If you’ve lived in Oregon for awhile, or even if you’re from out of state and have just been interested in visiting the Oregon coast, chances are you’ve heard of Salishan, one of the most well-known accommodations at the beach. Located just south of Lincoln City, Salishan is a complete destination resort nestled in the hills just off Hwy. 101. In addition to the luxurious rooms spread among small stand-alone buildings in the woods, Salishan features a central lodge with two restaurants and a lounge with live music. Guests can also take advantage of the golf course, a spa, an indoor pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, a game room, and ping pong tables. But the amenities and views are so nice, you may be tempted to just stay in your room!
My friend and I checked in on a recent Friday evening in the midst of a heavy downpour. We were greeted at the front desk by a friendly host named Guy, who gave us directions to our room, described the layout of the resort, and pointed out Salishan’s trail network on a map. Since we were at the coast, I couldn’t help likening the Salishan layout diagram, with its dotted-line trails, to a treasure map.
We were lucky enough to be assigned a top-floor room in the Chinook House, with a vaulted ceiling and a great view of Siletz Bay framed by a large, wind-sculpted tree. A bottle of Erath wine and a personally addressed note welcomed us to our extremely comfortable surroundings. At various times during our stay the sound of the driving rain on the roof reinforced the coziness and warmth of the room.
Development at Salishan was begun in the 1960s by John Gray, who also developed Sunriver Resort and Skamania Lodge. Salishan was designed to celebrate and blend in with the natural surroundings of the Oregon coast. Though the resort can host hundreds of guests at a time, the rooms are spread out and the buildings maintain a relatively low profile, allowing the trees and shrubs to remain the focal point. Compared to most destination resorts, the architecture and infrastructure at Salishan is relatively unobtrusive, and complements the landscape.
One of my favorite features of the resort was the network of open yet covered walkways that allowed us to walk from our room to the main lodge in the rain while staying dry. The pathways included winding stairs following the contours of the hills and a high pedestrian bridge over one of the roads. On Friday evening, we took advantage of the walkways to head to the lodge and order an excellent dinner at the Sun Room, the less formal of the two on-site restaurants.
On Saturday afternoon, we ventured out into the steady drizzle to explore the Salishan Nature Trail, accessible across the fairway from the lodge. Though obviously less traveled in the winter months, and showing some mild effects of the recent storms, the trail was still a great way to experience an Oregon coastal rain forest. Winding through a narrow creek canyon at the edge of the property, the trail included several small wooden bridges, and showed off healthy examples of skunk cabbage, ferns, lichen, and bright red salamanders.
Our route brought us back to the golf course and across a pond, where we took a paved cart path back to the lodge. A trail across the highway from the pond leads to the beach, and another trail across from the main entrance follows the south edge of Siletz Bay and also reaches the beach. Combining the Nature Trail and other on-site trails and roads with either of the beach trails would make a very pleasant run (although the Nature Trail would be much more runnable in the summer). Salishan even provides a guide to running loops from the resort, including 2.6 and 4.8 mile options along the beach.
Salishan has fully earned its reputation as a prime place to stay when at the Oregon coast, and is a perfect venue for runners to relax after exploring the area in inclement weather. And if you time it right, you can combine a visit with a race like the Lincoln City Half Marathon. Or just join a group run with the local Coast Hills Running Club.