Off the Beaten Path in Lincoln City: The Spring Lake Open Space

Muggin' it at the Spring Lake Open Space in Lincoln City

Chris and I called an audible late in the week and escaped to the Oregon coast for the weekend - woohoo! We have a beach house that’s on the market, but with no nibbles yet, it’s still ours to enjoy. Although the forecast called for rain and wind, we planned to hike Drift Creek Falls at some point on Saturday in between playing board games, watching college football, and binge-watching the Hanks/Spielberg WWII series The Pacific. True to form, we switched things up again; Drift Creek Falls is a 40-minute drive from our Salishan house and the round trip would take too big of a bite out of our hunker-down day. Chris did some additional searching and found the Spring Lake Open Space.

Julie on the bridge in the Spring Lake Open Space. We took the photo from the wrong angle - the lake is in front of Julie!

We’ve been coming to Lincoln City regularly for over 10 years and never knew this park existed - guess we should have gotten out more! The space offers a couple miles of well-maintained trails centered around a small lake. One path is paved but the rest are mulch-covered paths that wind through the forest, over a bridge, and up to a cleared hilltop with ocean views. We took just a handful of photos; check out this blog post for more.

Chris heading up the hill to (hopefully) find another geocache

Overall I would classify this as more of a nice walk than a hike, although there is one steeper path that gets the blood pumping. Chris and I meandered for about an hour and covered two miles. Wait…what? That’s awfully slow. What took so long? Geocaches!! There are six in the Spring Lake area, and all look to be laid out by Lincoln City Parks and Rec.

This is NOT the geocache Julie was searching for, but still a fun find.

The caches are medium-sized and relatively easy to find, but they’re due for a little attention; the containers aren’t water tight so logbooks are a titch soggy. Don’t let that deter you; geocaching turns a lovely walk into a lively treasure hunt.  If you go, note that there’s a parking lot on Port Avenue off of 14th Street. Chris and I stopped just shy of the lot and laughed at ourselves later - so close!

To the left: The Spring Lake parking lot on Port Avenue. To the right: Where we parked. D'oh!

For even more fun in the Spring Lake area, you could try the Spring Lake Trail Quest, a 45-minute “self-guided clue-directed hunt” that leads you through the Spring Lake Open Space gathering letters to solve a mystery message. Disclaimer! I just found the Quest while researching links for this post so I haven’t tried it. The clues were written in 2008 - a bit dated - but look like they should hold up.

The Lincoln City website has many helpful resources like this overview map of the city’s parks and open spaces and these individual trail maps.  Yup...lots more to explore!