10 miles south of Yachats, off Oregon Coast Highway 101
Launch: 200' - 400' MSL
Landing: top, sidehill, bottom, beach
Directions: WNW-SSW wind
Note: If you fly in due south winds, you may get severely rotored in the wind shadow of the hill of Shore Pines. I launched in moderate wind that, as I pre-flighted, was due south and glass smooth then had a total collapse just after launch, thirty feet off the ground.
Description of site: As with all Oregon coastal flying sites, the views while flying are spectacular. Rock Creek site is steep hillside east of and adjacent to highway 101. It is covered with grass, ferns, a few rocks, sticks and small stumps, elk droppings, and on parts of the lower levels, the ubiquitous salal. This is a walkup site and the tree line at the top begins at about 400' MSL. I haven't had to go that high though. If it is strong enough, safe soaring is possible by launching after a mere 210' climb. Although power lines parallel the east side of the highway, they are easily avoided. What makes this site enjoyable, interesting, and in some regards, unique is its range of possibilities:
- Easy access; it's right next to the highway.
- Soaring close to the hill or as high as conditions allow or anywhere in between in the wide range of compass directions shown.
- Long distance flights north or south seem possible. (Since this was written Harry Kauffman has flown north to the Yachats River twice.)
- Safe, easy bailout if wind strength gets too high except with a strong west component.
- Instructors, it's a good hill for your students' first few flights. In light winds, they would probably have to land at the bottom and not sidehill but launches can be done as high or low on the hill as you like.
- It's the best coastal site that I know of to practice your sidehill landings; thirty to forty degrees.
Directions to Site: This hill is between mileposts 174 and 175 on the east side of highway 101, 10.2 miles south of the Yachats River mouth, adjacent to the highway, you can't miss it.
Site Protocol: This is Forest Service land and the Rock Creek Wilderness borders on the east.
Other Info: No cell phone service here.
Pilots experienced at this site: Jim Donaldson 503.662.4786 Mike Steed 541.760.0273
Recent report and update:
Rock Creek is a low-risk site, the sort of place new pilots could take their first "high" flight. But you can also get high and fly far from here, as proven by Harry Kauffman. There is 300 feet of hike-up vertical, grass everywhere, and a 1/3 mile-long pasture to land in. Think of it as Oceanside without some of the hazards. Wind should be west to southwest. Beyond WNW the apparent wind will rotor over the trees, and beyond SW there will be no lift. The location is 18.5 scenic driving miles south of Waldport. Cape Perpetua is nearby, has a road up and works in similar conditions (except WNW), but has an inferior launch and LZ. GPS coordinates of launch: N 44 10.760 W 124 06.785. Long flights north are possible in lifty conditions, but don't expect to find many LZs!
Submitted by Jim Donaldson on 4/15/95, updated 4/8/03 by Mike Steed