We traveled to Boise early April 2021—Spring Break. My co-traveler wanted to spend a week in Boise. I wanted to explore the Oregon Trail and the Sacajawea Trail for later posts. But Boise itself has a lot to explore, so we did what we could in so short a time, trying to balance our complementary and competing interests.
Here’s our itinerary as it worked out:
Day 1—travel to Boise via I-84 with a few stops along the way at Historic sites
Stayed at Hampton Inn & Suites Boise-Downtown
Late supper at Chandler’s
Day 2—within walking distance of our hotel:
Idaho State Museum
Lunch at MOD Pizza
Wandering about town
Day 3—points of interest: walking and driving
Idaho State Capitol building
Fort Boise Park
5 Guys burgers, Meraki Greek Street Food
Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial & Boise River Greenbelt
Day 4—to the east of Boise
Glenn’s Ferry & Three Island Crossing (Oregon Trail)
1000 Springs (Snake River Canyon)
Twin Falls Arctic Circle
Shoshone Falls (Snake River Canyon)
Blowout near Mountain Home :-O Tri-County Towing changed our tire, saving us towing all the way back to Boise, followed us as far as his exit to see we were ok
Day 5—to the west of downtown Boise
(flat fix at Les Schwab—we were there at opening, they were friendly and fast)
Parma/Old Fort Boise
Farewell Bend OR (Oregon Trail)
Day 6—head for home, mostly I-84
Hawkins Pac-Out for lunch—family-owned traditional fast food, including finger steaks
Fast Eddy’s—everything we needed to start on our way: food, gas, oil, car wash
trip home via I-84, with a side journey to Sacajawea Historical State Park, Pasco WA
My travel helper is interested in owning a carwash combination business, so we checked out 5 car washes in 5 days! I might as well review those here as well, at bottom.
I’ll try to include some other options for things to do in Boise ID and places to stay. And I intend to write separate posts for the Snake River Gorge/Canyon, Baker/La Grande/Pendleton, the Oregon Trail, and the Sacajawea (Lewis & Clark) Trail, so I will just make brief mention of those here.
It was a glorious day for birds of prey soaring the skies of Oregon City as I traveled I-205 toward I-5, on my way to Detroit Lake OR. Crews were still clearing winter storm damage (4-2-21), and traffic moved forward haltingly. Things improved south of Wilsonville, I took a little detour at Woodburn Outlet Mall, and about Keizer I noted that I was halfway between the pole and the equator, at 45 degrees north latitude.
Eventually urban ‘scapes gave way to rural lands: fields, farms, and forested hills. It’s 46 miles SE from Salem to Detroit Lake on Hwy 22, and after 26 of those miles Hwy 22 comes to Mehama, where the forest damage changed from winter storm to the wildfires of summer 2020. It was so real and present that it became a wonder that there were any homes still standing, though some were obviously rebuilt. From Mehama Hwy 22 follows the North Santiam River up into the Cascade Mountains: altitude at Salem is 157’, at Mehama 633’, Mill City 840’, Big Cliff Dam 1214’, and Detroit Lake OR is 1555’ above sea level with mountains all around. It’s a wondrous drive.
The quaint Gingerbread House is first to catch your eye as you drive along Hwy 22 and reach Mehama. Friendly folk there said previous owners made their own gingerbread and served it up with vanilla ice cream, something to drive a craving! You can get the usual breakfast and fast food, as well as elk and bison, their facebook page says.
There’s a bus stop on the street behind The Gingerbread House, and from there you’ll be facing Evelyn Joe’s Farmhouse Café featuring espressos, lattes, frappes, smoothies, pastries—gluten free, dairy free, and vegan offered as well, next to the Ace Hardware.
Bus Route 30X: Santiam/Salem Express https://www.cherriots.org/route/30X/?direction=1
If you like retro architecture, the old Mehama Country Grocery still stands, much worse for wear. It doesn’t take a lot of time to explore Mehama, population around 300.
Just before you cross the bridge over the North Santiam River toward the sister city of Lyons, there’s an opportunity to dine at the Dragon Chinese Kitchen.
The bridge has a barrier so that pedestrians can fish from it. Take the first right turn after the bridge, and another quick right down to the river, the Lyons-Mehama County Park offers somewhat rough boat and fishing access to the river. https://linnparks.com/parks/lyons-mehama-boat-ramp/
North Santiam State Recreation Area--just east of Mehama
Several recreation areas and parks along the way were still closed from the 2020 wildfire season. This was one of them. Too bad . . . from their website it looks like they have (or had) some nice facilities, including accessible ones. Hit the "Tour Accessible Features" button to see informative photos.
