This route gives you wonderful views of Nehalem Bay, the estuary, the Nehalem River and the Alder Creek Nature Preserve, with half of the distance hiking on wide, level, shaded old roads. It's a great loop to hike with your dog and a favorite of locals.
No restrooms are available at the trailhead or along the trail.
Park at Tohl Rd and take the old road, now Alder Creek Trail
, across the bridge over the creek, then turn right onto Elk Run Trail
. Step carefully on this narrow track, climbing over logs and hiking on makeshift log bridges over muddy spots and creeks, until the trail breaks out into the open. Follow Elk Run Trail
south and east along the estuary, enjoying the beautiful views of the expansive bay and surrounding mountains. Several benches along the trail will let you sit and take in the view, maybe do some bird-watching.
The trail joins back up with the old road, shaded with trees along the base of the hill, then shortly heads back out to the estuary again. Head south and then east to join up with the old road. Take a right and shortly you'll reach a wide area, bench, and beach on the Nehalem River where kayaks sometimes pull up. This is the turnaround point and the "end" of the trail. Enjoy ripe blackberries in August as you head back the way you came on the old road.
This time, stay right at the fork and follow the old road along the hill. Stay right again where the trail turns to head back out into the estuary, and follow the old road until you reach the closed utility road. Take a left and follow the road towards the small utility building. This will lead you to the end of Alder Creek Trail
, which you can follow back to the parking area. It's a straight shot along the old road and across the bridge back to where you parked.
Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, swordfern, red alder.