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1860, OR - May 2024

KG7WED's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know


This peak is on Stimson Lumber land. Fortunately they allow non-motorized public access, dawn til dusk, with no permit required. There are a few caveats to be aware of (no fires, no e-bikes, no drones, and more). For details, and to make sure this tract is still open when you plan your visit, look for the "Stimson’s Public Access Policy" PDF on their site, linked from this page:

Also linked off that page is a tract map, titled "Cape Meares/Cape Lookout". On that map you'll find access point #9, Whiskey Creek, which is where I entered the tract.

One point of confusion is that, in addition to a sign at the entrance gate stating "recreational use allowed", there is a second sign just past it stating "Private property: entry by permit only." A phone call to the Tillamook Stimson office in May 2024 confirmed that this second sign is an old sign, and applies only to motor vehicles.

Trailhead and Parking

There is not parking right at the entrance (and only very narrow road shoulders), but luckily there is a free parking lot about 600 feet up Whiskey Creek Road from the trailhead.

Easiest way to map it might be to route to the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery, 7660 Whiskey Creek Rd, Tillamook, OR 97141. The parking lot is right past the hatchery, on the same side of the road.

To Bike or Not To Bike

Seeing on the map that there was a network of forest roads for lumber access, I figured I’d take a mountain bike up for this activation. I traced a couple different routes on the map, one was 5.25 miles and the other 6.5 miles. This peak is at 1860 feet. That didn’t sound like too bad a climb, but I’m not an experienced mountain biker, and in practice it was quite difficult for me. I wound up having to walk my bike up the hills at least 1/3 of the time. So if I did it again, I would probably hike in instead (although, the ride back down was a nice break for my legs). Your mileage my vary.

In the first image below you can see the two routes I mapped. The longer one, in red, is the route I wound up using. The dashed purple line was the shorter route, and I started down that one, but at the spot with the blue X a creek had eroded the road, creating a small gulch (maybe 15' down). It wouldn’t be a big deal to cross that on foot, but I opted not to push the mountain bike through it, and turned back to use the other route instead.


Although much of the roads up were clear cut and fully exposed to the sun, the summit still has dense forest and some nice shade. There’s a medium sized radio tower at the top for Tillamook county emergency services, but plenty of room within the activation zone to site your own setup away from that tower.

I put an EFHW up in a tree, set up the digital rig, and made some contacts. Thanks to a fellow ham in the Portland area, those included my first JS8call QSO as part of a SOTA activation.

After I took down the antenna, I got out an HT with an MFJ Long Ranger antenna and tried for some VHF contacts. After putting the call out on the Mt. Hebo repeater that I’d be calling CQ on 146.58, I had one nice local guy answer my CQs. But that was it. As has been said elsewhere, don’t count on 2m FM to complete an activation in Tillamook.

A map showing routes up to the summit
An elevation profile of the 6.5 mile route to the summit
A view of Netarts Bay from a shady road
A signpost reads "Whiskey Pit"
A view of a steep gravel road, from the bottom.
A view of a clearcut hillside with a forested area at the peak
A view of Netarts Bay from the summit, with ham
A radio box sits on a backpack