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Nestucca River Scenic Byway

by Grant McOmie

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

Posted on May 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:35 PM


Back road adventures are the very best!

It's my chance to leave the city noise and hubbub behind to find a slower pace and get out of the daily race from this place to that.

This week, head high into the hills of the Oregon Coast Range and find what some call a "heavenly ribbon of asphalt" - the Nestucca River Scenic Byway.


The Nestucca River sings on its way to the sea and along the narrow winding roadway that follows it you may hear its song.

Be prepared to spend some time to savor the road that threads through the heart of these mountains.


It's a place where milky white clouds wisps dance above giant Doug fir trees or tiny wild iris burst to life close to ground.


I am on a back road so significant that the Bureau of Land Management designated eleven miles of it a National Scenic Byway.

You certainly won't worry about getting lost on this scenic byway because right at the very start - at Dovre Campground - there's a huge wooden map to show you the way.

Plus, it identifies several different campgrounds that invite you to make a longer stay.


The byway's campgrounds - like Dovre Campground - are sheltered under a cool canopy of big leaf maple and alder.

There are a dozen campsites tucked away at Dovre, plus a larger covered picnic site for a possible family gathering.

But don't get too comfy in the campground! For soon, it's time to trade in the truck and the roadway for a different trail.

The campgrounds can be a starting point to launch you onto side trips like the short hike up Dovre Creek where you can enjoy the Dovre Creek Waterfall.


It's a stunner of a cascade style waterfall in spring and summer - and offers cool respite when the day heats up.

There is so much unmatched rugged beauty on this byway.

As you continue your drive west, keep in mind that the road parallels an ancient river - marked by 40-million year old basalt rock formations that - even on cloudless days - are drenched from seeping groundwater.

The water drips and drops across the lush moss and water-loving wildflowers that hang from the rock walls.

Soon, you will reach Fan Creek Campground and it is the place to be for more riverside fun - towering trees set this site apart that also offers larger RV sites for the motor home crowd.

Stop in at Alder Glen Campground for a whopper of a waterfall.


You may be drawn to the wildflowers that grow next to even more shoreline campsites.

In fact, one in particular rests just across from the namesake falls.

It is a dandy campsite to enjoy a view the falls and it's sound may just lull you to sleep at night.


You are apt to find me along this river in summer - especially on a day when sunbeams light up the scene and a Fairy Slipper orchid waves you along as the waterway slides toward the sea on its magical, ageless song.


If you like to travel in Oregon, the Nestucca River Scenic Byway is not to be missed!

You might even consider making the Nestucca River Scenic Byway experience a part of your entry in a unique travel contest. It's called the Oregon 150 Challenge and it offers a unique dream vacation as a grand prize.