Fishermen’s Bend Recreation Site--29 mi east of Salem, 1.5 mi west of Mill City
This recreation site was also closed when I traveled Hwy 22 early April 2021. It wasn’t hard to see why.
Mill City OR--pop about 1900
Turn south off Hwy 22 at the 7-11 and follow the road to cross the bridge over the Santiam River. There's a nice little place to picnic with a view, and an accessible fishing pier. Continue south on 1st Ave to Fairview. East on Fairview is family friendly Kimmel Park on the south side of the river. The quickest way to get back to the Hwy is to retrace your journey.
Linn county parks https://linnparks.com/
Marion county communities https://www.co.marion.or.us/Pages/about.aspx
Gates OR--pop 500 + elk, 3 mi east of Mill City
Minto Park--1 mi east of Gates
Property of Marion county, it was also closed from the 2020 wildfire damage. Otherwise, it has (or had) picnic tables, ADA restroom, hiking, fishing, water activities. Day use only. No smoking or alcohol.
The Maples rest area--just past Minto Park, less than 2 mi east of Gates
Gets mixed reviews, depending users. The only rest stop between Salem and Sisters OR.
Packsaddle Park--2 mi east of Gates
Was closed due to wildfire damage. Otherwise, it’s open year round, has picnic tables, ADA restroom, fishing, hiking, boat ramp. No smoking or alcohol in Marion county parks.
Niagara Heights Waterwheel--slightly west of the Niagara Park turn-off, on the north side
Seems to have survived . . .
https://www.koin.com/news/special-reports/water-wheel-near-gates-will-soon-keep-on-turnin/ 1.5 min video
Niagara Park--40 mi SE of Salem OR, 7 mi east of Mill City, on the south side
Also closed from wildfire damage. It used to be open year round, had picnic tables, hiking, ADA restroom, drinking fountain. Day use only, no smoking or alcohol in Marion county parks.
There was a hike to the remains of an old dam, and view of the Sevenmile Creek Falls.
Little Sweden--37359 N Santiam Hwy SE
I remember seeing a wide spot in the road with an old gas station of historic interest, a small sign on the other side of the road . . . I saw a good photo of it at https://www.trulia.com/p/or/gates/37359-n-santiam-hw-se-gates-or-97346--2162952092
The canyon is narrowing, the river running over rocks to get down to the level, streams rush down the upper side of the canyon, falling over themselves to cascade into the river. Meanwhile the road ascends into the mountains, and reminders along the route are signs that in winter chains are necessary . . .
And then you reach . . .
Big Cliff Dam
You can park, make a pitstop, walk or drive across the dam. Barriers give fishers place to hang a line or two over the dam. It's accessible fishing, though from a chair some assistance would be helpful. On the other side of the dam the road goes on up into the hills, possibly not suitable for just any vehicle or driver who is not familiar with the area.
Detroit Lake State Recreation Area
The Mongold day use area, with the boat ramp, inaccessible picnic tables, boat ramp, and rocky shore was open, and plenty of parking was available in early April so soon after things began to open up. Detroit Lake State Park (camping and other amenities) further on wasn’t open yet, but John Williams made a great video of recreation at Detroit Lake as part of the Accessible Adventure series a few years ago. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6Da8afWbOc&ab_channel=ForestService
The ranger station nearly across from the campground was not open late in the day when I arrived, but John has that covered too. Somehow I missed the Mt Jefferson viewpoint ☹. More info, including accessibility and maps:
The devastation of Detroit OR from the wildfires of 2020 was so real and present when I was there early April 2021. It's a memory not to be forgotten, but can't hold the future captive. I truly wish them healing, and whatever they need to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
Detroit Lake Marina was on Breitenbush Rd just off Hwy 22 (N. Santiam Hwy. West of Detroit City Park is Kane’s Marina. I’m not sure how they fared. Take Detroit Rd South from Santiam Ave to get to Detroit Flats Day Use Area. Continue through town on Hwy 22 to Santiam Flats Campground, and a little further is Blowout Rd, which leads to Hoover Campground, Cove Creek Campground, and Southshore Campground. If instead of turning off on Blowout Road you travel further on Hwy 22, you’ll reach Idanha.
