100 feet elevation gain
Left: The bridge to Whalen Island.
This sandy, forested island is almost at sea, surrounded by Sand Lake’s shallow estuary, just half a mile from ocean breakers. As a result it is home to a mix of land and sea creatures—crabs, deer, salmon, egrets, clams, and kingfishers. People, not so much. On the loop trail around the island you can easily find a sandy beach to yourself. On summer weekends you will, however, hear the distant whine of off-highway vehicles from the Sand Beach Campground across the bay.
State lottery funds helped buy the island in 2000 from two sisters who wanted to honor their mother, Lillian Parker Craft. The wetlands are named for her, and the state park for Clay Myers, Oregon’s former secretary of state.The southern tip of Whalen Island ...