Oregon Wild Hikes: Gwynn Creek and Cummins Creek
Spectacular old-growth along the Oregon Coast, near Cape Perpetua
Gwynn Creek and Cummins Creek
Siuslaw National ForestDifficulty: Moderate
Distance: Multiple options, recommended is a 5.5 to 6 mile loop
Elevation Gain: Moderate
Season: Year round.
Maps: See Siuslaw National Forest
web site for more info
About the Hike
There are several loops that you can do in the Gwynn Creek – Cummins Creek area. Recommended here is the 5.5 mile loop that takes in the Gwynn Creek trail, Cook’s Ridge trail, and discovery loop just east of the Cape Perpetua visitor center. The Gwynn Creek drainage, just north of and adjacent to the Cummins Creek Wilderness, is home to massive old-growth Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, and Western hemlock. Some of the last remaining old-growth forests of the Oregon Coast Range are found on this loop hike that takes in valleys, ridgetops, and tidepools. From the parking area, head north on the coastal trail to a junction with the Gwynn Creek trail (just over the creek) and turn right. The first 2.5 miles is a gradual uphill to the ridgetop. Once up there, turn left for a gradual descent from Cook’s Ridge down to Cook’s Discovery Loop (go either way, both take you to the visitor center). Take in the tidepools on the shore before completing the loop on a little over a mile of the Oregon Coast Trail back to your car. Moderate, 5.5 to 6 mile loop.
Hikes in the Gwynn Creek and Cummins Creek area offer a glimpse of old-growth coastal rain forest--a unique environment that is now extremely rare in Oregon due to reckless logging practices. These trails are located in Siuslaw National Forest, which is today among the most progressive forests in Oregon when it comes to protecting old-growth and roadless wild areas. The Siuslaw does not log in these sensitive environments, and has worked with Oregon Wild to develop a conservation-based thinning program that focuses on areas that have already been impacted by past logging.
Parking is off of Highway 101, north of Florence just a mile or two south of Yachats. For free parking and to do the loop as described above, turn right just north of Neptune State Park at a sign that says “Cummins Creek Trailhaed ¼ mile”. Park at the closest trailhead and head north. Or, do the loop backwards by parking at the Cape Perpetua visitor center where there are restrooms but a $5 day use fee.