Hwy 30 is the shorter route to Long Beach from Longview WA--Cross back over the Columbia River at Astoria
Turn west from the north side of Astoria-Megler Bridge, travel Hwy 101 and pass through or stop in the historic, now tiny, town of Chinook WA, pop. less than 500. For a tiny bit of history ahead of your trip, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinook%2C_Washington
A few miles further on Hwy 101 brings you to Ilwaco. For a town of only about 1000 residents, it has quite a lot to offer. For more info, see https://www.visitlongbeachpeninsula.com/tips-tools/villages/ilwaco/
Day 1 was perfect at the beach--Long Beach WA has a half mile boardwalk along the coast with 3 multiple family sized picnic decks. Nice rolling in a wheelchair, interesting interpretive signs, but not really great views of the ocean from a sitting position. The 9 mile nicely paved Discovery Trail follows the coastline more or less, but the ocean is not in view for a person in a wheelchair. It's a great hike, roll/stroll, or bike for exercise. Lots of sandy trails lead from it to the beach. There's quite a lot to see and do beside the beach at Long Beach, check out https://www.visitlongbeachpeninsula.com/things-to-do
Seaview--south end of Long Beach WA . . . there's a paved path between the beach and businesses, not too long.
Note: Just north of the turn-off for Seaview beach access, Hwy 101 veers east on 40th (Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau is on the corner there), and going forward you are on Hwy 103, aka Pacific Way.
Sid Snyder Drive beach access, is next north of Seaview, and the south end of accessible Boardwalk.
There's a Go-Cart place the corner of Sid Snyder Dr and Pacific Way, and the World Kite Museum is west of it on Sid Snyder. Washington State International Kite Festival is held at Long Beach the 3rd full week of August annually.
The Boardwalk, Long Beach WA--abt a half mile long, wheelchair accessible, but shufflers watch for nails sticking up a little, and somewhat rough surface.
Bolstad Ave--the north end of the Boardwalk at Long Beach WA: city hall, accommodations, restaurants . . .
Some photos of downtown Long Beach WA
More about the Villages of the Long Beach peninsula, WA
Day 2 was a WA state park free day, so that's when we explored Cape Disappointment (which was not at all disappointing), the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and other like venues.
Dismal Nitch/Megler rest area--after you cross the Columbia River north from Astoria OR on the Astoria-Megler Bridge, turn east just a little way to this picturesque place for picnic or a pitstop. The accessible family type restroom has its own exterior entrance, separate from the men's and women's on each end. Every picnic table is set with the view in mind, they are on pavement, and there is a nice walk all along with interesting interpretive signs. Continue strolling/rolling west on a paved trail leading to a Lewis & Clark monument. It's worth seeing. http://columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/megler.html
Middle Village/Station Camp Park--head west from Dismal Nitch, or the north end of the Astoria-Megler Bridge
Soon you'll see a raised deck, a quaint old church, and another raised deck at Middle Village/Station Camp. It's worth getting out and taking a walk along the looped trail and the raised decks (though perhaps morning or evening is better than mid-day when it's hot). You can learn about the native peoples, settlers, and the Lewis and Clark experience when they camped near the site. Replica canoes offer a comparison of different styles created by different peoples. You can look through a telescope at labeled points of interest. Cool 3-D bronze map. Here's a July 2020 article about the park from the Chinook Observer newspaper https://www.chinookobserver.com/life/middle-village---station-camp/article_89b70a92-bc97-11ea-9a48-df88993eb096.htm
Fort Columbia Historical State Park--not far (NW) up Hwy 101 from the north end of the Astoria-Megler (and just before reaching the village of Chinook WA), you might miss the turn-off for this park going north, as it comes right after a tunnel. Although the Interpretive Center was closed for COVID, it was an interesting place to drive through, view the views, picnic if you like . . . It's on a very steep hillside, but a wheelchair could managesome areas . You might see more from your vehicle than a wheelchair. Hikers can explore considerably more. The able-bodied can arrange to stay, and there's an entertainment venue. More info at https://parks.state.wa.us/506/Fort-Columbia
Cape Disappointment State Park--go straight west through Ilwaco WA
https://parks.state.wa.us/486/Cape-Disappointment includes a slide show
Beard's Hollow Overlook--photos cannot do this justice. Great spot to lunch and look, if you like. No restroom.
Beard's Hollow Trailhead--nice paved trail through the forest; lengthy hike to get to the ocean view for a wheelchair, off-shoots are shorter for those who can hike.
North Head Lighthouse--follow the signs/maps. An accessible place to explore, with accessible restrooms and interpretive signs, but a manual wheelchair will need a pushy person to ascend the hill. Bell's View Trail is only a quarter mile long (one way), right off the parking lot--said to be easy and paved, but doesn't show that it's ADA. Looks like it has a great viewing platform at the end. The Lighthouse Keepers Loop Trail is half mile paved loop and is marked ADA (at least the south section). 5 min video Long Beach & lighthouses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KVMYgERk0g&ab_channel=DaveDurkee
The Boat Launch--there's a convenience store at the intersection to the boat launch and day areas/campground.
