Welcome to Circle Creek Conservation Center
Circle Creek Conservation Center welcomes visitors at the entrance to Circle Creek, one of our largest habitat reserves, along the west bank of the Necanicum River at the south end of Seaside, Oregon. The refurbished barn here functions as a rustic event center. It also serves as the gateway for a pair of nature trails showcasing the Sitka spruce wetlands and the recovering floodplain at the base of iconic Tillamook Head. Circle Creek is the most accessible of our more than 40 properties between the Columbia River and Lincoln County; most are not normally open to the public. (Read why.)
Circle Creek Conservation Center is open from dawn to dusk every day, conditions permitting, unless otherwise posted. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or anywhere on the property.
Start your trail walk at the big yellow barn. A large signboard at the entrance displays this illustrated map of the property and its trails, by Astoria artist Sally Lackaff, and the code of conduct (see below). Inside the barn are sign-in sheets required of everyone visiting the property.
Walk out the back door of the barn and bear left, following the mowed path north through the recovering forest. Watch for a trail post on your left, marking the start of the Legacy Loop. The trail crosses a small creek and then splits; go either direction to explore the Sitka spruce forest at the base of Tillamook Head. Return as you came.
Walk out the back door of the barn and bear right, following an old farm road and wooden bridge across Circle Creek, then veer left on the mowed path that follows the creek’s curving route through the floodplain. After the trail drops nearly to creek level at the “avulsion point”–where the Necanicum River and Circle Creek converge during periods of high water–follow the mowed path to the left to reach the first of a series of long boardwalks. These boardwalks fill gaps in a berm built decades ago to control flooding; these gaps now allow water to flow freely across the floodplain. At the end of the last section of boardwalk, either return as you came or follow a mowed route east and south to return to the avulsion point and the barn.
Circle Creek Conservation Center is at the end of Rippet Road in Seaside; look for it on the west side of US 101, 0.7 mile north of the junction with US 26. Follow the road west and north a short distance, passing a gravel quarry on your left, to where it ends between two barns.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The wildlife habitat reserve is private property. You are welcome to hike here after signing the release form (found inside the north barn) absolving the owner of responsibility in case of accident with the understanding that you enter at your own risk. Entering the property without signing the release constitutes trespassing (and nobody wants that).
Please enjoy walking on this special property (no bikes, vehicles, horses, etc.)
There is a large herd of elk that frequents the property. For your safety and theirs, enjoy viewing them from a great distance.
Please follow a leave-no-trace ethic while experiencing this wild area (no pets, camping, fires, hunting, etc.)