Visiting Oregon's Coast Range

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The Coast Range stretches the length of Oregon, thirty-five to fifty miles wide and never more than a couple of miles from the coast. Elevations are never very high; they range from 1,500 feet in the north to 5,400 feet near the south. Gradients, however, are extremely steep, as its rivers cut through soft sedimentary rock. Its geology changes suddenly at the Rogue River, so much so that many people give these mountains a new name at that point, the Siskiyous. On the ground you won't notice much difference, save that the peaks are higher. We'll use "Coast Range" for that range of mountains by the coast, whatever its geology.

Coast Range scenery is glorious and dramatic, and easily reached by paved back roads. The clean, clear waters of the mountain streams flow over plentiful waterfalls and form lovely swimming holes. Fishermen will find them chock with trout and salmon, with few other anglers to crowd the shores or thin the stocks. As with hunting; game (including elk) is plentiful and fellow hunters thin on the ground.

BlogPacifica is the only detailed guide to the Coast Range, so we're making it as comprehensive as possible. This includes maps; you'll find our maps to be the only accurate set on the Internet. We've checked out every single road in an ordinary passenger car, and verified that they are all driveable without any special clearance or four wheel drive. (Although some are more adventurous than others!)

We are adding new areas to our Coast Range coverage all the time. Right now we cover the area from Florence southward to Reedsport and Coos Bay, as far south as the Rogue River Gorge.

Here's a list of the Coast Range pages from north to south, with photographs and links.

 

Smith River Road

This 85 mile backroad wanders through a remote, heavily forested part of the Coast Range between Roseburg and I-5. The Smith River itself takes up 79 of those miles, and this road follows it closely. It is paved throughout, and has some fine side roads worth exploring.

OR: Douglas County, Coast Range, Smith River Area, North Fork Community, Lower Smith River Road at North Fork [Ask for #276.025.]


OR: Douglas County, Coast Range, Smith River Area, North Fork Community, Lower Smith River Road at North Fork [Ask for #276.025.]
OR: Douglas County, Coast Range, Smith River Area, Lower Smith River, View over the Smith River as it runs beneath steep mountain slopes. [Ask for #276.029.]


OR: Douglas County, Coast Range, Smith River Area, Lower Smith River, View over the Smith River as it runs beneath steep mountain slopes. [Ask for #276.029.]

Smith River Road 

The Elliott State Forest

The spectacular Elliot State Forest takes up 140 squares miles between Coos Bay and Reedsport. A network of good gravel roads includes a 49 mile scenic loop along its ridgetops.

OR: South Coast Region, Douglas County, Coast Range, Elliott State Forest, Northeast Quadrant, Cougar Pass Area, Wide views over clear cuts from FS 7000 (the northern mainline) at Cougar Pass [Ask for #274.518.]


Cougar Pass offers wide views over the Umpqua River's gorge. [Ask for #274.518.]
OR: South Coast Region, Douglas County, Coast Range, Elliott State Forest, Northeast Quadrant, FR 7000, This mainline logging road runs through a Douglas Fir forest [Ask for #274.608.]
OR: South Coast Region, Douglas County, Coast Range, Elliott State Forest, Northeast Quadrant, FR 7000, This mainline logging road runs through a Douglas Fir forest [Ask for #274.608.]


The Elliott section has four pages for an in-depth look of this little visited area.

About the Elliott State Forest
The Ridgetop Scenic Loop
Side roads to the Millacoma River
Side roads to the outside world 

BLM's Camp Creek Area

This little known area has one of the finest waterfalls in the Coast Range, along with ten miles of sandstone canyon, a fine view, and a very odd bridge.

OR: South Coast Region, Douglas County, Coast Range, Reedsport Area, Camp Creek Area (BLM), Camp Creek Canyon, Camp Creek Falls, View of the waterfall [Ask for #276.979.]


Camp Creek Falls. [Ask for #276.979.]
OR: South Coast Region, Douglas County, Coast Range, Reedsport Area, Camp Creek Area (BLM), Lower portions of Camp Creek Road pass along the bottom of a cliff-lined gorge [Ask for #274.637.]


Camp Creek flows past the base of a cliff. [Ask for #274.637.]

There is one page about the Camp Creek area:

Camp Creek 

The Old Coos Bay Wagon Road

One of the state's most historic and beautiful roads, crossing the Coast Range between Coos Bay and Roseburg, has hardly changed since wagons rumbled down it.

OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coast Range, Old Coos Bay Wagon Road, Sitkum Community, The Old Wagon Road passes rock cliffss at the eastern edge of Sitkum. [Ask for #276.272.]


The Old Wagon Road passes rock cliffss at the eastern edge of Sitkum. [Ask for #276.272.]
OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coast Range, Old Coos Bay Wagon Road, Upper Brewster Canyon, Waterfall on the East Fork Coquille River, as viewed from the Old Wagon Road [Ask for #274.233.]


Waterfall on the East Fork Coquille River, as viewed from the Old Wagon Road [Ask for #274.233.]

There are two pages on the Wagon Road, one on its history and another describing the drive, including directions.

About The Old Wagon Road
Touring the Scenic Old Wagon Road 

Mountains of the Old Wagon Road

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains a network of paved public roads throughout the mountains that flank the Old Wagon Road.

OR: Coos County, Coast Range, Coquille River Mountains, Bear Track Road, Paved BLM road gives public access to these actively logged mountains, running through a clear-cut in a ridge-top fir forest with broad views [Ask for #274.112.]


Bear Track Road, a paved BLM road, gives public access to these actively logged mountains, here running through a clear-cut in a ridge-top fir forest with broad views [Ask for #274.112.]
OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coquille Area, Coquille River Mountains, Burnt Mountain Area, Paved BLM road ends at the North Fork Coos River in the Weyerhauser Millicoma Tree Farm (closed to the public). Terminus of the BLM road, with sign. [Ask for #274.123.]


A typical BLM road sign on Tioga Creek Road. [Ask for #274.123.]

There are three pages describing these roads, one giving a description and maps, one tracing out a 68 mile scenic loop, and one describing some of the more interesting side roads.

About the Mountains of the Old Wagon Road
A Scenic Loop of the Mountains of The Wagon Road.
Side Roads of the Old Wagon Road's Mountains 

The Coos River

This superb river, easily reached from Coos Bay, was noted for its fishing. I say "was", as Weyerhaeuser, which owns most of it, closed it to the public in 2014. This page covers the parts still open to the public. The boating on its lower sections is excellent, and you have your choice of several boat ramps.

OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coast Range, Coos River Mountains, Allegany Community, Narrow county road follows the Millicoma River through a gorge [Ask for #274.149.]


This county road runs along a gorge formed by one of the Coos River's tributaries. It links Allegany community with Coos Bay. [Ask for #274.149.]
OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coast Range, Coos River Mountains, The Coos River, Doris Place Boat Ramp, on the Coos River Highway (SR 241) [Ask for #274.577.]


OR: South Coast Region, Coos County, Coast Range, Coos River Mountains, The Coos River, Doris Place Boat Ramp, on the Coos River Highway (SR 241) [Ask for #274.577.]

I've put up one page on the Coos River:

Backroads of the Coos River 

The Sixes and Elk Rivers


East of Cape Blanco the Sixes River and the Elk River drain the Coast Range. Both are beautiful but their characters are different. While the Sixes is exploited by loggers and gold miners, the Elk runs through cliffs on the borders of two wilderness areas.

OR: Curry County, Coast Range, Sixes River, Sixes River. A mining claim sign. Gold is found in the Sixes River's deposits [Ask for #277.008.] 
OR: South Coast Region, Curry County, Coast Range, Northern Rivers, Sixes River, The gravel road that parallels the upper stretches of the river runs through a clearcut, giving views. [Ask for #277.014.]


View of cliff-bound Mount Avery from the Sixes River Road. [Ask for #277.014.]

There is one page about the Sixes and Elk Rivers:

Sixes River and Elk River 

The Rogue River Area

The Rogue River Gorge is the premier recreation region in the Coast Range, popular with rafters and kayakers. Campers, fishermen, and swimmers drive out onto its extensive gravel bars; further upstream, the cliff-sided gorge splits a major recreation area. Remote corners hide several striking historic sites.

OR: Curry County, Coast Range, Rogue River Area, Bear Camp Coastal Route. Mature Douglas fir forests cover the higher elevations of this notoriously difficult scenic byway [Ask for #274.715.] 
OR: Coos County, Coast Range, Coquille River Drainage, Powers Community, Pioneer Museum, a restored log cabin [Ask for #277.048.]
OR: Coos County, Coast Range, Coquille River Drainage, Powers Community, Pioneer Museum, a restored log cabin [Ask for #277.048.]

There is one page about the Rogue River area:

The Rogue River Area 
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Coos Bay, OR
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