En Route to or from Portland
If you'd like to see a large herd of Roosevelt elk, watch for the Jewell turnoff about 37 miles before reaching Cannon Beach on U.S. 26. From the turnoff, continue 10 miles north, following the wildlife-viewing signs to the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area (tel. 503/755-2264; www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/jewell_meadows_wildlife_area.asp), where there's a large pasture frequented in the cooler months by up to 300 elk. Although November through March are the best months to see the elk, September and October are rutting season and, at this time, big bulls can often be heard bugling and seen locking antlers. Summer is not usually a reliable time for seeing the elk, but in June you may see elk cows with calves. During the winter, the elk are provided with supplemental hay to keep the herd healthy, and it is possible to assist in the daily feeding. Participants are taken out into the meadows on a flatbed trailer loaded with hay, which is then tossed out to the expectant elk. To participate, however, you'll need to call on the morning of December 1 to make your reservation. (Weekends fill up the fastest.)
Twelve miles past the U.S. 26 turnoff for Jewell, you'll find Saddle Mountain State Natural Area, which is a favorite day hike in the area. A strenuous 2.5-mile trail leads to the top of Saddle Mountain, from which there are breathtaking views up and down the coast. In the spring, rare wildflowers are abundant along this trail. The trail is steep and rocky, so wear sturdy shoes or boots and carry water.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.