Siltcoos is located South of Florence among the chain of coastal lakes. The lake is the largest one on the Oregon coast and it has a 3 mile long river that drains to the ocean. Siltcoos river is a very calm and friendly waterway that has a dam about halfway down. The dam keeps water in the lake for recreation as people enjoy sailing and fishing on it. Below the dam the river has a tidal exchange which can affect your paddling. Many logs in the sinuous stream make for fun challenges. These aren’t the threatening type of logs called strainers, just a few that you may need to duck under or poke around. The current is not pushy here. Sand dunes become the main type of habitat until reaching the mighty Pacific Ocean. The Siuslaw Watershed Council offers volunteer opportunities in the nearby sand dunes. They are working to remove invasive scotch broom and deserve a huge Thank You!
Along the way there are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities for you to enjoy. Many birds including eagles, osprey, heron, kingfisher, gulls, ducks, plover, etc. Sometimes we have been lucky enough to see river otters going about their daily business. Silently underneath are salmon and steelhead heading up to the lake via the fish ladder at the dam.
The Siuslaw and Kuitsh are the local Native American tribes who lived off of this coastal forested land. They used long canoes to get around the lakes and stream (photo below). The have a rich culture and before the Europeans came their quality of life was second to none. Thanks to Lane Community College for this photo and info!
This tour starts at Westlake on Siltcoos Lake. This is a Lane County Park. It is located off of Highway 101, 6.5 miles South of Florence. 67 miles from Eugene according to Google Maps.