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RECREATION
Recreation Program
Nicolai Mountain
 
The recreation program on the Clatsop State Forest is relatively new and ODF staff members are striving to improve opportunities.  Traditionally, recreation has been limited to camping, hunting, fishing, and off-highway use.  However, we realize the increasing value of recreation to local residents, as well as visitors from the Willamette Valley and Washington.  One of our main goals is to provide diverse forest recreation opportunities that add to, rather than duplicate, existing resources.

 
Campgrounds

Come and see what the Clatsop State Forest has to offer while enjoying time with your family and friends at one of the campgrounds. Each campground has a unique atmosphere and is waiting for you to make it your new favorite place to be!  There are sealed vault toilets at each campground and some have drinking water on site.  Campsites include a picnic table and fire ring.  Campgrounds are managed on a first-come first-served basis; there are no reservations.
Campground Notices:

 

All campsites at Northrup Creek Horse Campground are reserved on September 12, 13, and 14 for members of Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) who are conducting their annual North Coast Chapter of OET Prize Ride.  The campground will open to campers again on September 15 and remain open until December 1.
 

All  other Campgrounds are open with full amenities.

 

 
Clatsop State Forest showing highways and campground locations
 
Visit any or all of the Clatsop State Forest campgrounds, each with its own unique setting and view of the forest.

Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground

Established in 1947, Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground is one of the oldest established campgrounds in Clatsop County, located 5 miles south of Highway 26 near milepost 20, along the Nehalem River on Lower Nehalem River Road.  Spruce Run Creek cuts through the camping area, making it a beautiful place for a summer getaway.  The campground is open year-round, although garbage/recycling service and firewood are only available May through October.  Each site offers a picnic table and fire ring.  Fishing at nearby Lost Lake is a favorite activity of veteran campers.  
The campground has 32 drive-in sites and 5 walk-in tent sites, a day use picnic area, sealed vault toilets and, in the summer season, flush toilets.  There is also a hand pump drinking water source.
 
Camping fees are:
       Vehicle site:            
            $10.00/night
       Each extra vehicle:                    
            $2.00/night
       Walk-in tent site:             
            $5.00/night
 
Firewood is available for sale on a limited basis at Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground. Firewood is also available at the nearby Baker General Store.
            
Walk-in campsite at Spruce Run Campground
Walk-in campsite at Spruce Run Campground
 
 
 
 
  The Oregon Department of Forestry has set up 4 dispersed sites for camping, which include a picnic table and fire ring, on the Lower Nehalem Road beyond Spruce Run Campground.  There are no camping fees for the dispersed sites. However, there is no access to a restroom or garbage service.   
  
  Nearby services on Hwy 26:
  • Baker General Store, 7 miles east
  • Elderberry Inn, 7 miles east
  • Oney’s Restaurant, 6 miles west
  • Hamlet Quick Stop, 15 miles west
 

Gnat Creek Campground

Gnat Creek is located 18 miles east of Astoria, just off Highway 30, near milepost 78 along beautiful Gnat Creek, in the midst of tall western hemlock trees.  It is managed year-round as a semi-primitive campground with walk-in sites only and no access to drinking water.  A 1 ¼  mile hiking trail connects the campground to nearby Gnat Creek Fish hatchery. An additional 2 miles of trail extends south in the State Forests. As a tributary to the Columbia River, Gnat Creek attracts anglers with several salmon and steelhead runs throughout the year.  Native trout are also present, but are catch-and-release only. Anglers should consult the Department of Fish and Wildlife for fishing regulations.
 
The campground has 4 walk-in tent sites, a sealed vault toilet, and a spacious parking lot.
 
Camping fees are:
       Walk-in tent :                    
                  $5.00/night
       Each extra vehicle:                          
                  $2.00/night
 
Campsite at Gnat Creek
          Map of Gnat Creek Campground 
 
Nearby Services on Hwy. 30:
  • Knappa Market                   3 miles west
  • Westport West-Mart            7 miles east

Northrup Creek Horse Camp

All campsites at Northrup Creek Horse Campground are reserved on September 12, 13, and 14 for members of Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) who are conducting their annual North Coast Chapter of OET Prize Ride.  The campground will open to campers again on September 15 and remain open until December 1.
 

