Oregon State Route 53

Everyone that’s persevered sufficiently to read much of my writing knows that I’ve got a thing for old roads. New roads are fun and they’re fast, but they don’t satisfy me unless they have a bit of history behind them.

This one doesn’t sound spectacular, but it’s a great little road that usually gets you away from the weekender traffic putting along 101 and it’s a twisty little beast of a rural backroad that is the current 101’s great-grandpa.

Between Wheeler/Nehalem and the Seaside/Cannon Beach sections of the coast, this used to be the only way to get there. I can’t imagine how horrible the traffic must have been back then, because this little road is seriously twisty. It flips back and forth and goes right up one river valley and down another, and little more than a handful of places with a couple hundred yards of straight stuff.

All the same, I’d recommend this road for a weekday part of your Coast Trip. There’s still plenty of people that run up US Route 26 and take the Oregon 53 cutoff down to Nehalem, since it’s a half-hour quicker that way than going through Tillamook on Oregon 6.

Another item to be careful of on this road is the hooved fauna. Yep, the infamous hooved rat. They’re just as stupid on this road as they are on any other. I saw 3 of them on a grey wet mid-morning in July a couple years back, and I don’t imagine that the coast weather is sufficient to drive them to their sleeping areas during the mid-day “heat”.

  • Counties: Wheeler, Clatsop
  • Length: 19.1 Miles (ODOT)
  • Towns: Wheeler, Aldervale, Necanicum Junction (@ US 26)

Note: Miami River Road (aka Miami-Foley Road) begins right around where the ‘B’ marker is on the Google map.

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