One of the great things about Florence, Oregon is that it’s a gateway to so many natural wonders up and down the coast, as well as east into the Coast Range. In a previous blog, we shared some of our favorite easy, close-in hikes with you, including the Hobbit Trail, Lily Lake, and the popular trails in Honeyman State Park. But if you’re looking for a little more of a workout or just some quiet time in the forest, there are other excellent options less than an hour’s drive from Three Rivers Casino.
The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is 2700 acres of paradise less than 25 miles north of Three Rivers Casino (about a 1/2 hour drive, depending on traffic). There are ten trails that wind through the coastal forest, and depending on which one you choose, you can see old growth timber, rocky tide pools, and oceanic wonders like the Spouting Horn and Devil’s Churn. One of our favorite options is the St. Perpetua Trail. This is a moderate to sometimes difficult hike that is 3 miles round trip. It takes you through spruce woods with beautiful wild flowers up to a spot where, on a clear day, you have a spectacular 150-mile panorama of the Oregon Coast from north to south. This is a perfect photo op location.
If you’re still up for more, take the Trail of the Whispering Spruce to the grounds of a former WWII Coast Guard Lookout that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. From there you can see Cape Foulweather to the north and Cape Blanco to the south. This is a difficult trek on the way up but you can hold onto the fact that it’s all downhill on the way back.
And when you’re done, plan to spend some time at the Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center for an introduction to the plants, animals and history of this unique scenic area.
22 miles miles south of Three Rivers Casino (about a ½ hour drive) toward Reedsport, you’ll find the Kentucky Falls Special Interest Area. Here you can take an easy to moderate hike to three 100-foot waterfalls that are tucked away in a canyon deep in the Coast Range. The 4-mile round trip trail starts at the top of the hills and goes down through old growth forests, along tumbling streams, past Upper Kentucky Falls and then down to a set of twin waterfalls: the Lower Kentucky Falls and the North Fork Falls.
The beauty in the area is unsurpassed year round, so although you have to drive a bit off the highway to the trailhead, it’s worth it. And in the summer, you can swim along the North Fork of the Smith River.
The thing to remember about this hike is that it’s uphill all the way back to the parking area, but it’s not a difficult hike and you can rest at the bottom and pace yourself on the way up.
The Sweet Creek Falls Trail is an easy 3-mile round trip hike along Sweet Creek, in Mapleton, Oregon. Mapleton is just 15 miles (about 20 minutes) east of Three Rivers Casino on Hwy 126. In Mapleton, you turn right to cross the Siuslaw River and turn west again onto Sweet Creek Road. The Homestead Trailhead is about 10 miles up this picturesque country road. The glory of this hike is the waterfalls; there are dozens of cascading falls all along the way, leading up to the wonder of Sweet Creek Falls itself.
Since Sweet Creek is nestled in amidst the subtropical forests of the Coast Range, you will be walking along a green paradise of mosses, ferns, Broadleaf and Vine Maples, wildflowers and wild berries. The dampness of the forest does make the metal grated bridges a little wet, so be watchful of those and note that your dog may need a little coaxing to cross them.
We’re lucky to be so close to such natural beauty. Three Rivers Casino really is the perfect home base to explore the wonder all around us. After you’ve filled up your senses and worked up a good appetite, it’s an easy drive back to Florence to indulge yourself with a fine meal and a glass of wine in one of our renowned restaurants. Give yourself the extra treat of booking a room for the weekend and enjoying more than one of these exceptional hikes, knowing you have a comfortable bed, great service and some casino fun waiting for you at the end of the day. Contact us for more information or to book a room. We look forward to seeing you.