Lincoln City is located on the scenic Oregon Coast at the 45th parallel. It is bordered by 680-acre Devils Lake and the Coast Range on the east with the Pacific Ocean on the west. Lincoln City boasts 7½ miles of beautiful, clean sandy beaches, the Salmon River to the north, and the Siletz River and Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the south. Lincoln City enjoys a mild maritime climate, has a thriving retirement community and is a popular tourist destination.
The best of the sea's treasure comes ashore after a big storm. You'll find beautiful driftwood, agates, shells, sea creatures, fishing boat equipment, and if you're lucky, a Japanese fishing float shaken loose from the seaweedy depths, or a multi-colored handblown float from Lincoln City's Glass Floats Finders Keepers Event.
For some, there's no prize like an agate. The semi-transparent stones are pieces of quartz, carnelian, chalcedony and jasper that come loose from the headlands during storms and are left behind when the waves recede at low tide. Agates come in all colors, but most of them are clear or milky. Some even contain tiny fossils.
Japanese glass fishing floats are highly valued by dedicated beachcombers. Some are huge, up to two and three feet in diameter; most, however, are between four inches and a foot wide. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes. They are becoming increasingly rare as fishing boats around the world convert to modern materials like plastic or Styrofoam to float their nets. When the glass versions do appear, they are usually very old and have spent many years drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps the most fruitful season for beachcombing is the winter, after a particularly high tide and after a big storm. But beware: that's also the most dangerous time to be on the beach.
The tide gradually recedes, leaving behind exposed rocks with many little pools of still salt water. In those pools many colorful, exotic creatures make their homes – starfish, sea anemones and urchins, and tiny fish. There are several good areas to explore tidepools in the Lincoln City area. One of the best is near the Roads End Wayside, a corner of the coast which offers intertidal life that rivals Yaquina Head and Seal Rock. Starfish live side-by-side with sea anemones and sea urchins. The starfish are red, orange and pink; the sea anemones are a rich purple and green; and the sea urchins a rich, dark purple. Tiny fish dart among the shallows. Hermit crabs dart, much more quickly than the snails they resemble, from one shelter to another. Rocky residents like mussels and barnacles thrive in the intertidal zone. Mussels have a long, tapered dark blue to black shell. The vivid, orange flesh of the mussel is edible and a prized delicacy in many parts of the world. You're allowed to harvest mussels but only with a license. Barnacles are small, and usually white, and cluster on rocks and pilings.
Check the tide tables so that you know you are exploring in a safe time. Many tidepoolers have become trapped on the rocks when high tide starts coming in – a particular danger if you're heading north from the Roads End Wayside.
Crabbing and Clamming are great activities for any group, any time of the year. The Siletz Bay at the south edge of Lincoln City is a prime spot for both. For more information on how to do it yourself, please visit our “ Catch Your Dinner ” webpage!
People looking for surfers, and how they operate, can spot them all along the beaches close to Lincoln City. If checking it out in person is what you're after, visit the annual Nelscott Reef Tow In Surf Competition. For more information on this event please click the link!
Of course, those who ride the chilly Oregon waves must dress for success. The water is very cold most of the time; and wet suits, along with booties, gloves, and a hood, are necessary. As with all ocean sports, caution is key. Before heading out on the breakers, inquire about wave conditions and safe surfing areas.
In addition, there is great windsurfing and kitesurfing opportunities on the Ocean and Devil's Lake, so if traditional ocean surfing is not your style, you can still hit the water on a board!
Looking for a place to start? Shops in Lincoln City cater to both surfing and skateboarding crowds, selling boards, wetsuits, clothing and equipment, along with lessons and lots of first-hand information:
Safari Town Surf Shop , 3026 NE Hwy 101, 541-996-6335
Rip with Jipp surf lessons, 541-996-7433
Every spring and fall thousands of people flock to the Oregon coast to watch the Pacific gray whales migrating to and from Baja.
Gray whales were once an endangered species, but protection measures have resulted in their removal from the endangered species list in 1994. The whales migrate each year, about 12,000 miles (19,311 km) round-trip, from northern waters off Alaska to the Gulf of California in Mexico, and back.
The pods usually stay close to land, generally from one-half mile to three miles (.8 km – 4.8 km) offshore. In the fall and winter, the groups of two to 10 individuals are led by pregnant females on their route south. The whales winter over in shallow Mexican waters where the mother whales give birth to their young. In late winter and early spring the whales head back north, where the young will feed and grow in the Bering and Chukchi seas.
Some gray whales take up year 'round residence in this area. The whales live on krill, a small shrimp-like creature, that inhabits the mud flats and kelp.