Picnic and Camping--pretty well all flat; not all roads created equal
Waikiki Beach just down the road from the picnic area; not to be missed!
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center--literally up the narrow road from the picnic and camping area
https://parks.state.wa.us/187/Cape-Disappointment includes short slide show
short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD3x5koS57k&ab_channel=JoAnnaWeeks
I'm not finished with this post, but I'm going to publish it now and keep working on it . . .
Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife—Easy Angling site, list of places, amenities, what to fish
I have organized this post thus:
Rivers & Streams
At the Coast (including rivers, lakes, & the ocean)
Blue Lake Regional Park--Fairview OR
If you need to entertain little ones or big ones while your disabled friend/loved one fishes, Blue Lake is a great option. It’s a large park with many family and group friendly features. It does cost to park ($5/car is an inexpensive way to spend a day), but it’s a METRO park, so once a month it is free. To see photos and review, scroll down at
Horseshoe Lake Park, Woodland WA
Woodland hosts a yearly kids’ fishing derby in April, ordinarily. The lake is stocked with trout and has warm water fishing year-round. Getting on the accessible fishing dock looked a little iffy when we checked it out. It’s a family friendly park with picnic tables, covered picnic area, playground, no-wake boating, restrooms, skateboard park. No parking fee. Photos, review, other links at
Lake Sacajawea Park, Longview WA
A wonderful family friendly park, with accessible fishing piers. The city hosts a kids’ fishing derby and other fun events in usual years. Rainbow & brown trout are stocked Jan-May, and rainbow broodstock are planted late winter. Warm water fishing year-round. Street parking free; handicapped parking by restrooms. Quiet neighborhood except hospital at east end.
For photos, a review of the park, more info and links, scroll to the bottom of
Rivers and Streams
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland OR
A great place to see the cherry blossoms about late March, and to walk or bike the approximately 1.5 mi long paved trail that runs right along the river so close that you can throw a fishing line over. The trail is wide enough to accommodate lots of people use, including picnicking. It’s very accessible, but you might need a helper to reel in your catch up over the barrier to falling in the river. I happened to meet the guy pictured with his fish above at Salish Ponds! It was great to chat a bit. He caught something big enough to break his line, and I had hoped to get a picture of him with a sturgeon! There’s a caution, “Don’t eat the fish.”
The waterfront park hosts several public events each year, has historic venues, the Japanese American Memorial, fountains for children to play in, others for drinking, restroom said to be accessible, grassy areas, a variety of restaurants within a half mile, and Portland’s Saturday Market is just across the street spring through Christmas. Chinatown/Old Town are only 2-3 blocks to the west at the north end, but you might have to make an L to get there on foot. The park is about a quarter mile walk from/to public transit (regional bus systems and MAX train}. Pay to park lots are within a half mile, but pretty expensive. The south end of the park is only 3-6 blocks from the center of Portland, and there are some very nice hotels bordering the south part of the park.
Rooster Rock State Park OR (Columbia River)
The website for this family & group oriented day use fee park says it has accessible fishing, but I didn’t find it in person or on the map. Further exploration required. More info, photos, review, and links: scroll down at
Steamboat Landing, Washougal WA (Columbia River)
Depending on the seasonal water level, the ramp down to the fishing pier on the river can be pretty steep; a helper is advised. It is steel grate, and signs warn of slippery sliding. The landing (no longer used for steamboats) is just off Hwy 14 on the north side of the Columbia. It has accessible restrooms, interpretive sign, views of the river, rather a rough sloping parking area not easily managed by manual wheelchairs, though there is a nice flat concrete disabled access to the ramp down to the fishing pier. For further info, photos, review, and links, scroll down at
Cascade Boat Launch, Stevenson WA (Columbia River)
A nice little spot to picnic with a view, launch watercraft, or fish off the dock in Stevenson WA. There are more parks and paved trails along the river in Stevenson, as well as other things to do and see. Scroll down to Stevenson (et al) for more info, photos, reviews, and links:
WDFW wheelchair Fishing Access,
Kalama River WA
Rather minimal facilities could be improved upon. The disabled parking place is paved, right next to the narrow paved path to access the river. When the water level is high it probably reaches the path. When it’s low, the river is past a cobble field. There’s a small vault toilet that was grossly lacking care when we were there. But if you are in a wheelchair and really want to fish the Kalama River, it’s at least something. The address is 1327 Kalama River Rd, Kalama WA—exit 32 off I-5. It’s easy to miss, so watch on the right as you travel east past Mahaffey’s campground. If you come to the Fallert Creek Fish Hatchery, you have gone too far. Fishing info:
Diamond Lake and Toketee Lake OR
Not far from Crater Lake, Diamond Lake offers a lot of water fun, beside fishing. Accommodations include a resort as well as a National Forest Campground. John Williams’ “Accessible Adventures” has two superb videos that feature Diamond Lake:
Accessible Adventures: Diamond Lake in the Umpqua National Forest
Accessible Adventures: Rogue - Umpqua National Scenic Byway
Recreation.gov, Diamond Lake
Fishing info https://www.bestfishinginamerica.com/or-toketee-lake-clearwater-forebay-fishing-oregon.html
Detroit Lake OR
take Hwy 22 from Salem OR
Detroit Dam holds back the waters of the Santiam River to create Detroit Lake. A road across the top of the dam provides for one-way vehicular traffic and has a barrier so pedestrians can throw a line over and fish the lake side. A person in a chair might find a helper useful, as the bulwark to keep you safe from falling in the lake is high enough to complicate the action of fishing.
