas that are closed due to western snowy plover nesting season, March 15-Sept. 15. Look for bright yellow signs nearby Oregon’s beaches and more info about how to protect this threatened species here).
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
Cape Kiwanda is part of the Three Capes Scenic Route (along with Cape Meares and Cape Lookout).
Kiwanda is the smallest of the three, but it is one of the best places to experience spectacular wave action. Pacific City is the home of the Pacific Dory Fleet. South of Cape Kiwanda is the dory boat launching area. North of Cape Kiwanda to Tierra Del Mar is a stretch of beach popular with picnickers. Kiwanda provides great hang gliding and kite flying opportunities.
Important: some cliffside areas of the park are fenced for your safety. Don’t cross the fence line. There are great views from the established viewpoints. Beyond the fence, the sandstone cliff edge can crumble without warning. Seven people have died falling into the ocean and onto the rocks since 2009. A special work group made of state and local officials, local businesses and residents, and emergency first responders will meet to discuss and propose action on this issue.
Catch the Wind
Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island
The Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island is a remarkable place. A virtually untouched coastal estuarine ecosystem, it is bounded by the Sand Creek estuary. This is critically valuable habitat for adult salmon moving upstream to spawn and for smolt leaving the inland fresh waters for their marine journey. The area is a ecological potpourri, including mixed woodlands, grasslands, fresh and saltwater wetlands (the Lillian Parker Craft Wetland) and a rare native dune sedgeland. Species run the gamut from salmon and steelhead to shorebirds to deer, otter, and even bear and cougar.
Named after Clay Myers (Oregon Secretary of State 1967-77 and State Treasurer 1977-84), the site joined Oregon’s park system in 2000, thanks to a $2.8 million dollar partnership between the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, Tillamook County Board of Commissioners, and the Trust for Public Lands. For the first time, OPRD relied on the state lottery-backed Parks & Natural Resource Fund to pay for a major addition to the state park system. The site was purchased from sisters Kathleen Craft Shaw and Karen Derungs, who worked with the Trust for Public Lands to assure permanent protection of the area in honor of their mother Lillian Parker Craft.
A day of fishing is more than just catching that next great fish. It’s about creating experiences that connect us to one another, to nature and everything around us. Pulling from these experience Connect Outfitters focused on ensuring your day is filled with unique experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
Connect Outfitters’ primary focus is on the Oregon Coast, where they specialize in saltwater fly fishing for a large variety of species including salmon, rock fish and tuna from May through September and switch gears to focus on swinging beautiful coastal rivers for Winter Steelhead from January through March.
Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides
Guided Horseback Rides on the Beach and Dune Trails of the Oregon Coast from our Summer Stable near Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City, and Mountain Trail Rides directly from our Full Service Boarding Facility in Lincoln City.
You will find that we are the most flexible and affordable guided horse back Outfitters on the entire Oregon Coast.
Haystack Fishing is the premier dory fishing charter company in Pacific City. Run by Joe and Wendy Hay, they will celebrate their 25th year silver anniversary in 2022. Haystack Fishing’s specialty is making dreams come true and creating memories that will last a lifetime. They use a surf-launched dory to get you to the best fishing on the Oregon Coast, minutes from leaving the beach. They offer custom charters and group trips, for fish and crab, and have the best crab eating and cooking place on the coast.
Josh Putman Guide Service
Josh and Jenna Putman have a beautiful Learned Dory boat named the Fish Whistle that we’re launching off the beach daily in Pacific City to go crabbing, fishing and sightseeing with top of the line gear, tackle and bait. Join the fun, and take home some delicious fresh crab and fish. Call or email for booking availability.