Cascade Head is a large scenic area located in southern Tillamook county it has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations and is also protected as the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area by the Forest Service. Portions of Cascade Head are owned by The Nature Conservancy – Cascade Head Preserve.
The primary access points are:
The Cascade Head Trail – South Trailhead (45.041899, -123.992232) is accessed from the intersection of Highways 101 and 18 near Otis, Oregon. Drive northerly on Highway 101 for 1.0 miles to North Three Rocks Road, turn left (westerly) and continue 2.2 miles to Knight’s Landing County Park (Lincoln County) parking lot, restrooms, and trailhead. Dogs are prohibited on the trail by Nature Conservancy. It is about 2.1 miles of relatively steep and uneven trail to the summit with about a 1300-foot elevation gain. County listers note that the trailhead is in Lincoln County however the trail enters Tillamook County about 0.3 miles up the trail.
-Temporarily Closed due to landslide- The Nature Conservancy Cascade Head Preserve – Upper Trailhead (45.063542, -123.978991) is located on the Siuslaw National Forest it is accessed from the same intersection of Highways 101 and 18 near Otis, Oregon. Drive northerly on Highway 101 for miles to Forest Road 1861 on the left, turn left (westerly) and continue 2.3 miles to The Nature Conservancy Cascade Head parking area and trailhead. Note: Road 1861 has a seasonal closure from January 1 through July 15 each year for the protection of threatened and endangered species. Dogs are prohibited by The Nature Conservancy. No restrooms are available. Note: Forest Road 1861 is a narrow single-lane gravel road with turnouts suitable for automobiles if driven with caution. After parking is an approximately 1.6-mile walk to the summit of Cascade Head along a wide low gradient trail.
-Temporarily Closed due to landslide- The Hart’s Cove Trailhead (45.06461, -123.99516) is reached by continuing 0.9 miles on Forest Road 1861 from the Nature Conservancy Cascade Head Preserve – Upper Trailhead described above. No restrooms are available. Note: Road 1861 has a seasonal closure from January 1 through July 15 each year for the protection of threatened and endangered species. It is a 2.6-mile hike with a 900-foot change in elevation to Hart’s Cove.
A trail map can be viewed here.
In addition to the trails described above the area can be birded from two roads. Forest Road 1861 (Temporarily Closed due to landslide) described above and from the terminus of Savage Rd. (45.045386, -124.000332) at the Salmon River estuary.
Oregon Birding Trail: Choose the Oregon Coast Birding Trail, click on the North Coast tab and go to section 42
Habitat and Birds
Cascade Head is a scenic coastal headland. Its varied and protected habitats include old growth Sitka Spruce/Western Hemlock forests, coastal prairie grasslands, and Rocky coastal cliffs.
Birds found in the general area include Peregrine Falcon, Band-tailed Pigeon, Alcids, including nesting Marbled Murrelets, Great Horned Owl, Northern Pygmy-owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Barred Owl and historically Spotted Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Hutton’s Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Western Bluebird, Varied Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Hermit Warbler. American Pipit and Lapland Longspur have been found in fall at the summit of Cascade Head.