Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mile 269 to Mile 279: Seven Devils to Bandon

Cumulative mileage figures in parentheses refer to mileage in this section only.

This post gets you to Bandon—a fairly short OCT stretch. I took a layover day here, and it’s a good place to regroup and resupply, as the distances between towns are farther here on Oregon’s South Coast. Plus Bandon is a nice town and easily within walking distance of the hiker-biker camp at Bullards Beach State Park.

From Seven Devils State Recreation Site, head south on the beach 1 mile to Fivemile Point, which must be rounded at low tide or possibly mid-tide, depending on tide height. (There is a roughly 2-mile OCT trail section over Fivemile Point, but it’s not particularly scenic—a no-man’s-land of prickly gorse shrubbery with no ocean views—and I’m told the trailhead is hard to locate. If you are stuck by the tide, look for a trailhead about 0.25 mile south of Twomile Creek, or about 0.25 north of Fivemile Point; the trail winds east and south, hits Whiskey Run Road, and leads back west to the beach at Whiskey Run creek.)

Backpackers rounding Fivemile Point

From Fivemile Point, continue south on the beach 5 miles (or less; see below) to the day use area at Bullards Beach State Park; look for people and footsteps heading off the beach to the day use parking area. If you are continuing on, follow park roads east 1.4 miles out to US 101 (7.4 miles). If you plan to camp at the hiker-biker camp here, back up; there’s a shortcut off the beach that will save you more than a mile of walking. Rather than hiking all the way down the beach to the day use area, watch for a “No Motor Vehicles Allowed” sign on the beach about 4.5 miles south of Fivemile Point and continue another 0.25 mile to where footsteps lead up the dune and off the beach; they lead to a 0.75-mile sand trail that leads to Campground Loop B. Turn left to walk to the end of the loop, then left again on the main campground road to find the hiker-biker camp in the middle of Loop C.

Looking south from Fivemile Point toward Bandon
It would be nice to walk down the beach to Bandon, but you can’t wade the Coquille River, and there’s no practical way to arrange a boat across it. You could try your luck at the end of the spit or at the boat ramp in the park; otherwise, you’ll need to cross on the highway bridge. Hence, continuing south from the park entrance on US 101, head south along the highway shoulder, crossing the Coquille River bridge with care (no sidewalk). Just 0.4 mile past the bridge, bear right onto Riverside Drive NW and follow it south 1.6 miles to First Street. Turn right onto First and follow it a couple of blocks into Bandon's Old Town (10 miles). There is a wide variety of lodging in Bandon and plenty of restaurants. For groceries, follow the highway 0.5 mile west from Old Town to Mother's Natural Grocery and, a short distance north, Ray's Food Place. Or follow the highway south from Old Town for more stores (food, hardware, etc.). That’s the direction you need to go anyway to return to the beach at Coquille Point.

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