A little further up the road is Detroit Lake State Recreation Area. It was still closed from the 2020 wildfire damage when I was there early April 2021, but their site shows a couple photos of their accessible fishing dock. Click on the “Tour Accessible Features” button at https://www.detroitlakeoregon.org/ Under “things to do” you can find fish species and a 3-day fishing derby generally held in May.https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/driving-to-detroit-lake-or
Trillium Lake near Mt Hood OR, website says accessible fishing
The US Forest Service site below includes an “Accessible Adventures” video
Estacada Lake (Milo McIver State Park), OR
Access Estacada Lake inside Milo McIver State Park. It has a wonderful accessible fishing pier that unfortunately is down a steep winding, though paved, path. For a manual wheelchair bring a helper. The park is lovely, with lots of family friendly amenities, and the drive to and fro through the countryside. There are accessible restrooms (the one by the fishing pier is a vault toilet), boat ramps for those that like to fish from a boat (as well as other water sports; you can rent some watercraft by the boat ramp), and stream fishing that requires maneuvering cobbles. A hatchery is within the park but was closed for COVID. Fee area (day use $5/car), accessible camping (including showers) can be reserved.
For more info, photos, review, & links, see
Mayer Lake, Mayer State Park, OR-- exit 76 off I-84
Near The Dalles OR, Mayer State Park is said (on its website) to have accessible fishing, beside accessible picnicking, vault toilets, and boat ramp. Not shown as accessible are beach access, flush restrooms, swimming, and viewpoint. A day-use fee is charged. (3-5-21 update): accessible fishing is an error on the website. When you take exit 76 and cross the RR tracks to the right you’ll eventually reach the east end with quite a lot of parking--obviously very popular (see link below for more info). Turn left after you cross the RR tracks to reach Mid Mayer, which doesn’t have a sign saying so, but it’s where the boat launch and accessible vault toilet is. No fishing from the boat launch, the sign says. Picnic tables are on a stiff and rough hill for wheelchairs. West end didn't look too wheelchair friendly.
Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast is only a couple hours SW of Portland via Hwy 18, on a good day and at a good time. If you travel in traffic, expect to add considerable time. Incidentally, I think it’s interesting that you cross the 45th parallel on Hwy 101 between NE East Devils Lake Rd and NE West Devils Lake Rd, Lincoln City OR. There’s another marker in Keizer OR, one near The Oregon Garden in Silverton OR, clear across the state on Hwy 97 between Biggs & Bend, and again in the Bake Valley. Of course, the imaginary line doesn’t just dot its way across the state, but it’s a bit mind-bending to connect those dots in your brain as you travel in space/time.
It’s been my goal for some time to go crabbing in Lincoln City because they have crabbing and clamming clinics in the summer, and I was always hoping for a glass float they sprinkle on the beaches for Finders Keepers. These were cancelled for COVID in 2020, but then I was able to go winter wave watching Jan 2021. I still hope to go crabbing there in 2021 but decided to post now and add later.
Below are some photos along the way.
Scroll down to see a list of places I went once I got to Lincoln City
A note about HB Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor and the Drift Creek Covered Bridge on the way to or from Lincoln City. Westbound on Hwy 18 in the Van Duzer Corridor is Van Duzer State Park. Eastbound is the Van Duzer Wayside rest area. Whichever way you are traveling, take the one on your side of the road, rather than dangerously crossing the highway. Only 13 miles east of Lincoln City, each offers restrooms, picnic tables, parking, and some paved paths.
Not far east of Lincoln City is the inconspicuous N. Bear Creek Rd going south off Hwy 18. Travel about a mile up the road to the sign for the Drift Creek Covered Bridge. It has a little history, as you can read below.