 

Northrup Creek Horse Camp, completed in late 2005, is primarily designed for equestrian use but is also available for tent camping. The campground is located about 4 miles north of Highway 202, near milepost 35, on the Northrup Creek Forest Road.  The 8 campsites have parking for a horse trailer and vehicle, a corral, and a tent or trailer site with table and fire ring.  Across the road are also 3 campsites without horse facilities.  Nearby is also a large parking area for vehicles with horse trailers and a picnic site, situated at the trail head for the Northrup Creek equestrian trail network.  There are no garbage receptacles so follow the pack-it-in, pack-it-out rule when using this facility
 
There are horse manure bins, two sealed vault toilets at the campground and another at the picnic site, and a hand pump style drinking water source in the campground.

   Camping fees are:                                                      Vehicle site:                
               $10.00/night
          Extra vehicle:                   
               $2.00/night
.  
                   
 

Northrup Creek Horse Camp
 
  • Nearby services on Hwy 26:
    • Baker General Store
    • Elderberry Inn
    • Oney’s Restaurant
    • Hamlet Quick Stop

Lost Lake Day Use Area

Lost Lake is a 15 acre natural forest lake nestled in the mountains. It makes a great day trip for fishing or just relaxing in a quiet place. Currently, Lost Lake can be accessed from Lost Lake Road near the entrance to Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground and from Quartz Creek Forest Road off Hwy 26 at milepost 27. Drivers should be aware that these are one way gravel logging roads that require more caution and slower speeds. Stay to the right and expect a vehicle around every corner. Lost Lake is stocked with fish a few times during the year and fishing information can be found at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
 
Currently, developed facilities at the lake are limited to a primitive boat launch. Portable toilets are provided during the summer months.
 
 
Lost lake is suited to non-motorized water craft. There are no fees required to use the lake.
Lost Lake

Beaver Eddy Campground
Beaver Eddy is located at milepost 10 along the banks of the Nehalem River on Lower Nehalem Road.  Beaver Eddy is open year-round, although garbage/recycling service and portable toilets are only available May 15 through October 1, annually.
 
There are 8 walk-in tent sites.  Each site offers a picnic table and fire ring. Firewood and drinking water are available at nearby Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground.
 

 Camping fees are:
     Walk-in tent site:
                  $5.00/night                          
 
 

Campground Rules

Campground rules and fire regulations
 
Here are some basic campground rules:  
  • No loaded firearms
  • No fireworks
  • Animals must be on 6 foot leash at all times
  • Proper disposal of animal waste
  • Quiet hours between 10 PM and 7 AM
  • No collecting firewood
  • Be respectful of picnic tables and surrounding trees
  • Please keep your campsite clean
  • Obey speed limit and traffic signs
  • Pack-it-in, pack-it-out when there are no garbage recepticles
  • No OHV use in campgrounds
  • Limit of 8 people and 2 vehicles per campsite

 
Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping is permitted on the Clatsop State Forest.  Such camping is usually associated with big game hunting activities, but is welcome for other purposes.  Campers are encouraged to seek sites which have seen previous camping use, to reduce impacts to forest values.  Camp at least 100 feet from any stream or lake, be careful with campfires, leave your site clean, avoid damage to trees and shrubs, avoid blocking roadways, and be careful when driving narrow forest roads, realizing that large vehicles often use these roads and sight distances are often limited.  During periods of high fire danger, campfires are only allowed in established metal fire rings.
All dispersed camping sites are pack-it-in, pack-it-out.

 
Non-Motorized Hiking Trails

Current trails are located in the northern and southern portions of the forest and at the Astoria District Headquarters. 
 
  • Gnat Creek Trail (Click to see a map)   
    Linking the Gnat Creek Campground to the Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery and beyond to Bigfoot Creek, this 3.5 mile trail winds along Gnat Creek through varying stages of forest growth. The trail from the campground to the Fish hatchery is approximately 1.5 miles, and from the fish hatchery to Bigfoot Creek approximately 2 miles. There are several popular access points along the creek for fishing opportunities.
  • Northrup Creek Equestrian Loop Trail (Click to see a map) 
    This trail is now open (but horse riders are advised to use extreme caution due to saturated soil conditions) and provides a 8.5 mile loop from Northrup Creek Horse camp. Enjoy the scenic trail as it travels along creeks and ridges.

 
Motorized Trails


 

When traveling on Shingle Mill Road and Nicolai Mainline, please respect the private land.





 

For more information contact Frank Lertora (503) 325-5451.  
 
         Nicolai Mountain OHV Trail Guide (PDF format)  
  
            

 

 
Archery

An archery range has been established on State Forest land in the Astoria Basin, managed by the Saddle Mountain Archers club.  This range is about ¾ miles off Hwy. 202, on Christian’s Road, less than a mile south of the Astoria District headquarters.  
 
