The Best Place You Never Knew You Needed to Go
Welcome to our series, “The Best Place You Never Knew You Needed to Go.” Yep, there’s not a single best place in our particular slice of heaven on the Oregon Coast. There’s lots.
Follow along, and we’ll tell you about this special place and why you need to visit.
By now you’re probably thinking, “KIL what??”
Big hint — explorers, pirates, and natives already found out why!
Skip This Part if History Bores You.
As a native Oregonian, when I travel back east I’m always reminded how “young” the Pacific NW is. Our Historic Reed House is a mere 100 years old, and one of the few remaining original beach cottages on our stretch of the coast.
In fact, we simply have a different kind of history. Sir Francis Drake, Captain John Gray and the Lewis and Clark all touched our land, and most likely were in contact with the splinter tribe of the Salish, now known collectively as the Tillamook.
Explorers, Pirates, and Natives – Oh My!
Settling the area prior to the 1670s, the Tillamook peoples were noted as 2,200 strong by Lewis and Clark, dwindling to a mere 166 in 1871 due to disease brought by explorers and trappers.
Not to mention pirate ships and Chinese freighters.
Their Spirit Lives On
While the east coast of the United States was settling, colonizing, and expanding westward, the Oregon coast was already on the path of laid back beach life.
What we like to call Manzanita Beach Life on our part of the Oregon Coast.
It consists of a large part of pragmatism, a huge love of place, and a distain for obvious materialism – Kardashian and Real Housewife style.
Get To the Point! Who or What is Kilchis??
Charismatic Chief of the Tillamook until his death around 1862 – 1883, Kilchis played a strong role in keeping peace between cultures. He claimed to be the descendant of a black sailor left ashore by a Spanish galleon laden with treasured goods, including the beeswax that still washes ashore to this day.
Kilchis Point is located on the site of what was one of the largest Native American villages on the Northern Coast. That same village where Kilchis made his home.
This is the Point!
There’s a good reason the Native Americans’ chose this spot.
Woodland, wetland, and shore all come together in an incredibly lush 200 acre preserve. Meaning native food aplenty, and very moderate weather.
“The nearby streams would be clogged with salmon and there would be waterfowl and shellfish available too. You would not walk more than a hundred yards to find food. Plus, it never froze and it never got too hot. I think it would have been a magical land.” Gary Albright, Director of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.
So What’s the Big Deal?
200 years later, in 2011 the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum lead the charge to preserve this local treasure. With untold community volunteers creating miles of trails, the Kilchis Point Reserve was born.
A true community effort and labor of love.
The site encompasses 200 acres of verdant forest and wetland property leased from the county and maintained and protected by the Museum. All hugging the beautiful eastern shore of Tillamook Bay near Bay City.
Native plant gardens, abundant interpretive signs and walking paths create a wonderful self-guided outdoor museum. As you wind through the meandering trails, old growth spruce trees, tidal churned creeks and lush wetlands are always by your side. Happily, the Museum has plans for more trails over time.
In the meantime, grab your sturdy walking shoes — or boots if it’s rainy — and let’s get going. At Kilchis Reserve you don’t need to travel far out of the city to enjoy the wonders of the North Oregon Coast.
Where Do We Go?
Your adventure starts at the Trailhead. Here, you’ll find an illustrative kiosk and benches. Be sure to pick up a trail brochure before passing through the charming arbor, and prepare for magic – northwest style!
Three separate interpretive trails encourage visitors to explore while learning more about the area: 1) Flora and Fauna; 2) Native American Heritage; 3) Pioneer Settlement.
Each trail is about two miles long, winding through towering trees and through lush foliage. Red alder, sedge, and Sitka spruce abound. Along the way, interpretive signs reveal the history of the area.
You Like Birds? We’ve Got Birds!
Are you a birder? Or do you just enjoy the wonderful variety of birds found on the North Coast? Kilchis Reserve is perfect for bird watching. Great Blue Herons, Northern Harriers, Hawks, Kingfishers, and many more species abound. You might even spot one of the wonderful Bald Eagles that make the Reserve their home.
Across the Bay, watch the show as hundreds of birds play and forage in the mud flats. Or cross Doty Creek on the southern portion of the Reserve. If you’re lucky, you’ll spy several species of whistling birds.
Elk Don’t Like Cheetos.
Visitors to the park often get a glimpse of the abundant North Coast wildlife. It’s always fun to spot a huge elk or deer. You might even get a glimpse of one of the Humpback or Orcas that are frequent visitors on their way up and down the Coast.
But look down too. You’ll find charming Newts, “Wooly Bears” (fluffy brown and black striped caterpillars) and Chipmunks, among many the many smaller Reserve species.
Even though our North Coast wildlife are beautiful, even cute, don’t feed them. They are wildlife, after all!
Try a Different Point of View.
For something new, try a tour of Kilchis Reserve by kayak. You’ll enjoy the beauty and wildlife from a different perspective.
Interested in a guided trip? Kayak Tillamook would be glad to help arrange a special tour.
Learning The Fun Way.
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum is thrilled to “promote appreciation and understanding of Tillamook’s natural and cultural resources while encouraging the protection and stewardship of resources, environments, and habitats.”
In doing so, they offer wonderful educational opportunities for students and groups.
Contact Carla at the Pioneer Museum for more information: 503-842-4553
TripAdvisor has given this experience a 5 Star rating.
Directions: Kilchis Point Reserve
Interested in staying? Contact us for information about our oceanside vacation rentals on beautiful Manzanita Beach, Oregon.
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