Lincoln City to Depoe Bay
Traveling south on Hwy 101 barely below town (technically still part of Lincoln City), over an arm of the Siletz River, on the west side of the road is the pull-out Siletz Bay Vista Point with a lovely look at Siletz Bay and the bay side of the Historic Town of Taft (now incorporated into Lincoln City)—where the mouth of the river opens wide before touching a tongue to the Pacific Ocean past the Salishan spit. At the Vista Point are signs about Native Americans, exploration, and Oregon geology: the earthquake and tsunami of 1700. A pretty little sea stack with its lone little Charlie Brown tree hanging on to dear life adds to the romance of the situation, especially at sunset.
Hardly south of Siletz Bay Vista Point is Siletz Bay Parking, also on the west side of the road, with a nice wide concrete walk and telling signs of the past. The lowlands of the bay offer wetland wildlife (at the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge in particular) and at low tide expansive mudflats for clamming. The adjacent tiny community of Cutler includes the Josephine Young Memorial Park on its western beach of the bay, with a restroom marked accessible, maintained by Lincoln City. Cutler Wetlands trails map at
Salishan Spa & Golf Resort (including a Lodge, restaurant, shops, tennis, over 250 acres, and a small lake) signals an upscale recreational area. The next road to the right, minimally marked “Gleneden Beach Loop”, offers a way to drive up the Salishan spit if you go straight forward on Salishan Dr. At Salishan Middle is a small parking area, and it looks like an access to the beach. Keep driving north on Salishan Dr to the parking lot at the end for more access to the long stretching Salishan Beach on the bay or the ocean. Apparently there are sea lions basking in the sun, which need to be left to bask unbothered. Further south off Gleneden Beach loop is WorldMark Drive, leading to WorldMark Gleneden timeshares right on the Pacific Ocean.
South Fogarty Creek entrance leads to a restroom (that was closed for COVID when I was there), picnic tables, and a reservable gazebo that could offer shelter for your lunch. A sign with a phone number might come in handy if you need to check its availability in a hurry.
Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint is a tremendous place to see the ocean and coast, as well as to stop for a break from travel and/or a picnic. Although the flushing restrooms have a wheelchair sign, when I looked inside on a previous visit it was less than friendly to wheelchairs. This time when I went some of the picnic spots were soggy or in a puddle, so I didn’t get out of my vehicle, but the crashing waves were great even from the car. See my review as part of a previous trip whale watching in Depoe Bay, as well as info from Oregon State Parks, which says it’s also a great whale watching place year-round.
What makes Depoe Bay so great is that right downtown Hwy 101 nearly touches the ocean. There’s a walkway with limited picnic tables and a wall right along it, and the whale watching center. For my previous review of Depot Bay, see https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/whale-watching-at-depoe-bay. This time it was a wet, windy day, so I stayed in the car, but still had great views of the splashing and crashing waves. If you go during winter, wear warm and waterproof clothes!
Google Maps shows Depoe Bay stretching from Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint on the north, almost to Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint on the south. Between those two:
Like many small cities and towns, Lincoln City is largely linear along the Highway. It has overtaken tiny towns along the way, which have become its districts. But like many others, there’s more to see and do here than at first glance driving through. Below are places I visited and here’s an excellent brochure:
East Devils Lake Rd & Devils Lake Blvd
Lincoln City Outlets is a nice outdoor square for people who like to shop. It does have some slope for those who are pushing themselves. Beside the parking lot, there’s a parking garage, all free as far as I could see. Enter from SE East Devils Lake Rd off Hwy 101. See https://www.lincolncityoutlets.com/
Continue east on SE East Devils Lake Rd as it becomes NE East Devils Lake Rd to East Devils Lake State Park/Rec Area. There are picnic tables, trails, restrooms, fire pit, a boat ramp and a fishing dock that looked accessible, but without a helper I didn’t get out to try it. Their website talks about both the East Devils Lake State Park (day use), and the campground off 6th St. It’s not always clear which is which. Check the photos accompanying this post.
If you continue north on NE East Devils Lake Rd, you will reach Hwy 101 at the eastern edge of Lincoln City. Turn west toward the city, and if you turn north at the first traffic light you can get to the Chinook Winds Golf Resort off NE Devils Lake Blvd. Turn at NE 50th St to see the beautiful landscape of the golf course. From Hwy 101 I got a glimpse of an elk herd munching on the course, but when I drove to the end of NE 50th I could not see them. When the resort is open it might be great to take a golf cart out to see them if you time it right.
