Threemile Lake in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

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September 7, 2019 @ 11:00 am
Tahkenitch Dunes - Threemile Lake North Trailhead US-101 · Gardiner, OR
Tahkenitch Dunes - Threemile Lake North Trailhead
US-101, Gardiner, OR 97441

This fun hike south of Florence takes us to a quiet and relatively secluded freshwater lake, tucked away between expansive ocean dunes and an enchanted second-growth forest of spruce, hemlock, and shore pine. The lake’s northern tip features a nice little sandy beach where we can picnic, swim, toss a frisbee and indulge in whatever beach games we have in mind, or simply lounge about and enjoy the natural scenery. It’s also a good spot to view wildlife.

The Threemile Lake Trail through the forest to the lake itself is about 3 miles (6 miles roundtrip). The ocean is 1/2 mile beyond the lake. This hike is considered moderately difficult; there are elevation changes and a few steep portions, and walking on sand makes distances seem longer.

We have the option of doing a slightly lengthier, 6.5 mile loop by connecting with the Tahkenitch Dune Trail. This route takes us along the beach for about 1.5 miles, past the mouth of Tahkenitch Creek, and through the pines and dunes back to the trailhead. Either way we can expect to be out for roughly 5 hours, give or take.

The Tahkenitch Dune – Threemile Lake Trail system sees light to moderate use. Being a Saturday we’ll likely encounter some other hikers.

Trailhead parking requires a $5 day use fee per vehicle, or federal lands recreation pass (Northwest Forest Pass, National Parks “America The Beautiful” Pass, or Oregon Coast Passport).

Trails Map:

Come prepared for a day at the coast––food, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, sand and water-friendly footwear, wind protection, towel. A sit pad or blanket is nice to have. Mosquito/bug repellent (just in case). Never hurts to pack the Ten Essentials.