Nehalem Bay State Park
North of Rockaway Beach on the Nehalem Bay near the town of Manzanita is Nehalem Bay State Park. Imagine spending your afternoon on a kayak trip around Nehalem Bay, then taking a short walk over the dunes to the beach. There you'll sit with a blanket and watch the sunset over the ocean in the shadow of Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain. For a breathtaking view of the bay, fitness and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the 1.75-mile bike trail that circles the park airplane landing strip. Along this route and in the campground itself, you're likely to see deer grazing, a herd of elk, or a coyote crossing the road. The park is also graced with a variety of birds. There is even a horse camp with 17 sites with corrals.
Oswald West State Park
Step out of your vehicle and into a place with natural beauty that truly inspires. Just a quarter mile from any of the parking areas to the beach, yet the rigors of everyday life are stripped away by the time your feet hit the sand. Although the walk is short, there are several different trails that lead to the beach, to Cape Falcon overlook or to the Oregon Coast Trail. Be sure to pick up a map on the way into the park. All of the trails to the beach are through a mature forest. The beach is nestled in a cove that provides you with a feeling of total privacy. Popular with surfboarders and boogie boarders, the beach is always alive with activity. Surrounded by the mountains, the beach at Oswald West gives you a sense of being transported away from the trials of everyday life. Camping is no longer allowed in this park, but it is an inspirational walk.
Tillamook State Forest
Covering more than 350,000 acres of mountainous terrain, the Tillamook State Forest is a remarkable achievement. It is a man-made forest planted after a series of disastrous fires between 1933 and 1951 destroyed nearly every tree on those mountains.
In the years after the fires, foresters, professional tree planters and volunteers worked painstakingly to reestablish the forest and its many resources. Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1948 authorizing $12 million in bonds to rehabilitate the land. The long reforestation project, the largest ever undertaken, began in 1949. In total, 72 million seedlings were planted.
The new Tillamook State Forest is a place of hope. Decades of investment and hard work are beginning to pay off. Harvests of some timber are providing revenue and jobs. Healthy fish and wildlife populations have returned, and the forest is enjoyed by campers, hikers, anglers, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and horseback riders.
Tillamook County is known as the Land of Many Waters because of its many rivers, estuaries and lakes. In the Rockaway Beach area, there are a number of small streams flowing across the sand to the ocean. Rivers in northern and central Tillamook County include the Nehalem, Miami, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask and Tillamook.
Closest to Rockaway Beach to the north is the Nehalem River.
The Nehalem River is approximately 119 miles long. It drains part of the Northern Oregon Coast Range, originating on the east side of the mountains and flowing in a loop around the north near the mouth of the Columbia River. Its watershed covers 855 square miles.
The Nehalem River rises in the northeast corner of Tillamook County in the Tillamook State Forest. It initially flows northeast, across the northwest corner of Washington County and into western Columbia County, past Vernonia and Pittsburg. It then flows to the northwest and west into Clatsop County, then southwest back into northern Tillamook County. It receives the Salmonberry River from the east in northern Tillamook County, and the North Fork Nehalem River, 25 miles from the north about 2 miles northwest of Nehalem, just before entering Nehalem Bay. Nehalem Bay is picturesque and relatively unspoiled. It is popular for boating, kayaking and fishing.
State Park Nearby