Tillamook Forest Center (45.585845, -123.560432) TEMPORARILY CLOSED – Scheduled to reopen March 2023 is a visitor center managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The site is located on Highway 6 at mile 22.3. It is about 22 miles east of Tillamook, and 28 miles west of Banks. The entry is signed on the highway. This is a no-fee parking area for the visitor center, trailheads, and restrooms. The visitor center and select trails are ADA-accessible. Entry to the visitor center building has a suggested donation fee of $5.00.
Jones Creek Day Use Area (45.588073, -123.555544) is located about 0.5 mile east of the Tillamook Forest Center. To reach the site from the Forest Center exit left (east) onto Highway 6. Travel about 0.4 mile to Jones Creek Road. Turn left (north) and travel 0.1 mile to the signed entrance on the left. The site has a no-fee parking area, trailheads, river access, and restrooms.
Smith Homestead Day Use Area (45.587690, -123.552733) is located along the above route to Jones Creek. The signed entry is on the right just north of the intersection of Highway 6 and Jones Creek Rd. The site is a no-fee area with a small event center, trailheads, river access, and restrooms.
Tillamook State Forest has many miles of logging roads and hiking trails that access state-managed conifer forest habitats. Forest maps are available at the Tillamook Forest Center and the Tillamook State Forest office in Tillamook, Oregon.
Tillamook Forest Center – Oregon Birding Trail: Choose the Oregon Coast Birding Trail, click on the North Coast tab and go to section 32.
Habitat and Birds
This Vicinity Map of the Tillamook Forest Center gives a general overview of the sites listed below.
Tillamook Forest Center has access to conifer forest and riparian habitats. A 250 ft. long pedestrian suspension bridge over the Wilson River has views of the river and riparian habitats. From the bridge American Dipper (summer), Spotted Sandpiper (spring), and Common Mergansers (spring) can be viewed. Trails at the Forest Center are good for forest species. The site has a 40 ft. tall replica forest fire lookout tower. This tower offers a “canopy tower” like birding experience. A visit in spring can yield near-eye-level looks and photos of warblers.
Jones Creek Day Use Area has access to the Wilson River, riparian habitat, and forest trails.
Smith Homestead Day Use Area has access to the Wilson River, riparian, meadow, and forest habitats. The Meadow Trail is 0.25 miles long (see map). It ends at the historic homestead meadow area. This trail has good forest birding. Red-breasted Sapsuckers have been seen on the old fruit trees in the meadow area.
Tillamook State Forest is a 364,000-acre area of conifer forest habitats, much of which is intensively managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. There is good birding in Tillamook Forest. Species include Sooty Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Mountain Quail, Northern Pygmy-owl, Varied Thrush, and Canada Jay. Migrant and nesting passerines include Hermit, Black-throated Gray, and MacGillivray warblers. Townsend’s Solitaire is found on the higher ridges.
For travel safety, it is best to bird the Tillamook State Forest on weekends or when there is no logging traffic. Use due caution driving these forest roads.