The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Port Orford and Humbug Mountain
Pastoral sheep ranches, cranberry bogs, berry fields, and Christmas tree farms dominate the 25-mile stretch south of Bandon, but as you pull into Port Orford (pop. 1,133), you can’t help but notice a huge volcanic plug abutting the crescent-shaped shoreline. Known as Battle Rock, in memory of a battle (re-enacted every 4th of July) in which early settlers fought off a party of hostile Indians, the rock is impressive from the harbor below, while a trail climbs up to the windblown summit. Due to the southwest orientation, which subjects the harbor to turbulent winds and constant waves, fishing boats have to be lowered into the water by crane, but surfers (and kite-surfers and windsurfers) don’t seem to mind.
Six miles south of Port Orford you’ll come to Humbug Mountain State Park, whose 1,756-foot elevation flanks the west side of the highway. It’s one of the coast’s highest peaks, rising directly off the beach. Its steep contours and tree-covered slopes are best appreciated from the steep but well-maintained three-mile trail that climbs to the summit. The mountain’s name may have been bestowed by prospectors who found that tales of gold deposits here were just “humbug”—but the views from the top are splendid.