West Devils Lake Rd, 22nd St, and 14th St
If you turn south at the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy 101 and NE Devils Lake Blvd/NE West Devils Lake Rd, you will come to NE Holmes Rd, where you can turn east to Holmes Rd Park with a boat ramp, fishing dock, restrooms. Further south of that on NE West Devils Lake Rd is a pull-out marked Friends of the Wildwood Open Space, from whence you can hike in the well treed and brushed “open” space (trail map available, link below). The widely paved “Head to Bay Trail” runs by there, from the Community Center and along NE West Devils Lake Rd. The plan has been a 7 mi trail from Cascade Head, to the Siletz Bay. Lincoln City has preserved several open spaces, for which they have a nice map.
Traveling west from Regatta Park, NE West Devils Lake Rd becomes NE 14th St, and passes by Spring Lake Open Space, which offers hiking and an accessible paved trail. To get to the parking (w/an accessible space), turn north off 14th at the unassuming NE Port Ave. Not much further west on 14th you get back to Hwy 101; you’ll be facing Prehistoric, a substantial rocks/fossils/minerals shop. You’re in the Historic Oceanlake section of Lincoln City: downtown. Lovers of earth’s treasures also check out Rock Your World at SW 32nd & US Highway 101.
Downtown & Logan Rd
If you choose to turn north at 14th and Hwy 101, driving through town, eventually you’ll see Lighthouse Square on the west side of the highway. Clue: there’s a big lighthouse structure (not big for a lighthouse, but as a landmark), and it’s on NE Logan Rd. Take a left at Lighthouse Square onto Logan Rd—Safeway and Joann Fabrics & Crafts with other shops are on one side, and Grocery Outlet, McMenamins, and 60s Diner, and other shops on the other side. (60s Diner reviewed under “Other Hotels and Restaurants” at bottom of this post). Handy if you want to pick up a picnic or a craft 😉 to take to Road’s End State Rec Site.
On the way to Road’s End State Rec Site, off Logan Rd is Chinook Winds Casino Resort. You’ll see the sign. It was closed for COVID when I was there, but it’s right on the ocean and looks like it might be a great place for a wave action vacation or a one-arm action get-away. Lincoln County Transit as well as NW Connector buses stop there. Chinook Winds Casino Resort advertises a full-service health club, hotel swimming pool/sauna/spa & laundry, play palace for kids, video arcade, free bus (normally). Restaurants on-site.
Beach Access Points, Parks, Hotels on the Northwest Side of Lincoln City
Beach access points
From NW 40th St go south on NW 40th Place to NW Jetty Ave. All along this avenue you catch tantalizing glimpses of the ocean. At NW 35th Court is Grace Hammond Beach Access, with a small parking area (including a handicapped spot), and a short paved trail to a bench overlooking the ocean.
If you want to take a little detour to an acre of rhododendrons, various shrubs, and perennials, beside a library, gift shop, tours & events, Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy is just a few blocks east of NW Jetty at 1931 NW 33rd St. https://www.conniehansengarden.com/
Wecoma Park at NW Jetty Ave and 31st Place has a small parking lot, restrooms marked accessible, fun fenced playground, and accessible picnic table on pavement. Surftides Hotel is a whole complex, including a restaurant and tennis court, on NW Jetty Ave, but there are many accommodations of every sort for every taste along the ocean in Lincoln City. https://www.surftideslincolncity.com/
Persist going south: 26th St. Beach Access has parking, restrooms marked accessible, bench & picnic table on pavement overlooking the ocean, a drinking fountain, perhaps a foot wash, and stair access to the beach. NW 21st St Beach Access is right next to Seahorse Oceanfront Lodging. http://seahorsemotel.com/ This beach access has a tiny parking area (w/handicapped spot) and steps down to the beach. Still a nice view of the ocean.
From the 21st St Beach Access, go south on NW Harbor Ave (with lots more ocean front accommodations), to NW 15th St. Next to the Seagull Beachfront Motel is a steep hill beach access where you can drive on the beach, if you have the right vehicle and skills, and follow the rules. At the beginning of the hill is a warning sign “Soft Sand”. There’s no paved turn-around at the bottom. You can walk down the ramp road or the steps alongside it. The restrooms, marked accessible, are about halfway down the hill, and there’s a bench in front of them in case you need a rest or just want to enjoy the view from there. At the bottom of the hill is a is another warning, “Deep Sand, Drive with Caution” and a sign prohibiting ATVs on the beach. The only parking down there is on the sand. http://www.seagullmoteloregon.com/
The south end of NW Harbor Ave T’s into NW 12th St, from which you can turn south again on NW Inlet Ave, which has several other ocean front accommodations, and ends at Kyllo’s, a popular restaurant for which you should have reservations. Alternatively, you can go east on 14th, 13th, 12th, or 6th to get back to Hwy 101.
