Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

Musings about birds, nature, and our meanderings on the Central Oregon Coast

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Lake Open Space

I don't know how to begin to describe Spring Lake Open Space.  The original 15 acres were acquired by Lincoln City in 1996, with an additional 9.7 acres added in 2000.  
Friends of Wildwoods and Trails created at least some of the trails than wend through the property.  There is a rough one mile trail that loops around the lake, and others that venture up into an old clear cut.
Spring Lake
Lake Trail

The trail is muddy and uneven, not an easy walk, but well worth it.  It follows the lake edge closely most of the way, where the silty lake bottom is clearly visible through the water. 

Board bridge

At the north end of the lake, a wooden "bridge" provides narrow access to the other side.  Skunk cabbage and other wetland plants fill the marshy area.

Looking south from the board bridge
Stairs leading to west side path

On the west side of the lake, a fallen tree over the water provides a base for a number of small "trees" branching out from it. Very cool looking!

Looking east across the lake

The trees and bushes were full of songbirds - on our two visits (Friday and Saturday), we saw dozens of TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, a couple of BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS (another first for us), as well as WILSON'S, YELLOW-RUMPED and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. 
Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Orange-Crowned Warbler
Townsend's Warbler

Black-Throated Gray Warbler (another 1st!)
Wilson's Warbler


On the water, the only birds we saw were two drake MALLARDS (I assume the females were on well-hidden nests), as well as two female HOODED MERGANSERS.

Hooded Mergansers

We started our walks from the trail-head off of West Devil's Lake Rd (just west of Regatta Park), where the inviting path opens into dense forest. In the woods we were delighted by a BROWN CREEPER.

Following the wider trail upwards takes you to a large, older clear-cut area - we didn't follow these trails, but plan to return! 


On the West side of the lake, we followed a trail heading almost due west, and discovered a wide, concrete path and a good-sized parking area off of Port Avenue - apparently part of the newer portion of the open space. 

Up here we again saw dozens of warblers, ANNA'S and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS, and we counted at least four PACIFIC WRENS noisily calling. 

Pacific Wren

Heading back toward the lake from the concrete path (sign says "Port Lake Trail"), one of the PACIFIC WRENS was perched on a rotting stump, quite near us - apparently we had wandered too near his territory, and he was boldly telling us to scram.  I took a dozen pictures before we heeded his advice!


There are at least two ways to access the Spring Lake Open Space.  When we visited, we parked on a pull-out area on West Devils Lake Road, next to the lake.  Next time we'll probably park in the gravel parking area (now that we know it's there), and walk down to the lake from above.  From 101, turn east on NE 14th and follow it to Port, and turn left.  Parking lot is clearly visible on the right

If you start from the parking area and need an easy walk, you'll have to stay on the concrete path, where you will enjoy good birds and beautiful views, but you will miss seeing the lake.  If you venture onto the other paths, don't be fooled by the apparent wide welcome -- they are narrow and winding most of the time, rising and falling with the rough terrain, and muddy when damp -- probably would call these "moderately difficult".

If you want to see the lake but not take a hike, continue on 14th to West Devil's Lake Road and park in the turnout by the lake.  On the west side of the lake is a small path that takes you a short distance to a wooden bench, where you can sit and watch the lake and the birds without moving!


  1. This is one of our favorite walks in Lincoln City. Quick, Close, Beautiful. Always a pleasure! All of the trails to the east side of the lake pretty much loop together, if you feel you have gone too far, just take a left hand turn, the trails are wider, dryer, etc on the upper paths.

  2. It's at the top of our favorite list now too -- wow. We'll try the upper (east) trails next time.

  3. Great Post Dawn. I've driven past here but never stopped. It's been fun to seen your blog grow! Thanks for identifying all these great places to bird. It makes it easier for me when I decide to make a trip to the coast.

  4. I found your post when I was looking for information on this trail. Thank you for the lovely photos and description. We'll be visiting the area in July with our youth group, and this hike is on our agenda. Can't wait!

    1. Kathy, so glad you found the blog - you'll enjoy Spring Lake! In case you haven't seen it, here's a link to a trail map Lincoln City recently published. Have fun!