In deference to the Oregon silverspot butterfly‘s breeding season, the easier trail to the highest viewpoint is closed from January 1- July 15. That’s why my friends and I took the trail from the seaside trailhead to about 550 feet on July 15. The upper trail opened the following day. Figures.
Ric and I took advantage of a pristine morning a week ago and set off to find the upper trail and perhaps spy a silverspot butterfly. The trail head is about 3 miles down a rough and narrow forest road halfway between Lincoln City and Neskowin. Luckily we did not meet any oncoming cars.
Arriving at the trailhead, three vehicles occupied four of the official parking spots. Yeah, four. According to a man doing maintenance on the trail, everyone else will park along the widening in the road and “it will be a real mess later,” he said. We set out briskly as there was a couple with two small children preparing to set out as well as well as the maintenance man with a weed whacker.
The trail is nice: level, mostly woodland, peeks of the ocean to the south. The one mile to the viewpoint passed very quickly. Approaching the top, the trees parted and we found ourselves in a grassy meadow with wild flowers competing for our attention with unstoppable views of the Pacific Ocean. We encountered only one young woman, who had hiked up the way my friends and I had come a few days earlier. She passed far beyond the point we stopped at 550 feet, climbing an additional 700 to the upper view point. Not an easy-hiker. And she told us that afternoon she would be leading an outdoor program for youth as well. Damned kids.
We loitered at the top taking pictures and breathing the fine, fresh air, marveling that our house was really just the other side of the next headland. The only thing that would have been more perfect would have been a lovely rifugio serving espresso and pastries.
Returning, we encountered some families with toddlers, proving this really is an easy hike. It made us feel better that we also encountered younger people taking the easy path to the magnificent view. But we never saw a silverspot butterfly.
Click on any photo below for a slideshow with captions.