Hikers in the Columbia Coast beware, and come prepared for tides, rain, strong winds, and mosquitoes.

If you hike near the water, remember that the Columbia River enters the Pacific Ocean along the coast. This means there are daily tides on beaches, salt marshes, and up most rivers for several miles. Get and use a tidebook, especially if you plan to paddle up rivers or along the ocean. Know the weather forecast and come prepared for worse weather than is predicted. Stay off high headlands and mountain peaks during wind storms.

In spring and early summer, be ready for dense clouds of mosquitos around wetlands and coastal forests. Long sleeves, long pants and a sturdy insect repellent are your best defense.

Carry adequate water, basic first aid gear, appropriate clothing for the season, sturdy footwear, sunscreen. Walking sticks are handy on steep trails. Cougar sightings have become more common in the last few years. While no attacks on humans have been reported yet for this coastal area, these large predators do live here.

While field trips are rarely canceled on the coast due to rain, they are frequently canceled due to strong winds. It is not unusual for beaches and headlands to receive gusts twice the strength of predicted winds. Hiking in forests, and on steep terrain is unsafe in winds over 30 mph. Wind speed also increases with rising elevation. A moderately stiff breeze at sea level can be murderous at 3,000 feet. Hypothermia is possible at any time of year.

Respect the landscape. Haul out your trash. Limit group sizes in sensetive areas to twelve people or less. Don't pick wildflowers - take photos instead. Leave pets at home. If you must bring pets, keep them leashed. Stay on trails rather than cut new paths through wetlands, meadows and other fragile environments.


Contact Information

ksayce at willapabay dot org