To reach the park from the intersection of Highway 101 and 1st St. in Tillamook, travel north on Highway 101 for 24.4 miles to Necarney City Road on the left. Turn left (west) on Necarney City Road, travel southwesterly for 1.0 miles to Gary Street (continue on the same route with a name change) for 2.0 miles. You will arrive at a 3-way-stop sign. The day use fee kiosk is on the right. From the 3-way-stop travel 0.1 miles south to the main Nehalem Bay State Park parking area with trailheads and restrooms. Much of the birding in the park can be accessed from this parking area.
To access the Nehalem Bay State Park – Boat Ramp (45.68955, -123.93388), travel north from the lot 0.1 miles to the 3-way stop. Turn right (east) travel 0.1 miles to a second parking area, with a boat ramp and restrooms. This is a day use fee area.Directions
Habitat and Birds
Nehalem Bay State Park birding is largely done on the shorebird flats on the east side of the spit and the open ocean beaches on the west. The Nehalem Bay State Park map shows the site layout.
The east side shorebird flats at eBird Hotspot Nehalem Bay SP–Boat Ramp are a good place to start. The bayside mudflat habitat is to the south of the boat ramp. The mudflats are a mix of sand, mud, cobble, and Salicornia shore habitats, that attract a variety of species. This shoreline can be walked southerly as tide permits. The nearby shore area south of the boat ramp can be a good high tide roost for shorebirds.
To reach the open ocean and beach go to the main Nehalem Bay State Park parking area, walk the trail westerly over the dunes. The beach can be walked southerly for about 2 miles to the north jetty of the Nehalem River. This beach is a Snowy Plover Management Area with use restrictions. During nesting season (March 15 – Sep. 15) the area is signed. Walking is restricted to the wet sand. No dogs are allowed (even on a leash). Recent habitat improvement projects have been made in the dune areas to aid Snowy Plover nesting.
The beach is good for Snowy Plover (year-round) and shorebirds. Snow Buntings and longspurs are possible. At the north jetty, check the river channel and jetty rocks for seabirds and rockpipers, including Wandering Tattler in spring and fall migration.
Nehalem spit uplands are mostly coastal dunes and Shore Pine/Sitka Spruce forest habitats. Two trails access these habitats. The Spit Trail (see map) is a gated road heading south from the main Nehalem Bay State Park parking area (described above) to the North Jetty. It passes through a mix of dune and forest habitats and can be used as one segment of a beach or bayside walk to create a loop. The 2-mile bike path (see map) accesses mostly forest habitats with some open areas near the campground and airstrip.
The eBird Hotspot Nehalem Bay SP covers this general area.