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After a series of devastating forest fires in the 1930s, the temperate rainforest in the Oregon area that would later become Tillamook State Forest was nearly irreversibly damaged. Thanks to the massive efforts of the Oregon Department of Forestry and thousands of volunteers, over 72 million tree seedlings were planted. Up until 2019, this effort was the world’s largest reforestation project. Tillamook State Forest was officially established in 1973 to grant it extra protections from logging and mining enterprises. As a temperate rainforest, the region receives over 100 inches of rainfall annually, which makes it one of the wettest areas in the United States.
The closest town is Tillamook, which is best known for its dairy and cheese farms in the area, is about 15 miles west. The dairy industry has grown to the point where many of the local farms’ products can be found in grocery stores across the country, particularly its cheeses and ice creams. Search for an RV in TIllamook County, OR, and get ready to embark on a memorable RV camping trip.
With over 364,000 acres to explore, outdoor adventurers have a choice between a wide range of hiking destinations, like summits that climb up above soft clouds, deep, misty valleys, dewy mountain meadows, and lakes. The trails total around 100 miles. The forest is relatively young, only a few decades old. Though the branches overhead reach out to one another, sunlight blaze through easily, nourishing the plants below. As a result of the abundant, warm sunlight, the forest floor is blanked by a riot of greenery. Shrubs, ferns, small forest plants, and lush, soft moss. Only the constant pounding of people’s feet and an occasional deer joining the trek keep the trails clear of moss and other underfoot plants.
Wildlife has once again returned to these misty woods, and it’s not uncommon to spot small herds of deer and elk bounding through the trees. In late autumn, black bears forage for delicious berries in clearings. Other small game creatures like squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, and porcupines scurry about, though they can be difficult to spot due to extreme wariness. After all, predators like foxes, coyotes, and an occasional hawk that flies overhead lurk, waiting for prey to make a mistake. The woods are also a protected habitat for the spotted owl, salmon, and marbled burrets, which are endangered. A photographer who successfully snaps a shot of one of these critters should count themselves very lucky.
Ready for high-octane muddy fun? Tillamook has what’s arguably one of the most popular OHV trail systems in the Pacific Northwest. Heads-up: all riders must have the appropriate licenses, permits, and protection is also advised.
Rent an Airstream and gain more immediate access to the beautiful, mystical rainforest that is Tillamook State Forest. Tillamook State Forest has several public and private campgrounds within the park itself and along the perimeter. Kilchis River County Campground, a few miles east of Bay City, OR, has over 60 sites for guests to choose from. Though it’s largely a primitive site, amenities include hot showers, restrooms, and faucets with drinking water.
Alternatively, one could consider RV camping at Jones Creek Campground, which is a smaller campground with only 28 sites. Though there are few amenities, the smaller campground means fewer neighbors and a quieter, more idyllic camping experience. It does have fire rings, toilets, and potable water.
Rent a motorhome and explore the charming coastal towns that line the perimeter of Tillamook State Forest. The town of Tillamook operates Tillamook Creamery, which is both an ice cream and cheese shop and factory. It is open to visitors. Close to the ocean, it’s only natural that people would seek out fresh-out-of-the-sea fish and crustaceans. Fish Peddler near Bay City, OR, is a long-time mainstay at which one may buy fresh fish, oysters, and crabs or elect to dine at their in-house seafood restaurant.
History abounds all along the Pacific coast. The Cape Meares Lighthouse is an iconic 1890 lighthouse that looks out on the Tillamook Bay. Though it’s now inactive, it once stood sentinel, guiding weary sailors into a safe harbor. Across the bay is Garibaldi, OR, which is just a few miles south of Rockaway Beach. It has several historic landmarks, including an original coast guard boathouse that was one of the first to be constructed in Oregon and Captain Gray Historical Marker, which details his journey as the first American to circumnavigate the world.
Wheeler, OR boasts several attractions, one of which includes Railriding Cycling. Adventurers can hop on a modified rail cart, pedal along a retired railroad track, and enjoy the beautiful Oregon scenery that ranges from farmlands to tidal estuaries. Note that people should be in relatively good fitness condition for a 10-mile journey.
At the end of a long day, retreat from the steady drizzle into a warm, dry RV rental. Listen to the soft pitter-patter of raindrops on your temporary home’s roof and let it soothe you to sleep.