Dean Creek Elk Viewing
Up Close and Personal
With Oregon's Elk
at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area
Oregon is known for its wildlife, and elk are some of the
most majestic and interesting animals in the state. The Dean
Creek Elk Viewing Area, located several miles east of Reedsport
Oregon on Hwy. 38, provides plenty of opportunities to see
these impressive animals.
of Elk in Oregon
have been a part of Oregon's wildlife population since before
the arrival of non-native settlers, and The Lewis and Clark
expedition heavily depended on elk for survival during the
winter of 1805-06 at the mouth of the Columbia River. Both
Rocky Mountain elk and Roosevelt elk are native to Oregon.
Rocky Mountain elk are found in the eastern part of the state
with large concentrations in the Blue Mountains and South-central
Oregon. Roosevelt elk are found in the western part of the
state, particularly in the Cascade and Coast mountain ranges.
During the latter half of the 19th century 'market hunting'
and human encroachment on elk range took a heavy toll on Oregon's
elk populations. Thousands of elk were killed for meat, hides
and antlers. Reports of elk scarcity became common during
the late 1880s and conservation efforts soon followed.
Despite these efforts, Oregon's elk populations were reduced
to only a few small herds along the coast, in the Cascades,
and Northeast Oregon and reached their lowest numbers by about
1910. However, by 1922, the population showed signs of recovery
and over the years, the population stabilized. Managed elk
hunting has since been established, and according to the state's
Department of Fish & Wildlife, in 2000, Oregon's elk population
numbered approximately 120,000 animals.
Creek Elk Viewing
Area - Managed
Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area near Reedsport Oregon is an important
part of the state's elk management program. The site, which
encompasses 1,040 acres, is jointly administered by the Bureau
of Land Management and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
and is managed with public viewing and education in mind.
Pastures are mowed, grazed, and fertilized to improve the
nutrition and palatability for the elk. Portions of the wetland
have been enhanced to provide more standing water for a variety
of waterfowl. The O.H. Hinsdale Interpretive Center offers
information about Oregon's elk and the environment of the
Dean Creek area as well as spotting scopes to enhance viewing.
In addition, there is a three-mile viewing area with strategically
The herd of 60 to 100 Roosevelt elk roams freely in the protected
pasture, woodland, and wetland areas, sharing their habitat
with other wildlife including bald eagles, Canada geese, beaver,
and black-tailed deer. A fence separates them from the roadway.
Times to View
In general, early morning and just before dusk are the best
times to view and photograph elk at Dean Creek. Mid-September
to early October is mating season and males, which can weigh
more than 1,000 pounds, can often be seen in the fields bugling
and fighting over females. During the winter months the elk
stay in the lowlands and tend to bunch together more. Mid-May
through June is calving season, and the pregnant females head
for the privacy of the upland areas to give birth. By mid-June,
the mothers begin leading their new calves back down to the
pastureland to enjoy the summer sun.
The viewing area, which is open year-round, has a large parking
lot for RVs as well as restroom facilities and handicapped
access. For more information about the Dean Creek Elk Viewing
Area, contact them directly at:
Dean Creek Wildlife Area
63538 Boat Basin
Or visit the viewing area page on Oregon's Department of
Fish & Wildlife website here.
cam for Dean
Creek Elk Viewing
In addition, a Web cam of the viewing area is provided by
Loon Lake RV Campground located near Reedsport Oregon. Current
weather conditions are listed along with photographs that
are changed periodically throughout the day. Visit the Web
the Town of
Reedsport Oregon has a population of nearly 4,900 and is
home to numerous restaurants and shopping areas, a golf course
and other attractions. The Umpqua Discovery Center and the
office for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area are also
located in Reedsport. With beaches, rivers, sand dunes, and
forests nearby, recreational activities in the Reedsport area
include camping, fishing, crabbing, clam digging, and riding
off-highway vehicles in the dunes. The area also hosts several
events and festivals each year such as the annual Ocean Festival,
Dune Fest, Smith River Country Fair, and Salmon Derby. For
more information about Reedsport Oregon, visit their website here.
The Oregon coast is home to a large number and variety of
wildlife, but elk can often be difficult to find due to their
preference for remote mountain locations. Dean Creek viewing
area makes it easy to get a look at these majestic animals
and learn more about them and their habitats.