"Welcome to One of Oregon's Newest State Parks!" L.L. Stub Stewart State Park by glabah

LL "Stub" Stewart State Park was opened only a few years ago (2007), and was the first new full service state park in 35 years. There are some 1,670 acres (676 hectares) of land with hiking trails for exploring a small piece of Oregon's coast range. The park is located about halfway between Portland and Astoria if you drew a straight line between them along Highway 47, between manning and Vernonia. However, the coast range prevents anyone from building roads in a straight line. From Portland it is about 35 miles (58 km), and it is about 10 miles (17 km) south of Vernonia. From Astoria, the Astoria - Clatskanie - Vernonia route to the park is aobut 73 miles (122 km).

The bad news about that piece of the Oregon Coast Range, and in fact much of Oregon's Coast Range, is that it has been heavily logged, and you will find that many of the views look like the one above: parts and pieces of forest and many empty stump fields where the next crop of trees are growing.

This is an example of the view you will see in a number of locations that overlook the surrounding countryside - though there are still a lot of second growth trees here.

Certain types of wildlife can thrive in this type of environment, but there are others that do not live in this type of clearcut forest land very well. If you are wanting to see certain types of birds or other wildlife, keep in mind the type of environment that is preferred by your intended spotting subjects. This may not be the best place to look for some of them.

This little winter wren seemed to have no problem celebrating the fact that he was in a small second-growth tree, though normally these birds prefer more mature forests. If you are interested in seeing wildlife, be sure to remain quiet as you travel the trails, and try to stay away from those with dogs as the smell of dogs will scare the wildlife into hiding. Among other things, I have seen two very young rabbits playing in the sunlight in the middle of the trail, with no real intent in mind apparently other than jumping on top of each other and engaging in a game of "leapfrog" of some sort.

There are a number of trails, and there is a fair amount of standing forest that remains in the park - though it is virtually all made of trees younger than about 30 years old. Some of the trails are open for mountain biking, while others are only open to horses and hiking. There is one trail under construction that is only open to mountain biking, to allow those who really want to go crashing down the side of the mountain without worrying about others to do so at their own risk.

Camp sites range from cabins to primitive tent camp sites, and includes RV camping sites. Parts of the campground are open all year, while some sections are closed for use in the winter months.

Oregon's coast range traps water coming in from the Ocean. While Stub Stewart State Park is still quite some distance from the Ocean, it still has this very damp climate. Generally, in the winter it will be wet here.

One of the great features of the park is that the Banks to Vernonia State Trail cuts across its western edge. This adds some long distance trail milage for those who would like to add some higher speed and flatter hiking, walking, or riding to their activity list. This will be a relief to some, as many of the trails here in the park itself are fairly steep. Many of the trails in the park also retain their mud for a very long time, and mud does tend to be a problem due to the nature of the mixed traffic (Horses hooves mixed with mountain bike wheels mixed with hiking boots in soft Oregon coast hillsides do not lead to well groomed trails.). Thus the paved and bark dust nature of the state trail will be especially pleasant for those visiting in the wet winter months, or any time that mud is a problem.

One of the unique features of the park is that even though it is in a fairly remote area, it is served three times per weekday by public transit from Vernonia. This permits those who would like to arrive here by bus to bike back down the hill, or otherwise enjoy the park's activities without having to make a return trip to get back to their vehicle.

  • Last visit to L.L. Stub Stewart State Park: Jun 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 17, 2011
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