Old Highway 101 Trail

 Humbug Mountain State Park

This trail, is mostly paved (but not open to traffic) and runs along the north side of the park’s campground before veering northwest and dropping down onto the present Highway 101.

I couldn’t find any information about the re-routing of the original 1926 Oregon Coast Highway in this area. However, I can only surmise, from its name and paved surface, that this 5-mile out and back trail once carried traffic along the 363-mile coast of Oregon.

Jeff and I originally planned on hiking the 3-mile out and back Day-Use Trail, circled below, but the trail was unmarked and we could not find any sign of a trail crossing under or over the highway.

According to the Oregon State Parks brochure we picked up at the Visitors Center, this hike meanders along Brush Creek with views of three 100-foot waterfalls and either starts or ends at the only Oregon myrtle grove accessible from U.S. 101.

So, we head back to the Humbug Mountain Campground and look for the Old Highway 101 trailhead which is not easy to find. The Parking Area for the trail is also not marked. (What a bummer! No, what a frustration! The Humbug Mountain State Park brochure needs to seriously be revised! Or, clear signage needs to be added!) Fortunately, I don’t like to give up. Unfortunately, Jeff doesn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm.

As we drive through the campground I notice the campsite of the park hosts and know I can get help from them. But, whoa, I ask Jeff to stop the car so I can run out and talk to the park ranger who is tagging reserved campsites. And all my questions get answered! Yes!!!!!

I find out that the Day-Use Trail is not well maintained, especially since there are only 4 rangers responsible for several state parks along the coast. Also, it is tick season and not a recommended route in June. Plus, since the trail is not a priority, there are overgrown and fallen obstacles blocking the path. (I decide not to mention the signage issue. I’m just glad to know that Jeff and I have not lost our marbles or our map skills!)

So, where’s the Old Highway 101 Trail? She explains how to get to the unmarked area where we can access the trailhead. We follow her directions and park the car and walk up the hill blocked by a gate. Apparently, according to the park map and the ranger, the Day-Use Trail intersects here too, but without a machete, Jeff and I have no clue where this may be!

At long last, our hike begins in a dark and heavily forested section rising steeply to our right.

Twelve different varieties of ferns thrive on this section of the trail, appropriately labeled and aptly named, Fern Trail.

A waterfall cascades from Dry Run Creek.

A small field of delicate pine needles catches my attention.

Looking behind us, dark clouds overshadow our hike.

But, looking ahead, blue skies lead.

Another waterfall, tiny but too beautiful to ignore…

As we pass beyond the campground, a spectacular view of Humbug Mountain and the ocean appears.

And scenic views of the Pacific Ocean tease us along the way.

Here’s what the paved path looks like.

Yes, from the path above the views are amazing!

And flowers pose for a picture…

Before we reach the end of the trail, descending down to Highway 101, we discover a marker, yes! directing us to take a short detour through a narrow path leading us up to a secluded vista.

Along the way I discover a snail moving slowly across my path.

We arrive.

We take in the views.

We reluctantly leave. The snail is gone now, making tracks somewhere in the grass beyond the path. Instead of finding out where Old Highway 101 meets Highway 101, we head back to our car.

And I discover…

A banana slug…

Another snail…

And, on our way back to Port Orford RV Village on Port Orford Loop Road, a deer…

2 thoughts on “Old Highway 101 Trail

  1. Hahahahaha! That derby pine needle growth is called horsetail. It grows in wet areas and it is very old. I want to say prehistoric but don’t remember for sure. Anyway, it’s a pain in the butt. It’s hard to get rid of.

    Like

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