Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

Part of a herd of bull elk at the viewing area
Part of a herd of bull elk at the viewing area

If you want to go on a drive to see wildlife this is a great place to find Elk.  They are normally fairly close to the viewing area so you can take pictures and show children these giant herbavores.

From the BLM website:

The Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area is the year-round residence for a herd of about 100 Roosevelt elk. A mild winter climate and abundant food allow the Roosevelt elk to remain at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area all year. Dean Creek is a Day Use Only site. The O.H. Hinsdale Rhododendron Garden is located across Highway 38 from the elk viewing area. The garden will be open for public tours on Saturday, May 11, 2013 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There are educational exibits at the ends of the viewing area to explain about Roosevelt elk and their life cycles.  And it has the needed bathroom for most of those people that need it after a long drive.

More of the elk resting from a hard day of eating grass
More of the elk resting from a hard day of eating grass


  • From Reedsport and Highway 101: Travel about three miles east on Hwy. 38 to the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area signs.
  • From Interstate 5: Take Hwy. 38 west to Reedsport and the viewing area.

Elk hunting aka wandering the woods not finding anything

This years hunting was more of a nature walk then me finding anything.  The first thing anyone should know about hunting for elk in the Oregon coast range is that you need to be in better shape then you have ever been in.  I am still a long ways from that point.  Even though I knew I wasn’t in good enough shape I still decided to get a general season tag and look for the herd that I had saw on the last day of deer season.  Here is a nice pic of the herd that Staci took.  They were not very skittish at all.

upon return on opening day I found a whole lot of nothing in the area.  All of the sign was at least a week old and there were a lot more people out driving around then I had seen in the area over the entire month of Blacktail season.  After spending the morning trying to find new sign and getting nervous with all the people driving around that I am sure were trigger happy and would shoot anything that moved (I’m sure they were not that bad, but I am a little paranoid) I decided to head to a different area.  Once I was back in cell phone range I had a message that my cousin had shot a nice bull and that there was still a spike in the herd if I wanted to track it down.  Since it was the best lead I had I headed over to track them down.  After walking for 6 miles that day and not catching up to them I decided to call it a day and return the next to continue on.

The next 3 days all looked like the first.  Walk, walk, and more walking with nothing new found.  There were a lot of great spots that great to walk through.  If for nothing else just a hiking trip.  I finished the season with about 22 miles total walked in four days.  I learned how much importance you need to place on scouting your area.  You need to know every nook and cranny of the area.  Which will make for my ongoing winter and spring project of getting in shape and exploring the area.  The herd is out there I just need to find it.  Good thing I have some trail camera’s to install in area’s that I know elk and deer frequent.  And at least one bear that I saw sign of.  Looked like he was chomping on the huckleberries on the edge of a cutting.

Elk forest area

Hopefully this bull is still around somewhere.  A close up picture of him looks like one of the tines had been broken off on one side.