Harris Beach State Recreation Area – Brookings, Oregon

September 2015

Harris Beach State Recreation Area was my last stop on my way down the Oregon coast. As I write these words a few months later, it makes me sad. Truly. I didn’t spend enough time on the Oregon Coast during the summer of 2015. I could have spent months, but I didn’t have that kind of time. I needed to be somewhere the beginning of October.

Harris Beach is only about 8 miles north of the California border and it’s the last Oregon state park where you can camp on the coast before you run out of the state. It was a perfect location for me to wrap up my quick visit of this state’s outstanding coastline.IMG_6220.jpg

Camping

I stayed 3 nights in this alright campground that has 84 RV sites with another 63 tent sites. About a third of the campground was closed as they prepared to upgrade the water and electric. I grabbed the last site available online but upgraded to a first-come first-served full hookup site once I arrived. The choice sites have an ocean view, but good luck getting one of those during the summer season!

While spacing between sites is pretty good, overall Harris Beach was a bit noisy. It’s a popular park with a lot of day users and plenty of “typical” campers. If you want peace and quiet, Cape Blanco is a much better location for this. Harris Beach is a lot closer to civilization and with that you get more people. For better or worse.

Beach

Harris Beach is yet another spectacular Oregon beach. Do they come in the just so-so variety? The main beach area gets quite busy during a summer day, but if you walk far enough you can get away from people. And then you just have the tranquility that is so easily found when you are just feet from the ocean.

Sunsets are absolutely spectacular here, and I experienced them each of the three nights I was there, from a different location each time. Once from the beach. Once from the top of Butte Trail. Once from the top of a rock hill that was the border of Harris Beach and Rock Beach. All of them were awesome places to watch the sun slip under the western horizon.

Rock beach is easily accessible from the campground and offers tide pool viewing opportunities at low tide.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

I’m sure I have seen redwoods before but damn if I can remember when. I was within spitting distance of the north end of the famous California coastal redwood forests and since I was heading inland after Harris Beach, I took this opportunity to walk among the giants. A 25 mile drive south put me at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California and soon I was walking among magnificent trees that are some of the tallest in the world.

I cannot explain what it is like to walk among some of the oldest living things on Earth. Redwoods can live for 1,200 to 1,800 years and grow up to 380 feet high. Now I didn’t see any of these giants with a 29 foot base (maximum size they get), but it was impressive nonetheless. This small taste of these magnificent trees left me wanting more.

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