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Summer Along the Wilson River

07.14.14

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Summer Along the Wilson River

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  • Wilson River at Keenig Creek.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Wilson River at Keenig Creek.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Wilson River's deep pools adjacent to the Smith Homestead Day Use Area.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Footbridge Day Use Area along the Wilson River.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Footbridge Day Use Area along the Wilson River.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Rose campion (Silene coronaria) along the Wilson River Trail.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • One of 14 walk-in campsites at Elk Creek Campground adjacent to the Wilson River.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Lookout tower at the Tillamook Forestry Center.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Suspension footbridge at the Tillamook Forestry Center.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • One of 14 walk-in campsites at Elk Creek Campground adjacent to the Wilson River.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • View of Kings Mountain (3,226'), the areas highest peak from the Smith Homestead Day Use Area.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • View southwest from the summit of Kings Mountain.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Summer wildflowers atop Kings Mountain.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Columbia lily (Lilium columbianum) at the summit of Kings Mountain.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Large and private campsites at Jones Creek Campground.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • Fishing at the Cedar Butte Road Bridge on the Wilson River.- Summer Along the Wilson River
  • View of the Wilson River's best cliff jumping spot at the Cedar Butte Road Bridge.- Summer Along the Wilson River
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Team

In terms of summer fun, if San Francisco has Lake Tahoe and Seattle has numerous lakes and the Sound, then Portland can lay claim to the virtually countless rivers in the area. Over the past few summers, we've scoured up and down the region's rivers in search of the most relaxing locations for summer recreation, places where you can swim, hike, camp and just hang out with friends. One of our favorites, a place we go back to time-and-again, is the Wilson River.

Located in Northwest Oregon between Portland and Tillamook, the Wilson River flows toward the Pacific Ocean after draining the peaks of the Coastal Range, including one of our favorite hiking spots, Kings Mountain. From its tributaries it merges into one river along OR Hwy 6, cutting through basalt outcropping and slowing down to create deep pools, one after another, perfect for swimming and cliff jumping. Finally, the Wilson River widens and slows as it enters the state's dairy capital, eventually releasing its fresh waters into Tillamook Bay.

All along the river there is a lot to see and do. In addition to the incredible swimming holes and cliff jumping spots, there are numerous campgrounds and hundreds of miles of hiking trails (including the 20-mile Wilson River Trail). You can also visit a historic homestead site or explore the hidden Bridge Creek Falls. And don't forget to stop by the impressively designed and curated Tillamook Forestry Center. The Wilson River Recreation Area has something for everyone, which is what makes it one of the best places to play in Oregon during the summer.

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