Wildlife doesn’t take the sea­son off.

Backpacker - - NEWS -

Oswald West State Park, OR

Un­in­formed hik­ers may choose to hi­ber­nate dur­ing win­ter, but they’d be miss­ing A-list mi­gra­tions. From De­cem­ber through Jan­uary, up to 20,000 gray whales move from the Ber­ing Sea to la­goons on Baja’s Pa­cific Coast, pass­ing Ore­gon’s north­ern shores, where sheer rock cliffs sup­ply ex­cel­lent van­tage points. Pack binoc­u­lars and fol­low sin­gle­track 2.4 miles on the Cape Fal­con Trail for ocean views atop a 100-foot out­crop. “We’re close to a ma­rine re­serve, so there are plenty of nu­tri­ents for the whales,” says park ranger Amy Hurst. “Look for their spray.” Skunked on whales? Ob­serve a dif­fer­ent kind of be­he­moth by ex­tend­ing the hike to the 4.3-mile Arch Cape Trail to wan­der among 250-year-old Sitka spruce.

TRAIL­HEAD 45.763094, -123.956009; 89 miles west of Port­land on US 101 PER­MIT None CON­TACT ore­gon­stateparks.org

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