Coast Range Mountains

Veiled in thick mist and dripping with cold rain, the primeval forests of the Coast Mountain Range are a natural marvel. Although not nearly as high as other Oregon mountain ranges, the coast mountains are a vital component to many of the state’s watersheds, with melting snow and rainfall feeding the numerous rivers which spread west to the Pacific Ocean and east toward the Cascade Mountains. In fact, nearly all the major waterways in the western part of the state have their headwaters in these mountains. Prior to any significant human settlement, many of these forests grew uninterrupted since the Pleistocene Era, directly influencing the evolution of the associated plant and animal species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The 200-mile (320 km) range provides habitat to numerous animal and plant species. Black Bear, Cougar, Roosevelt Elk and Black-Tailed Deer are some of the larger mammals to call the mountains home. Just as important, both ecologically, culturally and economically, are the fish which live in the streams and rivers, with salmon and trout being the best known.

  • Little Big Mountains

    Category: Fun Fact

    If the Coast Range Mountains prove one thing, it's that even modern engineering and transportation can't match the raw forces of nature.

  • Alpine Adaptations

    Category: General Article

    An unusual "micro-climate" exists at the very top of Marys Peak in the Coast Mountain Range. Learn about this rare sub-alpine biome.

  • Mountains of Mist, Mountains of Rain

    Category: General Article

    Although now nearly as tall or wide as other Oregon mountain ranges, the Coast Range Mountains still have a marked effect on local weather and climate.

  • Many Ecosystems Within the Mountains

    Category: General Article

    Divided into three distinct areas, the Coast Range Mountains can contain very unique ecosystems characterized by distinct plant and animal species.

Slideshow: Coast Range Mountains

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    There are actually two major mountain ranges on the Oregon Coast. The Coast Range Mountains in the north and the Klamath Mountain Range in the south.

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    Due to the high altitude and cold temperatures, the mountaintops are frequently shrouded in mist – an important source of precipitation to the local flora.

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    The mountains contain many secluded valleys and rivers, many of which are now used for farming, or cattle and sheep ranching.

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    Marys Peak is so high that it's the only place in the coast range mountains where you can find subalpine vegetation. For this reason, it's known as a "microclimate."

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    At 4,097 feet, Marys Peak is the highest point in either of the coast ranges and offers spectacular views of the central part of the mountains and the valleys beyond.

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    Though remote, the mountaintops still bear signs of human activity. These radio towers are located on Marys Peak outside of Corvallis in the central range.

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    Aside from the larger ranges, there are also notable mountains on the coast. Neahkahnie Mountain (1,600 feet) and Humbug Mountain (1,756 feet) are the best known.

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