Hone your skills for the big game archery season, or teach the kids how to shoot a longbow as the unique walking range wanders along a forested trail, offering various targets at varying distances.  Please follow the posted rules for a safe and fun time.
Contact Info:  
      Saddle Mountain Archers
      P.O. Box 204
      Hammond, OR  97121
             Call:   Jim Bergeron       
                      503-458-6829
 
 
View of Saddle Mountain
 
Saddle Mountain

 
Hunting and Fishing

Hunting and Fishing opportunities abound on the Clatsop State Forest, where virtually all forest roads are open to the public year-round.  Fishing and hunting opportunities are regulated by seasons for various species of fish and game.  Check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for current regulations and fees.  Maps are available to help guide your adventure at our District Office in Astoria.  
 
Clatsop State Forest developed sites for fishing:
  • Gnat Creek Campground
  • Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground
  • Soapstone Lake
  • Lost Lake  
 
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW):

 
Day Use
The Oregon Department of Forestry has provided Day Use areas at some of our campgrounds to provide for those who are just passing through and not using the facilities overnight.  No camping is allowed in the Day Use areas and recreation rules apply.  
  • Henry Rierson Spruce Run:   There are picnic tables and barbeque stands along the Nehalem River. 
  •   
            Map of Henry Rierson Spruce Run campground 
     
  • Northrup Creek Horse Camp:   Day use areas with picnic tables are in the shade along the creek.  Perfect for a hot summer day! 
  •   
             Map of Northrup Creek Horse Camp 
     
  • Lost Lake:   Day use area with a primitive boat launch. Portable toilets are provided during the summer months. The lake is stocked with fish several times a year.                 

 
Education and Interpretation

The Oregon Department of Forestry seeks to provide education and interpretation opportunities for forest visitors and nearby communities to enhance understanding and appreciation for our native forests and forest management practices.  Currently, there are 3 sites on the Clatsop State Forest which provide these opportunities.
 

Astoria Demonstration Forest

Completed in the summer of 2006, the Astoria District's Demonstration Forest is located at the Astoria District office. The Forest offers a unique outdoor self-guided walk where visitors can learn about forest management techniques.
 
In 1993, an old pasture behind the Astoria District office was planted to a variety of northwest commercial tree species, at varying spacing and species compositions.  As these stands grow, they are undergoing standard forest management practices on a small scale to demonstrate and explain these practices.  An accessible gravel path winds through the 7 acre site, with interpretive panels at strategic locations along the path.
 
 
Map of Astoria Demonstration Forest Trail 
 

C.J. Reed Arboretum

C.J. Reed Arboretum
 
 
First established in 1967 by Astoria District foresters and redesigned in 2006, this arboretum has been maintained over the years by district staff.  In 2006, it went through a major makeover, removing excess trees and adding numerous specimens of native northwest trees and shrubs.  A 1/5 mile path leads the visitor past the trees and shrubs, with each variety having an identifying marker.  The Arboretum is especially valuable to high school students, 4-H’ers, and scouting groups.

Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground

This campground sits on the site of an old logging camp, complete with residences, church and school.  An interpretive sign alongside the main road through camp tells about the camp and about early days of living and working in the forests in the early 20th century.  See if you can tell where some of the old camp structures used to be.
 

 
Volunteer Programs

Volunteer Camp host:
Spend time camping at Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground and provide service while there.  The host season runs from the middle of May through the middle of October.  Campground hosts are expected to be on site 5 days a week and will need to be present Friday through Sunday each week.  Two consecutive days off are available during the week.  To best serve the public, the hosts need to be available at varying times throughout the day, and also during emergency situations.  Camp hosts generally serve for a one month period and receive a full hookup campsite (water, sewer, power) for the period of their stay.   For more information and applications please contact Stephanie Beall at the Forest Grove District Office (503-359-7464).
 
For more information on volunteer opportunities and camp host application (click here)
 
Volunteer Trail Development:
If you have trail layout skills, you could help with development of future hiking, equestrian, or motorized recreation trails.  Please contact Ty Williams to help on hiking or equestrian trails, or Frank Lertora to help on mororized trails. Both can be contacted at the Astoria District Office (503-325-5451).
 
Adopt a Trail:
You or your club can volunteer to maintain established trails and keep them clean.  Please contact Ty Williams to help on hiking or equestrian trails, or Frank Lertora to help on mororized trails. Both can be contacted at the Astoria District Office (503-325-5451).