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Oregon's secluded Wild Rivers Coast offers some of the state's best scenery and recreation

Samuel H Boardman State Park
Samuel H Boardman State Park

With no direct major highway linkage to the Interstate 5 corridor and a location multiple hours drive from the nearest town over 10,000 people, Oregon’s Wild Rivers Coast is a little less crowded than the rest of the state’s coastline.  A three and a half hour drive from Eugene and nearly a six hour drive from Portland, the region is further from the State's population center than most weekend enthusiasts are willing to travel.  Unfortunately, most people don’t know what they are missing.  Boasting some of the state’s best fishing, scenery, and whitewater opportunities, visiting the region, located between the Sixes River north of Port Orford to the California border, is well worth the long trip.

Sunset from Samuel H Boardman State Park
Jared Siegel

Fishing is the largest tourism draw along the Wild Rivers Coast. Highlighted by the world class Rogue River, the region offers some of the countries best chinook and steelhead angling opportunities in the wild streams which provide the region with its namesake. With prolific fall and spring chinook salmon runs and summer and winter steelhead runs, there are fish to be caught in the Rogue River year round. A favorite among anglers due to their dynamic fight and their willingness to take bait, a lure or a fly, immature steelhead called “half pounders” can be caught in the Rogue July through September. Smaller rivers in the area, including the Sixes, Elk, and Chetco rivers, offer extensive fall Chinook and winter steelhead fisheries. Ocean sport fishing for tuna, lingcod, rockfish and other species is also popular and productive.

Some of Oregon’s most beautiful and rugged coastline is found in a string of state parks along the Wild Rivers Coast. Humbug State Park, located just south of Port Orford, is dominated by the thickly forested Humbug Mountain which rises 1,756 feet directly from the Pacific Ocean. Cape Sebastian State Park, a few miles south of Gold Beach, offers beautiful elevated sunset views. The extensive Samuel H Boardman State Park, located just to the north of Brookings, provides plenty of scenery with access to number of secluded beaches and vistas from numerous high headlands.

Extensive backcountry opportunities for backpackers and hikers await visitors to the Wild Rivers Coast. Opportunities are crowned by the rugged 179,755 acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness area in the adjacent Klamath Mountains. The wilderness area is characterized by deep canyons, rough mountain peaks, and gushing clear mountains streams and is home to broad spectrum of plant species owing to the areas topographical and geological diversity. In 2002 nearly the entire area was burned in the 500,000 acre Biscuit Fire providing visitors a unique opportunity to observe natural ecosystem response to a fire through plant succession. During spring flows the Illinois River Canyon, which incises its way through the wilderness, provides an exciting alternative for experienced white water enthusiasts to the adjacent crowded Wild and Scenic Rogue River section.


  • Chris 5 years ago

    Nice Pics! Love it down there

  • Joe g 5 years ago

    I enjoyed all of the articles so far. Great photos, writing too. Keep them coming.

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