3 wild iris walks

It's bloom time on Oregon's southern coast. Here are the prettiest spots to hike, picnic, stay, and play

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  • Purple blooms, like this beauty above Battle Rock Beach in Port Orford, are popping up all along the coast.

    Iris at Battle Rock Beach, Oregon

    John Clark

    Click to Enlarge

Walk 2

Port Orford Heads State Park
What was once the crew quarters for the Port Orford Lifeboat Station is now a museum. Short trails radiate out from the museum's parking area, with bushels of iris on the Cove Trail. Follow it 0.4 miles to a vista point. For views that seem to stretch to Japan, loop back on trails swinging toward the west and north. INFO: From the center of Port Orford, follow signs 1 mile west to Port Orford Heads State Park; 800/551-6949.

Dine out Stumble into the Surf Shack ( $; closed Sun-Mon; 190 Sixth St./U.S. 101, Port Orford; 541/332-0450) in your hiking boots, if you like, for fish tacos prepared by California culinary school grads, followed by crème brûlée.

Walk 3

Cape Sebastian
Follow the path less than 0.25 mile past ceanothus and iris to the view point at the cape's tip. For a workout, continue down the cape's south side ? a 720-foot drop in 1.5 miles and another mile of beach walking to an access point just north of Myers Creek Wayside. INFO: Turn west off U.S. 101 at the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor sign, 5 miles south of Gold Beach; 800/551-6949.

Stay overnight Sea Crest Motel in Port Orford (from $54; 888/332-3040) is bare-bones, but it's clean, cheap, and boasts ocean views from every room. For a dose of eco-luxury, snuggle into WildSpring Guest Habitat (from $226; 866/333-9453), a small Port Orford resort ringed in iris, with hillside cabins above the ocean ? which you can stare at from an open-air spa tub.

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