NE 6th St south to 35th, more beach access & points of interest
Heading east of Hwy 101 on NE Sixth Dr will quickly take you to Devils Lake State Recreation/Devils Lake State Park, where there’s camping and access to the SW end of Devils Lake. It was emphatically closed when I was there, and had a lot of flooded parking and parts. Just south of 6th St and Hwy 101 is the Lincoln City Cultural Center (closed when I was there), and apparently where they hold their farmer’s market in season. I hope to be able to explore those in future.
South Lincoln City & Historic Taft
A bit south of 35th St, off Highway 101, is the Lincoln City 6, movie theatres (temporarily closed by COVID). When they can open again check what’s playing at the link below, or there’s the Bijou Theatre a couple blocks north of NE 14th St (Prehistoric rock shop mentioned above is at NE 14th St).
Accommodations and Restaurants
There’s no shortage of places to stay right on the ocean at Lincoln City. This time I stayed at The Inn at Spanish Head. From the highway it looks inconspicuous. But the video on their website shows the 10 floors facing the ocean. If you get excited to go, get reservations to assure either a room or a table. The lobby is on the 9th floor, the one you reach when you pull off Hwy 101. Parking is on the east side of the highway, on a steep hill. From the north you pull off at the hotel entrance and go through the tunnel under the highway. From the south you exit right to the parking lot. https://www.spanishhead.com/
Fortunately for us disabled folk they offer free valet parking. Just pull into the handicapped spot right at the hotel entrance. Either just get out and go in, or call and ask for assistance. The staff is friendly and helpful.
I was pleased that the handicapped rooms are right on the same floor with the lobby. I had a marvelous view through the sliding door of my room. The deck is ample, had a bit of plastic seating.
I was pleased to find my accessible room had a kitchenette, including a small stove w/oven, toaster, pots & pans, dishes (though I couldn’t reach upper cupboards where probably the glasses were), not too small a frig, microwave, coffee maker. Although the room had only one king size bed, there was a pull-out couch. Plenty of pillows on the bed, extras in a drawer. The fireplace didn’t work. They had a TV and video player, extra cushie chair, table & chairs for 4. The bathroom had a roll-in shower and shower chair, pedestal sink. No cups. Towels were in reach, but be sure to have the hand-held shower lowered for use (and get a glass/cup for getting a drink in the night, or don't forget your bottled water as I did).
Fathoms is the restaurant on the 10th floor with magnificent views and a separate bar. The waiter at dinner was the epitome of kind and polite. The clam chowder was good, and the seafood medley was a delicious pasta & creamy pesto dish, though I thought another prawn or two would have been appropriate. It was served with sourdough bread, which most seem to like, but I’m not a sourdough fan. For breakfast I purposely ordered more than I could eat, so I could take the rest to go. I started with a hot chocolate, which was large, and chocolatey—I would have liked more a milk chocolate, personally. The stuffed crème brûlée French toast was to die for, and the breakfast skillet was good, too.
Other hotels & restaurants previously visited
Mar 30, 2019: “I had reservations for Best Western Plus Landmark Inn in Lincoln City, for Sat night. Disappointed that it has no ocean view, but delighted the pool has a lift for handicapped persons, I could swim away my sorrows. The room was clean with a pleasant decor, and an ADA bathroom. We utilized the laundry room. Our room had a door to the parking lot, so it was easy to unload and load the luggage. The complimentary breakfast was superb.” Posted 10-30-2019 photos at https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/whale-watching-at-depoe-bay
Aug 22, 2017 after watching the Great Eclipse in Albany OR and staying overnight in Newport OR, I ended up staying a night at the Shearwater Inn in Lincoln City because a crash on Hwy 101 had stopped up traffic so bad. It was not a handicapped room, but the staff was so kind and accommodating, and even took off the bathroom door, beside taking care of my luggage for me. It was still a small bathroom, but workable for me. The room was a delight: light and pleasant, a sliding door with a beach view from the bed, and a working gas fireplace. It seems like they hosted a small social with cookies and drinks in the lobby each evening.
Nov 2020 on our way home from Newport we stopped to eat in Lincoln City at the 60s Café & Diner, in Lighthouse Square. I had to make a change, and their restroom was large and manageable, but maybe could have used a little more care. I told my travel helper to go ahead and order and start eating because it takes me so long. He greatly enjoyed his burger before I got back to the table. I had a sandwich and coleslaw that I enjoyed as well. The meals were filling. I think we each also had a cup of good clam chowder.
This is a lengthy post for just a one-night stay, and I plan to go back this summer for crabbing. Maybe I'll see you there!