During the Christmas and spring school vacations, the Oregon Parks Department and the Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife join private sponsors to conduct whale watching weeks. Volunteer interpreters are on hand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at locations on the coast to help the novices spot the whales. Look for signs that say “ Whale Watching Spoken Here .” The best place to see the migration is from any elevated location in early morning, before the wind begins to blow is the best time to glimpse the shooting vapor the whales expurgate after a dive. Lucky viewers sometimes see them spy hopping (when they stick their heads out of the sea) or breaching (when the whale jumps out of the water and falls back in with a great splash.)
Good spots in Lincoln City for spotting whales are at Roads End, the NW 21st Street beach access and SW 40th Street.
Many people prefer to see the great gray whale close up. Charter boat companies in Depoe Bay conduct regular whale-watching tours, when weather permits.
Tradewinds Charters, 541-765-2345 or 800-445-8730
Dockside Charters, 541-765-2545 or 800-733-8915
Reel Nauti Charters, 541-921-1628
Helicopter Tour Flights, 541-867-4140
Whale Research Excursions 541-912-6734
Humans aren't the only creatures who thrive in this beautiful area. The forest-dwelling blacktail deer can be seen all over town, but the best location to spot them is around Devils Lake. They range over the coastal forests, traveling singly or in family groups.
The evergreen and riparian zones harbor chipmunks, rabbits, porcupines, weasels and badgers, raccoons and possums, or coyotes. Every year, a few residents report seeing black bears, lions and bobcats.
The Salmon River hosts populations of beaver, muskrat, nutria and otter. On Devils Lake populations of geese, wood ducks and egrets delight anglers and waterfront residents.
One of the most beautiful places to see waterfowl and wildlife is the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located off Highway 101 just south of Lincoln City where the Siletz River empties into the bay. There you'll see egrets and herons as well as seagulls and many other breeds.
Other permanent residents of the bay are the harbor seals, easily viewed from the Taft Dock on SW 51st. The seals, which can grow to six feet in length and weigh up to 250 pounds, bask on the sands at Salishan Spit. Biologists caution humans. Seal mothers leave their young on the beach to rest while they are out seeking food and will soon be back to retrieve them. If you touch them, the mother will not reclaim them. As with all members of the animal kingdom, it's better to leave them alone.
Wherever you go, don't forget your binoculars and a windbreaker. The wildlife are out there, waiting to catch a glimpse of you.
If you're tired of the vacation cycle from car to hotel to car and back again, we invite you to experience Lincoln City from the seat of a bike. Savor the clean breeze, get a little exercise and see stunning views that are easy to miss from the passenger seat of your car.
Cyclists are welcome in the marked lanes on many thoroughfares in and around the city, including the length of Highway 101; but one of the most popular rides is the bike lane encircling Devils Lake. Start at nearly any point to take the 10-mile long loop. In areas located outside the incorporated limits, Lincoln County has provided paved shoulders along the road for bicycle traffic. Riders can reach West Devils Lake Road by bike lanes on N. 22nd and Holmes Road. From a signaled intersection in the Oceanlake District, NE 14th Street becomes West Devils Lake Road as it heads towards the lake. The best way to reach the back side of the lake is the turn east by the Tanger Outlet Center onto East Devils Lake Road.
If the Ocean is what you're looking for but you don't want to travel the highway, take the western shore bike route from N. 39th Street south to N. First Street, where it exits onto Highway 101 at Kyllo's Seafood Grill. For a little less traffic, head east on S. 51st Street. This road passes the area's oldest elementary school before becoming Schooner Creek Road. Take this tree-lined lane to Anderson Creek Road, then turn right on Drift Creek Road. Ride west on Drift Creek Road to Highway 101 and back into Lincoln City. Many off-road opportunities are available in the hills north, south and east of the city.
Nature's topographic mix of sea, beach, marshlands, coastal forests, hills and rocky cliffs combine to create an ideal habitat for a common American species – the bird watcher. Home to a breathtaking range of fliers, from a majestic peregrine falcon to a delicate murre, the Lincoln City area is definitely for the birds .
A few Canada geese spend the winter around Devils Lake and its tributaries. Swimming alongside the geese will be widgeons, gadwalls, coots, mallards, shovelers, canvasbacks, grebes and cormorants. Big waders, like the great blue heron and the rarer green-backed heron, dip for small fish in the shallows.
Common murres skim over the waves of the Pacific in speedy flights, and many species of gulls beg for food from passersby. Careful observers will also find the big brown pelicans at certain times of the year on Siletz Bay. The offshore rocky islands, cliffs, and rocks are home to puffins, murres and guillemots.
Lincoln City has two Important Birding Areas (IBAs), Siletz Bay and the Salmon River Estuary.
The Pacific Ocean is not the only place to take a wild ride in Lincoln City. Jump on board a 110-HP Waverunner at Blue Heron Landing on Devils Lake, churn up some white water waves and bounce your way through them. Or glide leisurely in a canoe or kayak among the lake's resident ducks and coots.
