Cascade Head

Location summary:

  • City: Lincoln City, Oregon

  • Skill level: Intermediate

  • Wind: South, West, North

  • Access: The entire week, Monday through Sunday

  • Landing area quality: The entire area is a huge grass field, although some is fairly steep

  • Hazards in the area: Ocean, cliffs, bird-watchers

 

Directions to the site:

 

  • Hwy 18 from McMinnville/Portland/Salem area to Hwy 101 on the Coast.

  • Go north past the lower entrance to Cascade Head, which is just next to the Salmon River.

  • Go uphill, way uphill, to an obscure left-turn off of Hwy 101 onto Cascade Head Road.  This will wind all over the place until you get to a trailhead/sign for the Cascade Head Trail.

  • The trail is (as best I can remember) about 1-1/2 miles, mostly flat, and through heavy forest.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to get in.

  • You exit the forest onto huge grass-covered hills that are about 2000' straight above the ocean.

 

Site review:

 

The lift and the views here are amazing.  I have flown with bald eagles, and seen whales migrating in the ocean below.  This site is owned by the Nature Conservancy, a private organization, that buys land for conservation.  It is open to the public, but that could change if we don't treat it properly.  I highly recommend that this site be visited by just a few people at a time, and with a minimum of noise and tramping about in the grass.  Stay on the trails.  Don't even think of chasing a bird with your plane and pack all of the broken airplane pieces out.

 

That said, this is my favorite place to fly.  But I only get here about twice a year. I remember one year, the day after Christmas, I hiked in with my family and some relatives that were visiting. We had balmy weather with just the right amount of wind. We had a picnic in the grass, set up the spotting scope, and watched whales go by while I flew on the south face in about 12mph winds.

The south side is the best side to fly from, and this is where the wind is from for our fall, winter, and spring. The summer brings a NW wind, that will work, but is a longer hike down to a different face, and then back up. You can continue your hike down the S face of the hill, all the way to the river, and then to the ocean. If you do, you better have a car shuttle arranged to get you back up to the top. There are several places on the N and W sides where a slip could end with a 1000' fall into the ocean, so be very careful, especially when the fog and rain make it slippery.
 

Description provided courtesy of Pat Chewning.