Need to take the whole family – even the little ones? A covered pontoon is a great place to have a picnic lunch on the water and watch birds or fish for dinner at the same time.
Devils Lake, on the northeast side of Lincoln City is has an abundance of opportunities for making white water or gliding peacefully among our winged neighbors. Check out the choices at www.blueheronlanding.net or call 541-994-4708. The Lake is managed by the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, www.dlwid.org , 541-994-5330.
One of the most stunning areas open to hiking is the Cascade Head National Scenic and Research Area. Four miles north of Lincoln City off Highway 101 on Three Rocks Road, Cascade Head has three major hiking paths: The Nature Conservancy Interpretive Trail, the Cascade Head Trail and the Hart's Cove Trail. The Nature Conservancy Interpretive Trail is two miles long and courses over the north and south side of the monolithic headland. Rocks jut as high as 1,700 feet above the Salmon River Estuary and provide magnificent views of the coast.
In the area north and east of Lincoln City, the Siuslaw National Forest maintains trails that include Hebo Lake, Pioneer Indian Trail and the Niagara Falls Trail. Old logging roads also provide opportunities for hiking. Contact the Hebo Ranger District at 503-392-3161 for information. A complete guide of all the hiking trails in the central coast is available by calling the Oregon Coast Visitors Association at 888-628-2101.
If you don't want to leave the city, that's OK. There's plenty to do on foot nearby. Some hiking trails in and around the city include the following:
Three-tenths of a mile long on gravel, starting at the hospital (3043 NE 28th Street off West Devils Lake Road). The easy, level walk provides a great view of the water.
One-half mile long hike of moderate difficulty on a natural surface, winding through old-growth forest. The park is located off West Devils Lake Road (from central Lincoln City) near the junction of NE 15th Street.
Off West Devils Lake Road across the street from the Indian Shores entrance, just west of Regatta Grounds Park, it's a one-mile moderately difficult hike on a natural surface, crossing hills and a stream. The route heads around a small, gem-like lake in a beautiful, natural woodland, protected by the local Friends of the Wildwoods and Trails.
A one-half mile long, moderately difficult hike on a natural surface heads through wetlands to give hikers a good look at tree and shrub ecology. The trail is only one-third complete, but it can be found in the park on NE 6th Drive.
This facility, located near the southern tip of the lake, is a one-half mile, moderately difficult walk on a natural surface. The hike features views of natural forest land with ferns, wildflowers and mushrooms. Take East Devils Lake Road from the Tanger Outlet Center, look to the west for a dock and parking area.
Other great nearby hiking opportunities include Drift Creek Falls, Trail No. 1378. It's a 1.5 mile, moderately difficult hike on a trail surfaced with rock and native materials. The trip includes a suspension bridge that overlooks a waterfall and a bird's-eye-view of forest canopies. For information and directions call 503-392-3161.
When you're hiking on the central Oregon coast, remember that there's a reason they call it a rain forest. Carry waterproof gear and emergency first aid supplies.
See the beautiful Oregon coastline, enjoy the rugged dunes and sea wildlife–birds, deer, elk, seals and occasionally a whale all on horseback!
Visit www.oregonbeachrides.com for information on riding horses on the beautiful Oregon Coast.
SW 11th and Coast Avenue: Includes restrooms, sitting bench, easy beach access.
NW Neptune and NW 28th Street Tennis Court
Holmes Road and West Devils Lake Road: Includes boat launch, restrooms.
SW 65th Street Includes picnic tables, easy bay access and restrooms.
SW Fleet and 68th Street: Includes picnic tables, basketball, play equipment.
Highway 101 and NE 22nd Street: Includes ballfield, Lincoln City Community Center, 2 swimming pools, Lincoln City Skateboard Park, picnic facilities, restrooms, meeting facilities & playground.
West Devils Lake Rd & Regatta Park Road: Includes boat launch, restrooms, picnic facilities, interpretive center, walking trails, parking and playground.
Highway 101 and Schooner Creek Bridge: Includes interpretive center, picnic tables, parking, bay access and restrooms.
SW 51st and Highway 101: Includes parking, fishing and crabbing dock, easy beach and bay access and restrooms
NW 31st Street and Jetty Avenue: Restrooms & Playground
East Devils Lake Road and Loop Drive: Restrooms & Swimming.
Interested in more information about water quality? The Devils Lake Water Improvement District tests the lake and the D River weekly in the summer months. All testing information is available at park kiosks as well as at www.dlwid.org.
Lincoln City has a spectacular skateboard park named one of the “gnarliest” parks in the United States. The 8,000 square foot facility in Kirtsis Park has more than 100 lines and a unique 9-foot bowl to challenge boarders of all levels.
The Cradle was added a few years ago and is one of only three of its kind in the world. It's 8600 square feet (798 sq-m) including 5600 square feet (520 sq-m) under a roof! A third smaller bowl was opened next to the cradle in the spring of 2006.